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Philosophy Major

The philosophy major helps students respond to every person’s primary task: becoming the person he or she would like to be.

Philosophy students develop their own morally coherent identity by studying and questioning what great and wise people before them have said about the nature of the good life.

At the same time, they develop critical-thinking skills useful in a wide range of careers from law to teaching.

Students majoring in philosophy study historical and contemporary answers to life’s fundamental questions and formulate their own answers. This active learning encourages them to become life-long learners and some will go on to graduate school.

Philosophy is a popular double major, often combined with psychology, business, or, perhaps, political science. Students find the combinations enhance their understanding and make them eminently employable.

Requirements for the Major in Philosophy 
(all courses 3 credits unless noted)

  • PHI 201 - History of Philosophy: Ancient & Medieval
  • PHI 202 - History of Philosophy: Modern
  • PHI 303 - Logic
  • PHI 315 - Ethics
  • PHI 304 - History and Philosophy of Science  
    PHI 320 - Political Philosophy
  • R-PHI 466 - Undergraduate Research (3 credits) 
  • Three courses from PHI 100-, 200-, 300-, and 400-level offerings (9 credits)
  • Electives, related or double major (48–62 credits) 

Total Credits for Major: 27

Special Requirements
Seniors majoring in philosophy are required to complete a capstone project, usually a paper, that demonstrates the students’ learning over the course of the major.

This project may be done for a course being taken in the senior year or it may be a research project undertaken with a faculty member.

Minor: The department offers a minor made up of 18 credits in philosophy. Students wishing to minor in philosophy should consult the department chair.

Learning Outcomes 
Philosophy majors will:

  • demonstrate an awareness of the power and limits of language to create a difference between appearance and reality by describing and critiquing alternate conceptions of the world, from the ancients through the early moderns to the contemporary
  • demonstrate knowledge of major moral theories and Western thought, make clear distinctions between them, and apply them to cases
  • use philosophical argument to clarify and move toward resolution of issues of applied ethics and social justice
  • relevant critical-thinking skills
  • write a philosophical paper that is synthetic, compelling, logical, clear, original to the author, and uses relevant evidence, including primary sources

Philosophy Honors Program
Students who meet the following requirements will graduate with honors in the major.

  1. minimum cumulative GPA in philosophy of 3.5
  2. minimum cumulative overall GPA of 3.0
  3. presentation of some philosophical work, either the student’s capstone paper or some other independent research project, in a public forum
    • The public presentation may include, but is not limited to, a presentation of the paper or project to the Philosophy Club, a poster presentation open to the University, or an Honors colloquium at Cabrini or the SEPCHE colleges.

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