College Schools, Departments & Programs


Major in Philosophy

The B.A. Major in Philosophy emphasizes study of the history of philosophy and training in contemporary philosophical research. Philosophy majors develop skill in identifying and critically evaluating arguments, thinking clearly and independently, writing analytically, and applying principles of logic and good reasoning. They acquire an understanding of the history of Western Philosophy and of fundamental issues regarding central philosophical topics. They learn how to develop and defend their own philosophical views. Philosophy fosters an open-minded, non-dogmatic attitude, the ability to offer and accept criticism without personalizing it, and the capacity to tolerate uncertainty. The major is designed for maximum flexibility in the choice of courses and is ideal as a stand-alone major supplemented by electives in other disciplines, or as part of a double major. Philosophy provides training for any career requiring analytical skills, intellectual discipline, and facility in considering issues from diverse viewpoints.  Philosophy majors work in many fields, including law, medicine, business, public service, education, media, and more.  For more information about the Philosophy undergraduate program, please see the departmental website.


Students must complete a minimum of 30 credit hours in philosophy. No more than 3 credit hours of coursework in the category of introductory courses (that is, any 100-level course, P200, or P240) may be included in the 30 credit hour minimum. Students are required to take:

  1. P250 Introductory Symbolic Logic.
  2. At least one course at or above the 200 level in history of philosophy.
  3. At least one course at or above the 300 level in ethics and value theory.
  4. At least one course at or above the 300 level in epistemology and metaphysics.
  5. At least one 400-level course from among the following:
    • P401 Special Topics in the History of Philosophy
    • P470 Special Topics in Philosophy
    • P498 Honors Thesis Directed Research
    • 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.


Students interested in non-academic careers should consult with the Department's Undergraduate Academic Advisor as soon as possible to develop a plan of study well-suited to their aims and interests. An exemplary plan of coursework 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); one course in philosophical writing and methods (P300); 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 coursework.

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.