Philosophy Major (B.A.)

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UNH philosophy majors acquire the ability to think systematically and imaginatively about fundamental and enduring issues such as morality, justice, happiness, beauty, gender, race, nature, artificial intelligence, space, time, and the meaning of life and death. Our internationally-renowned professors emphasize discussion, debate and writing in our courses. Wrestling with the “big questions” from diverse and global perspectives will prepare you exceptionally well for a variety of fulfilling careers. A lively and nurturing community personally invested in the success of our high achieving students, we take pride in watching our graduates excel in top law and graduate schools, innovative social justice programs, and various positions from Wall Street to Silicon Valley and beyond that seek hard workers who can think rigorously and communicate clearly.

Ethics and Social Responsibility Option

While completing the major, students may select the option in Ethics and Social Responsibility. This option provides official recognition for those who choose to emphasize concern with moral responsibility in personal and social contexts, including the political and corporate arenas. See the option requirements.

Graduate Preparatory Emphasis

This emphasis is strongly recommended for students who plan to do graduate work in philosophy. Beyond the 10 program courses, such students should select, with their advisers' approval, two additional philosophy courses above the 400 level, for a total of 12 courses.

Distinction on Senior Thesis

Distinction on Senior Thesis is granted by a unanimous determination of the student's committee that the thesis exceeds A-level work and is worthy of special recognition.

Honors in Philosophy

To graduate "With Honors" in Philosophy, students will be expected to pursue a philosophy curriculum that demands greater depth and rigor than what is required by the major; they will be expected to complete the curriculum at a consistently high level of achievement; they will be expected to have an overall GPA of 3.5 or above; they will engage in independent study and research (under the supervision of a faculty member) beyond the requirements of their coursework; and they will be expected to present and defend a culminating project that synthesizes aspects of their study. Students can demonstrate these expectations in either of two ways: a thesis option or a portfolio option. Consult the Department of Philosophy website for more details.

Majors must take a total of 10 philosophy courses.

Core Requirements
PHIL 412Beginning Logic4
PHIL 500Workshop4
PHIL 530Ethics4
PHIL 570Ancient Philosophy4
PHIL 580Modern Philosophy from Descartes to Kant4
Select one of the following additional courses in the history of philosophy:4
Topics in History of Philosophy
20th Century European Philosophy
An approved seminar
Discovery Capstone Requirement
Select two 700-level seminars of the student's choice, at least one of these should be taken in the senior year 18
Any two additional philosophy courses8
Total Credits40

As with all courses counting for the major, a grade of C- or better is required.

Please note that a single course can satisfy multiple requirements for the major. PHIL 495 Tutorial Reading and PHIL 795 Independent Study normally do not count toward fulfilling major requirement credits; exceptions may be granted by special permission.

Note that it is in the nature of 700-level seminars to presuppose by default that students have completed the main 400-level and 500-level core requirements (PHIL 412 Beginning Logic, PHIL 500 Workshop, PHIL 530 Ethics, PHIL 570 Ancient Philosophy, PHIL 580 Modern Philosophy from Descartes to Kant) and so free reference is made to materials, views, techniques, etc. covered in those lower-level core requirements.

Although not required, students are strongly encouraged to consider the possibility of doing honors-in-major (and thus writing a thesis or an honors portfolio), and/or presenting research at the Undergraduate Research Conference, and/or fulfilling an undergraduate research grant in their senior year. This is especially encouraged for students considering graduate school in philosophy.

The required minimum overall GPA in major coursework is 2.0.

Candidates for a degree must satisfy all of the University Discovery Program requirements in addition to satisfying the requirements of each individual major program. Bachelor of arts candidates must also satisfy the foreign language proficiency requirement.

Major department courses may not be used to satisfy Discovery category requirements except in the case of a second or dual major and with the exception of PHIL 412 Beginning Logic, which may be used to satisfy both.