Our Curriculum

Our overall goal is to offer a wide array of courses that reflects the diversity of philosophical topics, participants to these debates, and student interest in philosophy. We also want to assist our students in developing critical reading and writing skills, and to give  them the opportunity to work closely with professors. Check the FAQ to the right for more information. Still have questions? Just send any faculty member an email and we will help you out.

Small Classes

We have capped all introductory classes at 30 students, and all intermediate classes at 25. We believe that students learn philosophy well in small groups.

Introductory Options

We offer a great variety of exciting topical introductions to philosophy. Try out courses such as Phil 1.03 Philosophy and Economics, Phil 1.14 Knowledge, Truth, and Power, or Phil 9.08 Ethics and Information Technology. Other introductory courses (PHIL 1-9) include Phil 3 Reason and Argument and Phil 4 Philosophy and Gender.

Decimalized Course Numbers

Many philosophy courses use decimal notation. In addition to a general course such as Phil 31: Metaphysics, we also offer a wide range of topical courses under that general heading: Phil 31.05 Time, Truth, and Fate; 31.06 Free Will, Agency, and Responsibility; 31.07 The Social World, and so on. Each of these decimalized courses focuses on a different set of issues under the rubric of Metaphysics.

A Customized Major

We would like students to structure a major or minor around their interests and in consultation with our faculty. To that end, we encourage students to work closely with their major or minor advisors in the Philosophy Department to coordinate their plans of study.

Curriculum FAQ

I already took Phil 1.01. Can I also take Phil 1.02, or 1.03?

Yes. Courses with different decimal designations are different courses. Students can enroll in as many different introductory courses as they like, although only a limited number can count toward a philosophy major or minor.

Does this also apply to intermediate courses?

Yes. Phil 35.01 will not cover the same ground as Phil 35.02, so students may enroll in either one, or both, and count both of them toward the major. We will advise our majors and minors to study a range of topic areas, of course, but students who would like to focus their studies have options for doing so.

But can I take Phil 35.01 twice, if it is offered by different professors?

No. Phil 35.01 is one course, which might be offered by different professors in different terms, but students may not take it twice for credit.

My major requires me to take two courses in the history of philosophy. Can I take Phil 16.01 and 16.02 to satisfy the requirement?

Yes. Because 16.01 and 16.02 are different courses, both count toward the history distributive requirement within the major.

How do I get started planning a major or minor?

Students are encouraged to contact a faculty member in the Philosophy Department as soon as possible in the course of their studies. Planning course selections in an informed way is best accomplished in consultation with major or minor advisors. For more information, see the Major or Minor webpage.