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The Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy

Total Course Requirements for the Bachelor's Degree: 120 units

See Bachelor's Degree Requirements in the University Catalog for complete details on general degree requirements. A minimum of 40 units, including those required for the major, must be upper division.

A suggested Major Academic Plan (MAP) has been prepared to help students meet all graduation requirements within four years. You can view MAPs on the Degree MAPs page in the University Catalog or you can request a plan from your major advisor.

General Education Pathway Requirements: 48 units

See General Education in the University Catalog and the Class Schedule for the most current information on General Education Pathway Requirements and course offerings.

This major has approved GE modification(s). See below for information on how to apply these modification(s).

  • PHIL 201 is an approved major course substitutions for Humanities (C2).
  • PHIL 420 is an approved GE Writing Intensive substitutions.

Diversity Course Requirements: 6 units

See Diversity Requirements in the University Catalog. Most courses taken to satisfy these requirements may also apply to General Education .

Literacy Requirement:

See Mathematics and Writing Requirements in the University Catalog. Writing proficiency in the major is a graduation requirement and may be demonstrated through satisfactory completion of a course in your major which has been designated as the Writing Proficiency (WP) course for the semester in which you take the course. Students who earn below a C- are required to repeat the course and earn a C- or higher to receive WP credit. See the Class Schedule for the designated WP courses for each semester. You must complete the GE Written Communication (A2) requirement before you may register for a WP course.

Course Requirements for the Major: 36 units

Completion of the following courses, or their approved transfer equivalents, is required of all candidates for this degree.

Lower-Division Requirements: 6 units

1 course selected from:

SUBJ NUM Title Sustainable Units Semester Offered Course Flags
An introduction to philosophical thought and skills. Issues that traditionally have been of central importance in philosophical inquiry, such as the nature of knowledge, reality, and values, will be emphasized. 3 hours lecture. This is an approved General Education course. (007155)
A critical survey of different theories of happiness and meaning in life, including discussion of the roles of moral values, mental health, art, music, and food and drink in living well. 3 hours lecture. This is an approved General Education course. (007163)

1 course required:

SUBJ NUM Title Sustainable Units Semester Offered Course Flags
Western philosophical thought from the pre-Socratics through Stoicism, including movements and figures such as Pythagoreanism, Plato, Aristotle, and Epicureanism. 3 hours lecture. (007181)

Upper-Division Requirements: 30 units

3 courses required:

SUBJ NUM Title Sustainable Units Semester Offered Course Flags
Western philosophical thought from the Renaissance through Kant, including Bacon, Hobbes, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, and Hume. 3 hours lecture. (007182)
In this course students will learn classical propositional and predicate logic. The syntax, semantics and deductive systems of a few formal systems will be studied. 3 hours discussion. (007196)
Prerequisite: 12 units in Philosophy.
Intensive reading, discussion, and writing that builds on knowledge and skills acquired in previous philosophy courses. Topics vary. Course includes review of key philosophical concepts and methods, peer feedback for oral and written work, reflection on experience of the major, and post-graduate plans. 3 hours seminar. (021650)

1 course selected from:

SUBJ NUM Title Sustainable Units Semester Offered Course Flags
An introduction to moral theory, including such figures as Plato, Aristotle, Kant, and Mill. Alternative views concerning fundamental moral questions will be explored. 3 hours seminar. (007190)
A philosophical examination of the nature and function of the human community and the political state, and of the implications for individual life of alternative conceptions of society and politics. 3 hours seminar.This is an approved Writing Intensive course. This is an approved General Education course. Formerly PHIL 340. (007198)

1 course selected from:

SUBJ NUM Title Sustainable Units Semester Offered Course Flags
Philosophical studies of the sources, nature, and criteria of knowledge; alternative approaches to problems of perception, meaning, and truth. 3 hours seminar. (007188)
An examination of basic metaphysical problems, such as free will, the mind-body problem, life after death, and some of the systems of thought that attempt to deal with them. 3 hours seminar. (007189)

3 courses selected from:

SUBJ NUM Title Sustainable Units Semester Offered Course Flags
Western philosophical thought from Kant through the twentieth century, including the phenomenological and analytic traditions in western philosophy. 3 hours lecture.This is an approved Writing Intensive course. This is an approved General Education course. Formerly PHIL 303. (007183)
Study of central figures in analytic philosophy, including Wittgenstein, Quine, Davidson, and Kripke, emphasizing philosophy of language and philosophy of mind. 3 hours seminar. (007203)
The phenomenological movement and its impact on philosophy, literature, and psychology, with attention to Husserl's views on mind, body, and intersubjectivity and Heidegger's ideas of being-in-the-world, authenticity, and death. 3 hours seminar. (007204)
A study of the major philosophic movements which have originated in the United States or had a significant impact on its institutions and culture. 3 hours discussion. (007174)
Preperation for the Regional Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl (RIEB) competition that includes review of moral theory, introduction to skills in moral problem solving, application of theory to moral dilemmas across a wide range of personal, social, and professional environments, and oral presentation of solutions to moral dilemmas. Require travel to and participation in the RIEB (one weekend during semester). 3 hours lecture. You may take this course more than once for a maximum of 9.0 units. (020605)
Introduction to philosophical questions about the nature of mind and language, includes such topics as philosophical analysis of mental phenomena, philosophical theories of mind, theories of reference and meaning, mental representation, animal and computer minds, consciousness, the mind-body problem, the philosophical importance of language, and the role of language in thought. 3 hours lecture. (021648)
An examination of the philosophical issues raised by scientific inquiry. Topics include the logical empiricist view of science, perception, and discovery, scientific paradigms, and the implications of reductivism. 3 hours seminar. This is an approved General Education course. (007193)
Intensive reading and discussion of the writing of Satre & Camus. 3 hours seminar. (007309)
A philosophical study of the nature and significance of art, with references to relevant works. The course considers such themes as the beautiful, the sublime, comedy, tragedy and the social psychological dimensions of art as well as the periods of Romanticism, Modernism, Postmodernism. 3 hours lecture. (020624)
Prerequisite: Completion of GE Written Communication (A2) requirement.
An analysis of twentieth-century ethical theory. 3 hours seminar. This is an approved Writing Proficiency course; a grade of C- or better certifies writing proficiency for majors. (007270)
Prerequisites: PHIL 380, faculty permission.
Systematic treatment of truth functions and quantifiers; introduction to mathematical logic. Topics include syntax, semantics, and metatheory for the propositional and predicate calculi, elementary set theory. Russell's paradox, infinite sets. 3 hours discussion. (007195)
Prerequisites: Completion of GE Written Communication (A2) requirement, acceptance into Honors in Philosophy, faculty permission.
To provide opportunity for the student accepted for "Honors in the Major" to prepare and write a thesis on a topic germane to interests developed during the first three years of work in Philosophy. Research and writing will be done under supervision by a staff advisor and for the total of 6 units in consecutive semesters. 9 hours supervision. You may take this course more than once for a maximum of 6.0 units. This is an approved Writing Proficiency course; a grade of C- or better certifies writing proficiency for majors. (007332)

