Our New Curriculum

Starting this Spring term, the Philosophy Department is rolling out a new curriculum! Our overall goal is to offer a wider array of courses that better reflects the diversity of philosophical topics, participants to these debates, and student interest in philosophy. We also want to give students the opportunity to work more closely with professors. Here are the highlights. 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.

Smaller 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, even at the introductory level. There will no longer be large lecture classes in philosophy.

New Introductory Options

Along with our smaller class sizes, we are introducing a greater variety of exciting introductions to philosophy, which will change often and cover a large array of topics. Try out courses on time travel, personhood, and puzzles of perception, our critical thinking class Reason and Argument and our introductory Logic class. Now, instead of Phil 1, students opt for Phil 1.01, 1.02, 1.03, etc, each of which is on a different topic. We hope this better reflects the exciting diversity both of philosophical topics and the participants in philosophical debates.

More Varied Intermediate Classes

Students may have noticed that most intermediate philosophy classes now use decimal notation, too. Instead of Phil 30: Theory of Knowledge, we now offer a wide range of courses under the heading of Epistemology and Method: Phil 30.01, 30.02, and so on. Each of these courses is focused on a different set of topics within an area. Each decimal course counts in the same way toward the major as the earlier version counted. So, Phil 35.01 counts toward the major in the same way that Phil 35 used to. But now, students can expect to see a greater variety of courses, with more informative descriptions of their specific topics.

Fewer Distributive Requirements = A More Customized Major

We would like students to structure a major around their interests, and in consultation with our faculty. To that end, we reduced the number of distributive requirements within the major. Now students will work more closely with their faculty advisors to coordinate their plans of study.

New 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 as they like. Students cannot make all of these courses count toward their philosophy major, but they can take as many for course credit as they like.

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 to take a range of courses while at Dartmouth, of course, but students who would like to focus will now have better 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.

Does Phil 35.01 count toward my major in the same way as Phil 35 used to count?

Yes. Current students are bound by the major requirements in their class year's ORC, and all courses with decimal names count in the same way toward the major as earlier courses without the decimal notation used to count. Check out the Transition Plan link to the left for more information.

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.

I took a course that no longer exists on the revised list of courses. Does it still count toward my major?

Of course! Students are bound by the ORC that was in effect when they started at Dartmouth. The Philosophy Department will make it possible for all students who started at Dartmouth before the curriculum was revised to complete their majors in line with the earlier requirements. Check out the Transition Plan link to the left for more information.

You are no longer offering a course I needed to take in order to complete my major. Help!

Nothing to worry about here. We have worked out a plan that allows all students who started at Dartmouth before the curriculum was revised to complete their majors: check out the Transition Plan link to the left. If you have any more questions just get in touch with your faculty advisor.

I am currently at Dartmouth and thinking about majoring in philosophy. Will I be working with the new curriculum, or the old one?

You will be able to take advantage of all the new courses we will offer, but students who started at Dartmouth prior to the fall term of 2015 (Class Years 2018 and Earlier) will be bound by the earlier major requirements. The Transition Plan link to the left will help you apply the new courses to the requirements of the old major.