The Philosophy major is designed to serve the needs of three types of students: 

  1. those who seek a liberal arts education as a terminal program; 
  2. those who are preparing for professional graduate schools, e.g., education, law, theology, and medical schools which approve an undergraduate philosophy major; and
  3. those who are preparing for graduate work in philosophy. 
A Philosophy major is of value to all who question the reasons for things as they are, to those who seek a deeper understanding of what they are doing and their purpose for doing it, and to those who recognize the validity of Socrates’ assertion that the “unexamined life is not worth living.” For additional information visit the Philosophy Department or contact us.


A major in Philosophy consists of 30-45 credits (with at least 15 credits at the 3000 level or above). The Department does not specify particular course work for the major but recommends that the sequence of courses be designed in close consultation with the student’s faculty advisor. Students who plan to go to graduate school are strongly encouraged to take at least two courses in the history of philosophy. They should also consider a second major in a cognate field, e.g., American Studies, English, French, History, Mathematics, or Political Science.

View the complete Degree Pathway.

Philosophy & Religious Studies Concentration

A major in Philosophy with a concentration in Philosophy & Religious Studies requires a minimum of 30 credits and a maximum of 45 credits from courses in the Philosophy Department (of which up to 9 credits may be from the interdisciplinary courses as described below). At least 15 of the credits must be from courses numbered 3000 or above. Students must meet the following requirements as well from among their 30-45 credits:

Required Introductory Courses

All students must take PHIL.2960 Introduction to World Religions


PHIL.2030 Introduction to Ethics
PHIL.2010 Introduction to Philosophy

Philosophy & Religious Studies Electives (five courses)

Students must take a minimum of 15 credits from the list of approved Philosophy & Religious Studies courses below, of which up to 9 credits may be from interdisciplinary courses in Philosophy & Religious Studies. Students should choose those courses that are most suitable to their particular interests. Not all of these courses will be offered in a given academic year; students may contact the Chair of Philosophy to determine when a given course will be offered. New courses relevant to Philosophy & Religious Studies may be added to the catalog from time to time; students may contact their advisors to determine whether a new course will count towards the Philosophy & Religious Studies concentration.

PHIL.3040 God and Philosophy
PHIL.3400 Mysticism: East and West
PHIL.3480 Eastern Philosophy and Religion
PHIL.3500 World Philosophies
PHIL.3510 Problem of Evil
PHIL.3570 Science and Religion
PHIL.3710 Buddhist and Zen Philosophy
PHIL.3720 Chinese Philosophy
PHIL.3730 Arabic and Islamic Philosophy
PHIL.3740 Myth, Ritual and Festival

Interdisciplinary Courses in Philosophy & Religious Studies

In satisfying the Philosophy & Religious Studies electives requirement, students may also take courses from other departments that are relevant to the Philosophy & Religious Studies concentration. Students may take a maximum of 9 credits from outside philosophy for purposes of credit towards the Philosophy & Religious Studies concentration. Courses currently in the catalog that may count for Philosophy & Religious Studies credit include:

SOCI.3570 The Sociology of Religion
ENGL.2500 The Bible As Literature
POLI.3340 Islam and Politics
POLI.4020 Women In Islam

For courses not on this list that may be relevant, students may consult with the Chair to see if they can count for the Philosophy & Religious Studies concentration.

Communications and Critical Thinking Option

The Philosophy Department also offers an interdisciplinary option in “Communications and Critical Thinking” within the Philosophy major, leading to the Bachelor of Arts degree. This program serves students looking to increase their professional options within such fields as publishing, public relations, advertising, sales and marketing, and social services, and who want an interdisciplinary course of study that transcends the confines of traditional programs. The program also provides excellent preparation for further graduate study, above all, in law and business.

Students transferring into the College who wish to major in Philosophy must make individual arrangements with the chairperson of the Department of Philosophy regarding satisfaction of major course requirements.