Philosophy students may pursue Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy; the department also offers a minor in Philosophy for students who are committed to another academic track. Students choose the Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy for various reasons. Most enjoy the intellectually provocative and challenging nature of philosophical thinking that opens their minds and has relevance for their personal lives. Some study philosophy in order to go to graduate school and eventually teach philosophy or to enter other professional fields, such as law. And others take philosophy as a second major since it is a good complement to virtually any other major. In all cases, the study of philosophy is personally enriching and develops skills that are transferable to a variety of occupations.
The Department of Philosophy offers different kinds of courses to give students a solid foundation in this centuries-old and ever-evolving field of study. Historical courses survey the major philosophers and periods in the history of philosophy. Specialized courses focus more narrowly on topics such as applied ethics, religion, the meaning of life, politics, or the thought of one philosopher. Systematic courses are advanced and deal with problems that arise in relation to all human activities, such as the activity of knowing (epistemology), the nature of reality (metaphysics), and the nature of value (meta-ethics). The departmental offerings are grouped as follows:
- Introductory Course: Introduction to Philosophy
- Formal Reasoning Course: Introduction to Logic
- Historical Courses: History of Ancient and Medieval Philosophy; History of Modern Philosophy
- Specialized Courses: Moral Problems; Fundamentals of Ethics; The Meaning of Life; Environmental Ethics; Philosopher in Depth; Philosophy of Science; Philosophy of Law; Philosophy of Mind; Philosophy of Language; Philosophy of Religion; Political Philosophy; Biomedical Ethics, Special Topics
- Systematic Courses: Metaphysics; Theory of Knowledge; Meta-Ethics: What Is Morality?
Combining Philosophy with Other Areas of Study
That connections exist between philosophy and many other disciplines is a significant part of why philosophy is an excellent choice for students interested in a double major. The requirements for the major are not especially burdensome, so pairing a philosophy major (or minor) with a major in another department is relatively simple. This is a particularly attractive option for the student who has a deep desire to contemplate life's great questions but also counts herself or himself as very practically minded.