Major in Philosophy

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A major in philosophy enables students to gain a fuller understanding of the range of subjects included in philosophy. It also permits students to concentrate on subjects and problems which they find most interesting. The undergraduate major is a good preparation for graduate study in philosophy. It is also helpful in preparing for a variety of other careers, including professional careers like law.

Application for the Philosophy Major Program

To apply for the philosophy major, or the double/joint major, please download and complete the application, then email your application to Professor Maureen Donnelly (md63@buffalo.edu), the Director of Undergraduate Studies, along with a pdf of your Academic Advising Report (AAR). For your convenience, the application to major in philosophy is provided in pdf format, below.

About the Major Program of Study

The student who majors in philosophy is encouraged to take a variety of courses in subjects outside philosophy. An ideal program would include courses in all disciplines in keeping with the universality of interest and application of philosophy. But specialization of interest is possible and students may emphasize any one of three types of background: (1) Natural Sciences and Mathematics; (2) Social Sciences; (3) Languages, Literature and the Arts.

Philosophy majors take courses with at least four members of the Department in order to gain the advantage of different points of view. In the junior-senior program, the student learns to interpret classical philosophical texts, deals with current philosophical problems, uses the relevant literature, and ventures individual solutions. Emphasis is placed on the writing of original papers and on oral discussion. Some tutorials are offered.

Students must take the required courses for a letter grade. It is recommended that other philosophy courses be taken on the same basis. A course in English composition is often advisable for students who have difficulty writing essays. In addition to the requirements of the Division of Undergraduate Studies, the Departmental course requirements are:

  • Ethics - one of the following: 107, 238, 335, 336, 237
  • Logic - 175 or 215
  • Metaphysics and Epistemology - one of the following: 329, 333, 320, 321, 328
  • History of Philosophy - two of the following: 260, 266, 270, 280, 288
  • Seven additional philosophy courses (21 credits), of which at least four must be at the 300-400 level.
  • No more than two 100-level courses shall count toward the total requirement of 36 hours.

Double or Joint Major in Philosophy

A student may major in philosophy alone, or may combine philosophy and some other field in a double or a joint major. A double major must satisfy the major requirements of two departments. For a joint major, the normal requirements for majors are relaxed by each of the two departments. Which requirements are waived varies from one student to another.

A student may major in philosophy alone, or may combine philosophy and some other field in a double or a joint major. A double major must satisfy the major requirements of two departments. For a joint major, the normal requirements for majors are relaxed by each of the two departments. Which requirements are waived varies from one student to another.

Admission Requirements

To be admitted as a major, a student must have at least a 2.0 average, and must have completed one philosophy course earning a grade of C or higher.