A major in philosophy requires the completion of 24 credit hours, at least 20 of which must be at in courses numbered 200 and above. Ideally, in his or her first year, the student will take one of the entry-level courses—“Inquiry into Values,” “Ethics,” or “Logic”—and then proceed to the yearlong “Proseminar” sequence in the second year. The Proseminar is designed to develop the reading, writing, and researching skills that every major should have by the end of their program of study. Once the student has completed these basic courses, he or she will move on to upper-level courses that are centered around the in-depth study of an important text or theme. The goal is to develop in each student, by the time of graduation, a deep knowledge of several classic texts in the history of philosophy. (Examples include: Plato’s Symposium, Descartes’ Meditations, Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, Heidegger’s Being and Time, and Lévinas’ Totality and Infinity). The major includes opportunities for independent study, allowing students to explore a text or a question in an individualized setting. The requirements of the philosophy major can be easily fulfilled in combination with one or more other majors or minors.
The philosophy minor requires the completion of 15 hours (5 three-credit courses). The open-ended nature of the requirements allows students either to tailor a more focused curriculum reflecting their interests or to broadly explore the discipline through a diverse sampling of courses. This minor works well either as a complement to other majors and minors in related disciplines (psychology, sociology, history, English) or as an unrelated intellectual challenge enhancing one’s university experience.