Philosophy Major: Ethics and Social Responsibility Option (B.A.)

While completing the philosophy 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. Students will choose courses in environmental ethics, law, evolution, social and political philosophy, and feminism. 

Students must fulfill the requirements of the philosophy major plus the requirements of the option. Majors must take a minimum of ten (10) philosophy courses, for a total of 40 credits. A single course can satisfy multiple requirements for the major. The required minimum overall GPA in major coursework is 2.00 and the minimum grade for all courses counting toward the major is a "C-."  Candidates for a degree must satisfy additional University requirements for graduation, such as: 

  1. University "Writing Intensive" Requirements,
  2. Liberal Arts Foreign Language Requirement (B.A. candidates only),
  3. minimum number of credits (128 credits for B.A. degree), and
  4. University Discovery Requirements.

Consult with your adviser early and often to plan the optimal path for fulfilling major and University requirements. 

Major Requirements

Core Requirements20
Beginning Logic
Ancient Philosophy
Modern Philosophy from Descartes to Kant
Electives 112
Select three (3) additional philosophy courses of the student's choice.
Discovery Capstone Requirement 8
Select two (2) 700-level philosophy courses (excluding PHIL 795, PHIL 798, and PHIL 799) of the student's choice, at least one of these should be taken in the senior year
Total Credits40

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.

Ethics and Social Responsibility Option Requirements

This option requires four (4) courses (for a total of 16 credits) from those listed below, with one PHIL 530 Ethics already strictly required for the major. Students may “double count” these courses toward the general requirements of the philosophy major, for example, by counting three (3) of these courses as the elective courses required for the major.

Select four of the following courses:16
Critical Thinking
Critical Thinking
Happiness, Well-Being , and a Good Life
Race, Gender and Social Justice
Race, Gender and Social Justice
Introduction to Philosophy of Law and Justice
The Future of Humanity: Science, Technology, and Society
Honors/The Future of Humanity: Science, Technology, and Society
Ethics and Society
Ethics and Society
Business Ethics
Social and Political Philosophy
Honors/Social and Political Philosophy
Social and Political Philosophy
Just Business: The Ethics of Markets and Money
Honors/Who's Human Now?
Remaking Nature/The Ethics and Politics of Genetic Engineering
Environmental Ethics
Philosophy and Feminism
Introduction to Eastern Philosophy
Topics in Professional and Business Ethics
Professional & Business Ethics
Advanced Topics in Philosophy of Law and Justice
Law, Medicine, and Ethics
Topics in Value Theory
Topics in Theories of Justice
Special Topics

By permission because only some sections of the course will count toward the major option.

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.

Discovery Requirements

For students majoring in only philosophy: philosophy majors may "double count" any two courses toward the major and also to satisfy Discovery requirements. For example, a philosophy major can count (1) PHIL 412 Beginning Logic toward the major requirement as well as using this course to satisfy the Quantitative Reasoning Discovery Category and (2) they can also count PHIL 421 Philosophy and the Arts toward both the major and the Fine and Performing Arts Discovery Category. Because PHIL 412 Beginning Logic  and PHIL 570 Ancient Philosophy are required for the major and also satisfy Quantitative Reasoning and Humanities Categories, respectively, all majors could simply count these two courses toward their Discovery requirements. In various circumstances—for instance if a student already satisfied those Discovery requirements before becoming a philosophy major—one might prefer to count other philosophy courses toward different Discovery Categories, and they are free to do so.

For students double majoring with philosophy: The Department sets no limits on how many courses students may "double count" toward both the philosophy major and Discovery categories if philosophy is your second major. A double major with philosophy as the second major could in principle count any of the following courses toward the major while satisfying five Discovery Categories:

  1. Quantitative Reasoning (QR) Discovery Category could be satisfied by PHIL 412 Beginning Logic.
  2. Fine and Performing Arts (FPA) Discovery Category could be satisfied by PHIL 421 Philosophy and the Arts.
  3. Humanities (HUMA) Discovery Category could be satisfied by PHIL 401 Introduction to PhilosophyPHIL 405 Critical ThinkingPHIL 405W Critical ThinkingPHIL 410 Happiness, Well-Being , and a Good LifePHIL 419 Race, Gender and Social Justice, PHIL 419W Race, Gender and Social Justice, PHIL 420 Introduction to Philosophy of Law and Justice,  PHIL 430 Ethics and SocietyPHIL 431 Business Ethics, PHIL 436 Social and Political PhilosophyPHIL #440 Just Business: The Ethics of Markets and Money, PHIL 440A Honors/Who Are You? Personal Identity and Humanity, PHIL 440B Honors/Who's Human Now?PHIL #444A Who Am I? Concepts of SelfPHIL 510 Philosophy and Feminism, PHIL 525 ExistentialismPHIL 531 Topics in Professional and Business Ethics, or PHIL 570 Ancient Philosophy.
  4. World Cultures (WC) Discovery Category could be satisfied by PHIL 440C Honors/The Copernican Lens: Finding a Place for Humanity or PHIL 520 Introduction to Eastern Philosophy.
  5. Environment, Technology, and Society (ETS) Discovery Category could be satisfied by PHIL 424 The Future of Humanity: Science, Technology, and Society, PHIL 435 Human Nature and Evolution, PHIL 444 Remaking Nature/The Ethics and Politics of Genetic Engineering, PHIL 447 Artificial Intelligence, Robots, and People, or PHIL 450 Environmental Ethics.

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 prepares students exceptionally well for a variety of fulfilling careers. Cultivating 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.

More concretely, we monitor the following learning objectives.

  • Students understand major philosophers and philosophical ideas accurately.
  • Students apply their understanding of ideas in novel contexts.
  • Students write effectively.
  • Students speak effectively.
  • Students argue with depth, precision, balance, and insight.
  • Students understand the formal structure of arguments and understand rules of inference.
  • Students read analytically, critically, and empathetically.
  • Students critically assess their own preconceptions, commitments and ideas.

The main way we oversee student progress is through close mentorship, early on in our 2nd year orientation designed for new majors (PHIL 500 Workshop), and culminating in their presentation of research in two required 700-level seminars. We also strongly encourage participation in the annual Philosophy Department Undergraduate Research Conference.