The undergraduate concentration in philosophy offers courses covering all of the main areas of the discipline, from epistemology and metaphysics to philosophy of religion, philosophy of literature, and feminist philosophy. It also offers courses covering all the various periods in the history of philosophy. Concentrators can expect to strengthen their knowledge of and skills in ancient philosophy, early modern philosophy, logic, epistemology, metaphysics and philosophy of value. While the concentration provides a strong general education in philosophy, concentrators are required to identify an area of specialization.

Students with questions about the concentration should contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies, Richard Kimberly Heck.

Student Goals

Students in philosophy will:

  • Learn to think analytically and creatively about philosophical texts and issues
  • Understand the work of major figures in the history of philosophy, including Plato, Aristotle, Descartes and Kant
  • Become familiar with arguments and approaches in metaphysics or epistemology, and a selection of other areas of philosophy, such as philosophy of mind and philosophy of language; as well as topics in ethics and political philosophy
  • Know how to carry out logical proofs and derivations within a formal system
  • Produce a significant body of written work

Courses in the Department are divided into:

Under 0350: Introductory (not more than 1 course counts towards the Concentration)

0350-0980: Lower Intermediate Level - for Undergraduates only (usually no prerequisites)

0990-Level Courses: Undergraduate Seminars (Designed for Juniors and Seniors)

1000-Level Courses: Upper Intermediate - for Undergraduates and Graduates (previous coursework in Philosophy recommended)

2000-Level Courses (below 2200): Graduate Seminars - usually open to Philosophy Concentrators and others with Instructor's permission

There are also other Graduate Seminars (2200 and above) reserved for Students in the Ph.D Program

Please note, when you're doing a search in [email protected], if you want to see the 2000-level courses, you should search under "Philosophy". If you type in "Philosophy AB", then unfortunately only the under-2000 level courses appear! Please don't be put off by the fact that you need to ask permission for Graduate Seminars -- if you're a Senior (and sometimes if you're a Junior) and you ask permission, it's usually given.

Concentration Requirements

Concentrators must take ten courses total, of which no more than one may be below Phil 0350, and at least three of which must be at or above Phil 0990.

Distribution Requirements

Each philosophy concentrator must take:

  • One course in Ancient Philosophy
    e.g. Phil 0350 Ancient Philosophy; Phil 1250 Aristotle ; Phil 1260 Plato; Phil 1310 Myth and the Origins of Science
  • One course in Early Modern Philosophy
    e.g. Phil 0360 Early Modern Philosophy; Phil 1700 British Empiricists; Phil 1710 17th Century Continental Rationalism; Phil 1720 Kant: The Critique of Pure Reason
  • One course in Epistemology or Metaphysics
    e.g. Phil 1660 Metaphysics; Phil 1750 Epistemology; Phil 1760 Philosophy of Language; Phil 1765 Sense and Reference; Phil 1770 Philosophy of Mind
  • One course in Ethics or Political Philosophy
    e.g. Phil 0500 Moral Philosophy; Phil 0560 Political Philosophy;  Phil 0880 Ethical Themes in the Contemporary American Short Story; Phil 1640 The Nature of Morality; Phil 1650  Moral Theories
  • One course in Logic
    e.g. Phil 0540 Logic; Phil 1630 Deductive Logic; Phil 1880 Advanced Deductive Logic; Phil 1885 Incompleteness
  • One seminar:  A course from the Phil 0990 series or any seminar at the 2000-level, which may be counted for one of the other requirements.

With the approval of the Director of Undergraduate Studies, up to two courses from departments other than the Philosophy department may be included among the ten courses required for the Concentration. These courses may not be counted toward fulfillment of the area requirements.


Every philosophy concentrator must complete a capstone project. For more information, see the pages on the Capstone and the Honor's Thesis.


To qualify for Honors, a student must:

  1. Have grades of either A or Satisfactory with Distinction in more than half their philosophy courses and any courses from outside the department that they are counting towards the concentration.
  2. Successfully complete a Senior Thesis that, in the judgment of the advisor and second reader (to be appointed by the Director of Undergraduate Studies), is worthy of an Honors recommendation.

Physics and Philosophy Concentration

This page describes the "standard" concentration in Philosophy. There is also a related but separate concentration in Physics and Philosophy. More information on that program is available from the Physics department and from the Registrar's office.