Philosophy Major

College of Arts and Sciences

Degree BA, Philosophy

Department Chair Mark Painter, PhD


Julie Kuhlken, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, BS, BA, MA Stanford University; MA, PhD Middlesex University

Mark Painter, Professor of Philosophy, BA Evergreen State College; MA University of North Texas; PhD University of Missouri

Melanie Shepherd, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, BA Hanover College, PhD The Pennsylvania State University

Matthew L. Swanson, Associate Professor of Philosophy, BA, MA, PhD University of Missouri

This program presents philosophy as an integral life activity growing out of a deep and passionate concern with life and its meaning and the recognition that the traumatic changes that mark an age and affect all people involve philosophical issues. In its academic mode, philosophy is noted for cultivating those dispositions and aptitudes requisite for critical thinking and sound judgment. In this function, it provides the strongest preparation for rational living and intelligent participation in contemporary discussions about issues such as freedom, justice, personal authenticity, morality, and political legitimacy.

Pre-Law Specialization

The pre-law specialization was developed in accordance with the Association of American Law Schools, which recommends that prospective law students have a broad liberal arts background. The program represents sound preparation for the Law School Admissions Test and the study of law.

General Requirements

Philosophy majors must complete 30 credits in philosophy beyond the six credits that satisfy core requirements, and maintain a 2.00 (C grade) average overall and in the major. They are also required to take Introduction to Logic (PHL 105), Introduction to Ethics (PHL 102) and the four upper level historical courses: Ancient Philosophy (PHL 320), Early Modern Philosophy (PHL 330), 19th Century Philosophy (PHL 340) and 20th Century Philosophy (PHL 430). A proficiency in a foreign language is advisable.

A large number of free electives allows students flexibility in personalizing their studies. Majors can, with approval of their advisors, either select from various minors and areas of concentration, pursue double majors, or select clusters of advanced courses from different disciplines in pursuit of more integrated understanding.