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The Major in Philosophy

philosophy department

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The requirement for the major in philosophy is 30 credits or 10 three-credit courses in philosophy. Since the six-credit Core is considered part of the major, students need eight courses beyond the Core to fulfill the requirements for the major. Perspectives and PULSE courses, not used for Core credit, may also count as electives in the philosophy major.

Students who choose philosophy as one part of a double-major still need a total of ten courses to fulfill the major, but two of these may be, with the approval of the undergraduate director or department administrator, courses from another discipline, as long as they have some philosophical relevance and do not fulfill other core or major requirements.

In keeping with the department's view of philosophy as offering undergraduates the opportunity to diversify their education and to pursue questions and to read books intrinsically worth considering, we require no specific set of courses for a major. This does not mean that students are encouraged to choose their courses arbitrarily and without advisement from faculty. Each philosophy major is assigned an advisor from the philosophy department. Students should make ample use not only of their advisor, but also of other faculty and more advanced students. There are a number of ways to construct a rigorous and coherent philosophy major; students will need advice early and often about the selection of courses.

For students interested in pursuing graduate work in philosophy, we offer a broad spectrum of electives in ancient, medieval, modern, and contemporary philosophy. The undergraduate director has organized a program of advisement which includes an annual workshop devoted to evaluation of various graduate programs and preparation of graduate applications. Our best students are regularly accepted into first-rate Ph.D. programs.