Philosophy (BA)


Philosophy has been central to higher education since the inception of the university in the Middle Ages and is the original source of many of the other rational endeavors to know the world. It remains the cornerstone of Catholic education. Philosophy promotes clear thinking and teaches students to think analytically, to write and speak clearly and persuasively, to evaluate evidence, to construct and present sound arguments for their viewpoints and to recognize flaws in opposing arguments—skills essential to success in any profession or career.

Philosophy helps to create responsible citizens. It allows students to see through cultural and intellectual fads, protects them from the often empty posturing of politicians, defends them from the slippery claims of advertisers and salespeople, insulates them from the often unfounded assertions of media pundits and commentators, and shields them from foolish opinions and everyday nonsense. Philosophy contributes to our becoming more fully human. It broadens the range of things that students can understand and enjoy, enhances their expressive powers, contributes to their self-knowledge, foresight, and sense of direction in life, nurtures individuality and self-esteem, and brings them into contact with the most important and fundamental human questions about reality, knowledge, morality, and all other aspects of the human experience.

The Department of Philosophy embodies the University's commitment to its students. We do this by creating an academic environment that encourages students to approach fundamental questions with an attitude of open and disciplined reflection, that evokes a love for the intellectual life and promotes a deeper appreciation of our civilization, which has been influenced by philosophy at all levels. Students who fulfill the degree requirements will earn a Bachelor of Arts with a major in philosophy.

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    Degree Requirements

    To obtain this undergraduate degree, the student must fulfill the requirements of the University Core Curriculum, the requirements for the program major and have completed a minimum of 126 credit hours.

    Requirements for the Philosophy Major (30 credits)

    Both of the following (6 credits):

    • PHL 1000 Introduction to Philosophy (3 credits)
    • PHL 2010 Foundations of Ethics (3 credits)

    One of the Following Courses in Logic (3 credits):

    Three of the Following Courses in the History of Philosophy (9 credits):

    • PHL 3060 Ancient Philosophy (3 credits)
    • PHL 3070 Medieval Philosophy (3 credits)
    • PHL 3080 Early Modern Philosophy (3 credits)
    • PHL 4400 Contemporary Philosophy (3 credits)

    One of the Following Courses in the Major Areas of Philosophy (3 credits):

    Plus Three Elective Courses in Philosophy:

    • PHL 9 credits

    PHL 1000 is a prerequisite for all other philosophy courses except for PHL 1400 and PHL 1500, which may be taken without prior coursework in philosophy. Students planning to do graduate study in philosophy are strongly urged to take more courses than the required 30 hours. The philosophy faculty will work with students to select additional courses that will help prepare them for graduate work in the discipline.


    Philosophy Minor

    The 18-credit-hour minor in philosophy is comprised of 9 credit hours (or 3 courses) that provide the necessary foundation for advanced study in philosophy (PHL 1000, PHL 2010 and PHL 1500 or PHL 2500), and are therefore required of all students who choose the minor. The remaining 9 hours in the minor allow the student to choose three upper division PHL 3000-level or PHL 4000-level courses that explore those philosophical issues in which the student has the greatest interest.

    Required (9 credits)

    • PHL 1000 Introduction to Philosophy (3 credits)
    • PHL 2010 Foundations of Ethics (3 credits)
    • PHL 1500 Critical Thinking (3 credits) OR  PHL 2500 Symbolic Logic (3 credits)

    Additional Courses - Choose 3 (9 credits):

    • Select 3 PHL courses at the 3000-level or 4000-level*. (3 credits, each)

    * The following courses are accepted as 3000-4000 level PHL courses:  POL 3800 Elements of Political Thought, 3 credits and ETH 3580 Health Care Ethics, 3 credits.  Students may only count one Directed Study (PHL 4150  Advanced Topics in Philosophy, 3 credits) as an upper division PHL elective.

    Important Notes:

    • The Department recommends that students considering a minor consult with an advisor in the Philosophy Department when choosing upper division philosophy elective courses. Through the use of directed readings (limit one per minor) and advanced topics in philosophy courses, the Philosophy Department can help students design minors that best complement their particular major and/or interests.
    • Students seeking a philosophy minor are encouraged to take more than the 18 hours required.
    • PHL 1000 is a prerequisite for all other philosophy courses except for PHL 1400, PHL 1500 and PHL 2500; these are logic courses which may be taken without prior coursework in philosophy.
    • For a list of PHL 3000+ level philosophy courses, see our list of courses.
    • Please contact a member of the Philosophy Department for advising in the minor.

Program Chair: Elizabeth Oljar, Ph.D.
Briggs Building, Room 306
McNichols Campus

Telephone: 313-993-3388
Fax: 313-993-1166

Department Website