Philosophy is the systematic and critical inquiry into thinking and the nature of existence. , As a discipline, philosophy is applied to a great variety of topics, such as the nature of knowledge, the mind, and truth, determining what is moral, investigating what makes something beautiful, and inquiring after the existence of God or Ultimate Reality. As a practice, philosophy teaches analytical and critical thinking, develops oral and written communication skills, and contributes to interdisciplinary understanding. As a practice, philosophy attempts to answer perennial questions about values, human existence, and the nature of reality. Skills developed in this inquiry help philosophy students excel in careers in law, medicine, management, education, government, writing, computer science, psychology, sociology, and ministry among many others.
The philosophy major requires 30 credits, which is light for a major. It is designed this way in part to encourage double majors and to allow students to pursue their own interests within philosophy. To put it in perspective, it requires 18 credit hours to get a minor in any discipline, so you might as well take an extra 4 courses and impress everyone with a double major!
Whatever you would like. A major in philosophy does not limit you to a career in academia. People with philosophy degrees have gone on to succeed in a great variety of careers in fields ranging from business (such as George Soros, Carly Fiorina, and Laurence Rockefeller) to politics (Bill Clinton, Vaclav Havel, and Thomas Jefferson), law (Supreme Court Justices Stephen Breyer and David Souter), sports (John Elway and Phil Jackson), literature (David Foster Wallace, Pearl Buck, T.S. Eliot, Umberto Eco, Susan Sontag, and Dostoevsky) and to the arts (Ethan Coen, Steven Colbert, Terence Malick, Steve Martin, Philip Glass, and Robert Motherwell). The skills that philosophy focuses on—including critical thinking, problem solving, clear communication, and a sense of wonder—are skills that can be applied in a myriad of ways.
The major in philosophy requires 30 semester hours with grades of C or above, at least 21 of which must be upper division courses. The philosophy minor requires 18 hours of course work. The philosophy major may choose either the general requirements or the student may specialize in one of four optional programs.
The department offers options in areas of philosophy that focus on particular fields of study, including Religion and Classics; Justice and Global Society; Cognition, Science, Phenomenology, and Linguistics; and Culture and Aesthetics. Students completing the requirements in any of the options will receive a certificate from the department recognizing their competence in a particular area. To quality for an option, the student must fulfill the requirements for the major including at least 30 hours of course work, 9 hours of which must be in the option area.
You can come by office hours or make an appointment with the Chair or other faculty if you would like further advice.
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