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Philosophy Major Requirements

Requirements (for the class of 2016)

Majors in philosophy must take at least ten courses in  philosophy, numbered 201 or higher. Of these ten at least eight must be offered by the Philosophy Department; as many as two may be given in other departments or programs (e.g., COL, Religion) that are relevant to the student's program of studies in philosophy and are approved as such by the philosophy faculty. Of the ten courses, no more than four can be introductory level (201-249) courses.

In addition, students must satisfy the following:

  • History of Philosophy requirement. All students must complete two courses from among the Introductory Historical courses (201, 202, and 205).
  • Value requirement. All students must complete at least one Introductory or Intermediate Value course.
  • Mind and Reality requirement. All students must complete at least one Introductory or Intermediate Mind and Reality course.
  • Advanced course requirement. All students must complete at least two advanced courses, in any area, during their Junior or Senior years.

Requirements (for the class of 2017 and beyond)

All majors in philosophy must take at least 10 courses.

General track:  At least eight of the 10 courses for the major must be offered by the Philosophy Department; as many as two may be given in other departments or programs (e.g., College of Letters, Religion) that are relevant to the student's program of studies in philosophy and are approved as such by the philosophy faculty.

In addition, students must satisfy the following:

  • One course from each of the History, Mind and Reality, and Values core courses.
  • Advanced course requirement. All students must complete at least two advanced philosophy courses, in any area, during their junior or senior years.
  • No more than two credits outside the department will count toward the major.

Social Justice track: At the core of the Social Justice Major Track is a Social Justice Concentration that brings together a student’s specific interests in social justice.  Majors will submit proposals for acceptance to the track that will include 3 philosophy courses and 2 non-philosophy courses that fit together in a coherent concentration.

These are sample concentrations:

“Human Rights in China”

PHIL 272 Human Rights Across Cultures

PHIL 278 Political Philosophy

PHIL 375 Paternalism

CEAS 271 Political Economy of Developing Countries

CEAS 297  Politics and Political Development in the People’s Republic of China

“Challenging the Carceral State”

PHIL 214 Justice and Reason 

PHIL 250  History of Political Philosophy

PHIL 268  Ethics of Captivity

ANTH 302  Critical Perspectives on the State

AMST 296 America in Prison: Theater Behind Bars

In addition to the 5-course concentration, students must satisfy the following:

  • One core course in either History or Mind and Reality. 
  • Two other Philosophy Courses
  • Advanced course requirement. All students must complete at least two advanced philosophy courses, in any area, during their junior or senior years

Prospective majors should pay particular attention to the prerequisites for Intermediate and Advanced courses when planning their schedules. Among other courses, Philosophy 201, 202, 205, and 231 are required for a variety of subsequent courses.

Because philosophy ranges over subjects in other disciplines, such as economics, government, mathematics, physics, psychology, and religion, students considering philosophy as a major field are strongly advised to choose a balanced combination of solid liberal arts courses conforming to Wesleyan expectations for generalization. Knowledge of foreign languages is particularly useful for the study of philosophy and indispensable for serious study of the history of philosophy. It is therefore strongly recommended that students achieve reading fluency in at least one foreign language.