Undergraduate Program Learning Outcomes

Students who complete the philosophy major emerge with the following knowledge and skills:

1. An ability to argue cogently for a philosophical point and to analyze and criticize the arguments of others.

Students receive an introduction to these concepts during completion of lower division coursework. Continued practice takes place in the upper division work and successful completion of a senior seminar in which a thesis is produced is the final requirement for the major.

The senior thesis should demonstrate the following criteria:

  • The main thesis of the paper is stated clearly at the outset.
  • There is a single, main thesis argued for throughout the paper, each part of the paper contributes to establishing the truth of this thesis, and there are no unnecessary digressions or expository material.
  • Clear and valid arguments are made for the truth of the main thesis of the paper.
  • Possible or actual objections to the main thesis are considered and addressed with valid arguments.

2. A familiarity with the central concepts and key debates in the core areas of contemporary philosophical thought, including ethics, metaphysics, and epistemology.

Lower division courses introduce many of the concepts.

Upper division electives for the major must include at least one ethics and two metaphysics and/or epistemology. 

  • Ethics or Value Theory

    • Stoic Ethics (PHIL 118)
    • Practical Rationality (PHIL 137)
    • History of Ethics (PHIL 140)
    • Advanced Ethics (PHIL 142)
    • Applied Ethics: Ethics Bowl (PHIL 143)
    • Social and Political Philosophy (PHIL 144)
    • Topics in Feminist Philosophy (PHIL 147)
    • The Holocaust and Philosophy (PHIL 148)
    • Aesthetics (PHIL 152)
    • Philosophy of Race (PHIL 153)
  • Metaphysics and Epistemology

    • Probability and Confirmation (PHIL 114)
    • Formal Methods in Philosophy (PHIL 115)
    • Epistemology (PHIL 121)
    • Metaphysics (PHIL 122)
    • Philosophy of Science (PHIL 125)
    • Philosophy of Social Science (PHIL 126)
    • Philosophy of Biology (PHIL 127)
    • Philosophy of Mind (PHIL 133)
    • Philosophy of Psychology (PHIL 135)
    • Faith and Reason (PHIL 171)

3. A familiarity with the works of the major figures in the history of philosophy.

The lower division introductory requirement will include many of the major figures in the history of philosophy. Students are required to take two History of Philosophy (PHIL 100) courses early in the pursuit of the major. At least one of the 100 series must be taken prior to enrolling in any other upper division courses. Additional upper division electives focus on one or more major figure in the history of philosophy.

4. A familiarity with both predicate and sentential logic, including the ability to carry out proofs within these symbolic formal systems.

Introduction to Logic (PHIL 9) is a lower division requirement for all students majoring in philosophy. It must be successfully completed before pursuing upper division coursework.