Major & Minor in Philosophy

The Philosophy major at Boston College is designed to ground students in the core classical issues of philosophy and to give them the ability to engage with significant areas of contemporary concern in a way that moves forward our communal conversation and the path toward answers and solutions.

Why Our Major?

We focus and sharpen students’ abilities to critically evaluate arguments and issues, to understand the assumptions and backgrounds of contemporary views, practices, and controversies, with a view to enable them to use their insights and skills to contribute to dialogue, understanding, and positive action in their professions and communities, large and small. Philosophy offers a great deal of flexibility and speaks to many issues that are foundational to other disciplines and many career paths.

Major Requirements

All Philosophy Majors must take a total of 30 credits in Philosophy.

  • Two Core courses in Philosophy (6 credits)

  • Eight Philosophy electives (24 credits)
    • One course in History of Philosophy
    • One course in Knowledge & Reality
    • One course in Ethics & Value
    • Five free electives

Minor Requirements

The requirement for the minor in philosophy consists of a total of 18 credits: six credits of philosophy core courses, typically two, three-credit courses, followed by 12 credits of philosophy electives, typically four, three-credit philosophy elective courses.

The range of courses available within the department allows the student considerable flexibility in planning an individualized and personal program of study. In consultation with a faculty advisor, each student will design his or her own minor, typically consisting of four additional three-credit elective courses, for a total of 12 elective credits.

Students are encouraged to look at different areas for interdisciplinary connection described on the concentrations/tracks in the undergraduate program.  

Elective Course Offerings

  • Greek Philosophy (Byers)
  • Platonic Dialogues (McCoy)
  • Modern Philosophy (Solere)
  • Puzzles & Paradoxes (Atkins)
  • Inductive Logic (Atkins)
  • 20th C Phenom of Spirit (Barrett)
  • God, Ethics & Sciences (Byrne)
  • Spanish American Phil (Gurtler)
  • Metaphysics (Gurtler)
  • Zen & Philosophy (Johnson)
  • Phil of Mental Illness (Rapier-Harster)
  • Moral Resp. in Mental Ill (Rapier-Harster);
  • Politics of the Soul (Braman)
  • God, Ethics & Sciences (Byrne)
  • Varieties of Feeling (Cohen)
  • Philosophy of Happiness (Davenport)
  • Capstone: Life Well-Lived (D-Quenzer)
  • Anti-Moralism (Garcia)
  • Moral Concepts (Garcia)
  • Spanish American Phil (Gurtler)
  • Ethical Principles in Comp. Persp. (Jiang)
  • Zen & Philosophy (Johnson)
  • Phil of World Religions (Kreeft)
  • C.S. Lewis (Kreeft)
  • Values in Social Sci. & Health Care (Manzo)
  • Feminisms (McGill)
  • Moral Resp. in Mental Ill (Rapier-Harster)
  • Freud & Philosophy (Rumble)
  • Ethics of Climate Change (Storey)
  • Environmental Ethics (Storey)
  • Playing God: Technology (Storey)
  • Philosophy of Law (VanRooy)

Students wanting focus and direction for their elective choices may select a track within the major. Tracks are satisfied in consultation with the major advisor by completing two electives in one of the following areas:

  • Science, Ethics & Humanities
  • Law, Public Policy, & Economics
  • Philosophy, Religion & the Arts


Philosophy currently supports over 200 majors, almost half of which are 2nd or 3rd majors.