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Philosophy Major


The Philosophy Department offers a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Philosophy that allows students to pursue one of the following options:

  • General Option
  • Philosophy and Religious Studies Option
  • Communications and Critical Thinking Option

Students transferring into the college who wish to major in Philosophy must make individual arrangements with the undergraduate major coordinator (or students transferring from other universities, the transfer coordinator) of the Department of Philosophy regarding satisfaction of major course requirements. Additional questions can be directed to the department chair.

General Option

The General option focuses on students gaining a strong foundation in philosophy by completing survey courses in introductory philosophy, followed by upper-level courses in normative and applied ethics, politics and culture, ancient philosophy, logic, and metaphysics. Philosophy courses at UMass Lowell are often taught as interdisciplinary courses, using philosophy as a central piece of a larger methodology to inquire into difficult questions. We field courses as broad as introductory and applied ethics courses, and as targeted as in-depth inquiries into individual authors in the philosophical canon over an entire semester.

Students complete a capstone project in their senior year, consisting of a focused directed study with the aim of creating an in-depth thesis. Undergraduate theses are supervised by a faculty member in the department, and graded by the supervisor and another member of the department to ensure the student has demonstrated the required analytic skills to leave UMass Lowell as a philosophy graduate. Theses can be supplemented with additional directed studies, practicums, or internships for students who are interested in applying their philosophical skills in practice as part of their degree.

This course of study is aimed both at students who would like to pursue philosophy at the graduate level, who seek a broad liberal arts education, or who would like to use the philosophy degree as training for disciplines such as law or business. For the General option, students must complete at least 15 credit hours of philosophy courses at the 3000 level or above and 15 additional credit hours of any level philosophy course.

Philosophy and Religious Studies Option

The Philosophy Department offers a Philosophy and Religious Studies option for those students who would like to pursue the in-depth studies of religion and world religious traditions. Our courses cover historical and contemporary religions, new religious movements, and spiritual traditions. We provide coursework in both Abrahamic religions (i.e. Christianity, Judaism, and Islam), and non-Abrahamic religions such as Buddhism and Shinto.

The approach of this option is philosophical rather than historical or sociological. Our classes inquire into how to identify a system of belief as a religion; the nature and meaning of religion in human life; religions place in modern society; and its relation to the scientific tradition. We also inquire into the background philosophical traditions from which religious movements may emerge, such as the relationship between Chinese religious movements and Chinese philosophy. Students may complement their Religious Studies core curriculum with historical and sociological coursework, World Ready requirements, and language requirements, to deeply think about the role of religious movements in other nations and cultures.

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 in law and business.

The Communications and Critical Thinking option requires students to take 33 total credits designated by the major, with a minimum 24 credits in philosophy, including a minimum of 15 credits in philosophy at the 3000 level or higher. In addition to these, 3 interdisciplinary electives in communications-related disciplines must be taken. A practicum is strongly encouraged for Communications and Critical Thinking students to develop their practical communication skills and ability to engage with communities.

View all the complete Degree Pathways.

For additional information, contact the Department of Philosophy.