6 units selected from:

Any philosophy (PHIL) courses (except PHIL 102) selected in consultation with the Philosophy Department advisor.

Philosophy and Law Advising Cluster

Those students majoring in philosophy who plan to enter law school should consider, as part of or in addition to the regular degree requirements the following cluster of courses. See the Undergraduate Advisor for additional information.

SUBJ NUM Title Sustainable Units Semester Offered Course Flags
Study of central figures in analytic philosophy, including Wittgenstein, Quine, Davidson, and Kripke, emphasizing philosophy of language and philosophy of mind. 3 hours seminar. (007203)
This course is also offered as POLS 332 .
An investigation of contemporary moral issues involved in police work and corrections, such as deadly force, entrapment, undercover work, corruption, and prisoners' rights. 3 hours seminar. (007269)
In this course students will learn classical propositional and predicate logic. The syntax, semantics and deductive systems of a few formal systems will be studied. 3 hours discussion. (007196)
This course is also offered as POLS 438 .
The philosophical nature and origins of law. Topics to be examined include theories of law, justice, the relationship of law to morality, natural law, responsibility, punishment, and other basic concepts. Approach is both theoretical and via case studies. 3 hours lecture. (007282)
This course is also offered as MCGS 451B .
Analysis of judicial cases and related materials illustrating historical and current interpretations of constitutional problems such as racial discrimination, criminal procedures, and freedom of speech and religion. 3 hours lecture. (005645)
The objective of this course is to teach students legal analysis using Socratic method, briefing cases, and law-school-type examinations. The course will be aimed at students considering law school. 3 hours lecture. (007583)

Note: Enrollment in POLS 451B and POLS 453 must be concurrent for the purposes of satisfying the requirements of the Philosophy and Law advising cluster.

Electives Requirement:

To complete the total units required for the bachelor's degree, select additional elective courses from the total University offerings. You should consult with an advisor regarding the selection of courses which will provide breadth to your University experience and possibly apply to a supportive second major or minor.

Grading Requirement:

All courses taken to fulfill major course requirements must be taken for a letter grade except those courses specified by the department as Credit/No Credit grading only.

Advising Requirement:

Advising is mandatory for all majors in this degree program. Consult your undergraduate advisor for specific information.

Honors in the Major:

Honors in the Major is a program of independent work in your major. It requires 6 units of honors course work completed over two semesters.

The Honors in the Major program allows you to work closely with a faculty mentor in your area of interest on an original performance or research project. This year-long collaboration allows you to work in your field at a professional level and culminates in a public presentation of your work. Students sometimes take their projects beyond the University for submission in professional journals, presentation at conferences, or academic competition. Such experience is valuable for graduate school and professional life. Your honors work will be recognized at your graduation, on your permanent transcripts, and on your diploma. It is often accompanied by letters of commendation from your mentor in the department or the department chair.

Some common features of Honors in the Major program are:

  1. You must take 6 units of Honors in the Major course work. All 6 units are honors classes (marked by a suffix of H), and at least 3 of these units are independent study (399H, 499H, 599H) as specified by your department. You must complete each class with a minimum grade of B.
  2. You must have completed 9 units of upper-division course work or 21 overall units in your major before you can be admitted to Honors in the Major. Check the requirements for your major carefully, as there may be specific courses that must be included in these units.
  3. Your cumulative GPA should be at least 3.5 or within the top 5% of majors in your department.
  4. Your GPA in your major should be at least 3.5 or within the top 5% of majors in your department.
  5. Most students apply for or are invited to participate in Honors in the Major during the second semester of their junior year. Then they complete the 6 units of course work over the two semesters of their senior year.
  6. Your honors work culminates with a public presentation of your honors project.

While Honors in the Major is part of the Honors Program, each department administers its own program. Please contact your major department or major advisor to apply.

Honors in Philosophy:

To graduate with Honors in Philosophy a student must:

1. Fulfill all requirements for a major in Philosophy.

2. Write a Senior Honors Thesis. (See PHIL 499H)

3. Achieve a grade point average of at least 3.66 in those courses taken to fulfill the requirements for the major and PHIL 499H.

4. Pass satisfactorily an oral examination on the thesis.

Catalog Cycle:16