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Syracuse University, College of Arts and Sciences

B.A. in Philosophy

Overview

Philosophy sharpens your mind, expands your imagination and deepens your understanding of our culture and its history. See our Philosophy Major Learning Outcomes for details.

Don’t let anyone tell you that studying philosophy is not practical! Philosophy majors outperform most other majors on the standardized tests for Law School, Business School and Graduate Studies. And they succeed in diverse careers, including law, business, government, finance and consulting, the arts, journalism, non-profit work, teaching, medicine and more.

  1. Be employable, study philosophy (Salon.com, 2013)
  2. Robert Rubin: Philosophy Prepared Me for a Career in Finance and Government (NY Times, 2018)
  3. The Unexpected Way Philosophy Majors Are Changing The World Of Business (Huffington Post, 2017)
  4. Legendary hedge fund investor attributes his success to studying philosophy (CNBC.com, 2018)

Philosophy also enhances and complements other fields of study. Many of our majors combine Philosophy with a major or minor in another discipline, such as Biology, Engineering, Economics, History, Political Science, Business, Information Studies, Advertising, Art, English and more.

Philosophy majors are welcome and encouraged to participate in our Visiting Speakers events and to join our Undergraduate Philosophy Club.

Students wishing to discuss the Philosophy major should contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies, Michael Rieppel.

Sample Major Requirements

The Philosophy major requires 30 credit hours in philosophy, at least 24 credits of which are numbered 300 or above. Only courses in which a student receives a grade of at least C count towards the major. Each student must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Logic: PHI 251
  • Philosophy Majors' Seminar: PHI 401
  • Area requirements in (a) History of Philosophy (2 courses); (b) Metaphysics, Epistemology, Mind, Language, and Logic (1 course); (c) Value Theory (1 course). See below for details.
  • (a) History of Philosophy: at least two of the following:
    • PHI 307 - Ancient Philosophy
    • PHI 308 - Classical Islamic Philosophy
    • PHI 311 - The Rationalists
    • PHI 313 - British Philosophy
    • PHI 317 - Political Philosophy: The Social Contract Tradition and its Critics
    • PHI 391 - History of Ethics
    • PHI 418 - Hegel, Marx, and Nietzsche
    • PHI 510 - Topics in Ancient Philosophy
    • Other appropriate course approved by the Director of Undergraduate Studies
  • (b) Metaphysics, Epistemology, Mind, Language, and Logic: At least one of the following:
    • PHI 321 - Twentieth Century Theories of Knowledge, Reality, and Meaning
    • PHI 351 - Logic and Language
    • PHI 373 - Introduction to the Philosophy of Science
    • PHI 375 - Philosophy of Biology:What Can Evolution Explain?
    • PHI 376 - Philosophy of Mind
    • PHI 377 - Philosophy of Psychology
    • PHI 378 - Minds and Machines
    • PHI 381 - Metaphysics
    • PHI 383 - Free Will
    • PHI 385 - Personal Identity
    • PHI 387 - Epistemology
    • PHI 551 - Mathematical Logic
    • PHI 552 - Modal Logic
    • PHI 555 - Philosophy of Mathematics
    • PHI 565 - Philosophy of Language
    • PHI 573 - Philosophy of Physical Science
    • PHI 575 - Philosophy of Social Science
    • PHI 576 - Philosophy of Mind
    • Other appropriate course approved by the Director of Undergraduate Studies
  • (c) Value Theory: At least one of the following:
    • PHI 317 - Political Philosophy: The Social Contract Tradition and its Critics
    • PHI 379 - American Slavery and the Holocaust
    • PHI 391 - History of Ethics
    • PHI 393 - Contemporary Ethics
    • PHI 394 - Environmental Ethics
    • PHI 395 - Philosophy of Art
    • PHI 396 - Stem Cells and Society
    • PHI 397 - Philosophy of Law
    • PHI 398 - Medical Ethics
    • PHI 417 - Contemporary Political Philosophy
    • PHI 493 - Contemporary Ethical Issues
    • PHI 593 - Ethics and the Health professions
    • Other appropriate course approved by the Director of Undergraduate Studies