Departments & Programs


Major in Philosophy

The B.A. Major in Philosophy provides intellectual training by acquainting students with some of the most important developments in the history of ideas. Courses in the department emphasize clear and cogent thinking about fundamental problems, locate the origins of these problems in the writings of the great philosophers, and provide in-depth examinations of proposed solutions. The major in philosophy leads to the B.A. degree and is flexible enough to meet the needs and interests of those who are not planning to become professional philosophers, as well as the needs and interests of those who do have such plans.

Required Courses

Students must complete a minimum of 30 credit hours in philosophy. No more than 3 credit hours of course work in the category of introductory courses (that is, any 100-level course or P240 or P270) may be included in the 30 credit hour minimum. Students are required to take:

  1. P250 Introductory Symbolic Logic.
  2. One course at or above the 200 level in history of philosophy.
  3. One course at or above the 300 level in ethics and value theory.
  4. One course at or above the 300 level in epistemology and metaphysics.
  5. One 400-level course from among the following:
    • P401 Special Topics in the History of Philosophy
    • P470 Special Topics in Philosophy
    • P498 Senior Seminar
    • P499 Honors Thesis
  6. A minimum of 18 credit hours must be completed at the 300-400 level.

Students must also complete the degree requirements of the College of Arts and Sciences.


An exemplary plan of course work for majors who are considering graduate study in philosophy might be as follows: one course in logic (P250, which should be completed at the earliest opportunity); four courses in the history of philosophy (e.g., P201, P211, P301 or P304, and P401); two courses in epistemology and metaphysics (e.g., P310 and P312); and two courses in ethics and sociopolitical philosophy (e.g., P340 or P342). Varied interests in particular areas of philosophy will suggest other equally worthwhile plans of course work.

Transfer of Credits toward Major

Students planning to transfer philosophy credits toward a major in philosophy should consult with the director of undergraduate studies. Of the 30 credit hours required for the major in philosophy, at least 18 must be completed in residence on the Bloomington campus. These 18 credit hours will usually be 300- and 400-level courses taken from at least three of the following areas: logic, ethics and social-political philosophy, history of philosophy, and epistemology and metaphysics.