Requirements for Major
The major in philosophy is designed to sharpen the student’s analytical and creative skills, and to enhance clarity of exposition. It also acquaints the student with some of the most important themes in the history of Western thought. In order to fulfill the requirements for a major in philosophy, a student must complete at least three credits of course work in each of the three areas of metaphysics and epistemology, logic, and ethics, and at least six credits of course work in the history of philosophy, with the courses to be selected from among those listed below.
A philosophy major requires a total of 30 credits of courses numbered 200 or higher. Students who double-major may, in consultation with their major advisor or the director of undergraduate studies, count up to six credits from their second major towards their philosophy major. If a student elects to satisfy the logic requirement by taking PHIL 141, those credits do not count towards the 30 credit requirement.
A. Metaphysics and Epistemology
PHIL 331 (Metaphysics), PHIL 334 (Philosophy of Mind), PHIL 332 (Epistemology)
PHIL 242 (Symbolic Logic), PHIL 542 (Symbolic Logic), PHIL 141 (Forms of Reasoning)
PHIL 351 (Ethics), PHIL 352 (Contemporary Ethics), PHIL 256 (Classics of Political Philosophy), PHIL 257 (Political Philosophy).
All majors must take either PHIL 211 (History of Philosophy: Ancient and Medieval) or PHIL 212 (History of Philosophy: Modern). Those who take PHIL 211 must also take at least one of the following: PHIL 315 (Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz), PHIL 316 (Locke, Berkeley, Hume), or PHIL 317 (Kant). Those who take PHIL 212 must also take at least one of the following: PHIL 311 (Plato), PHIL 312 (Aristotle), PHIL 314 (History of Medieval Philosophy), PHIL 513 (Topics in Medieval Philosophy).
Distinguished Majors Program in Philosophy
The Distinguished Majors Program (DMP) is designed for students who wish to pursue their studies in philosophy beyond the requirements of the regular major. It requires both the study of a broad range of philosophical areas and a more concentrated examination of a single topic in the form of a senior thesis.
Students may apply to the DMP as early as the fifth semester before graduation and as late as the third semester before graduation. They must have completed at least two philosophy courses, and they must have and maintain a GPA of at least 3.400 in all philosophy courses taken. (In addition, they should have an overall GPA close enough to 3.400 to make it likely that they will be able to satisfy the College requirement of a final cumulative GPA of 3.400 for graduation with distinction.)
DMP students must complete 36 credits of course work in philosophy, no more than 15 of which are at the 200-level. Courses at the 100-level cannot be counted towards DMP requirements. The 36 credits must include at least 3 credits each of:
- logic, chosen from PHIL 242, 542 or 543;
- ethics or social philosophy, chosen from PHIL 351, 352, 356 or 257;
- metaphysics or epistemology, chosen from PHIL 331, 332 or 334.
- seminars for majors (PHIL 401, 402 or other designated courses).
DMP students must also take six courses in the history of philosophy, in accordance with the requirements laid out above for ordinary majors. In addition, six of the required 36 credits must be used for the thesis and allocated as follows: PHIL 493 (Directed Readings) to be used as a pre-thesis research course (the student must submit a thesis proposal to the undergraduate committee upon completion of this course); and PHIL 498 (Senior Thesis). The seminar for majors and PHIL 493 will satisfy the general DMP requirement for 6 credits of advanced course work.
Majors must maintain an average GPA of at least 2.000 in all their philosophy courses. Failure to do so will result in the students being placed on probation for the following semester. At the end of a probationary semester, if the students’ average is still below 2.000, the student may be asked to declare a different major. Majors are expected to obtain grades of C- or better on all their philosophy courses. More specifically, if majors receive a grade below C- in two philosophy courses, they are place on probation. If students on probation receive a grade under C- in a third course, they may be asked to declare a different major.
Philosophy Honors Program
In addition to the major programs listed above, the department offers a program of two years of tutorial study leading to the B.A. degree with honors in philosophy. Candidates are required to pass an examination in logic by the end of their first year in the program. At the end of their final year, candidates are required to take written examinations in epistemology, metaphysics and the philosophy of mind, and ethics. In addition, a candidate must either submit a thesis upon a topic of his or her choice, or take a written examination in one of the following: political philosophy, formal logic, philosophy of science, aesthetics, the writings of a major philosopher. An oral examination is held following the written examinations. Students interested in the honors program should approach the department’s administrative staff about application procedures. Those accepted into the program should register for PHIL 490: Honors (15).
Requirements for Minor
The minor in philosophy consists of 15 credits of which no more than three credits may be below the 200 level. The program of study should be developed in consultation with a departmental advisor.
For more information, contact Talbot Brewer, Undergraduate Advisor, 508 Cabell Hall, P.O. Box 400780, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4780; (434) 924-7701; www.virginia.edu/philosophy
Requirements for a Minor in Bioethics
21 credits including one course at the introductory level-either RELG 265 (Theology, Ethics, Medicine) or PHIL 252 (Bioethics: A Philosophical Perspective); BIOL 121 (Human Biology) or BIOL 201-202; 6 credits at the 300-level or higher in ethical and/or political theory, 3 credits of which must be in ethics; and 9 credits at the 300-level or higher in bioethics electives or closely related courses, 6 of which must be in regular bioethics courses.
In order to fulfill the bioethics electives requirement of 9 credits, students may opt to take one course that, while not specifically focused on bioethics, still relates in a substantial way to the issues or methods of bioethics—e.g., BIOL 425 (Human Genetics), PLAP 471 (Values, Resources, and Public Policy), ANTH 329 (Marriage, Mortality, and Fertility), SOC 426 (Health Care Systems). Students may not take all the electives from the same department. A list of electives is maintained by Professor John Arras, the program director.
While most such electives should be at the 300-level or higher, some exceptions are approved (e.g., ANTH 234, Race, Gender, and Medical Science) at the discretion of the program director.
Students may take up to 3 credits for an appropriately structured internship in partial fulfillment of the bioethics electives requirement.
No more than 12 credits may be counted toward both the student’s major and this minor. The type and number of courses that are eligible for double counting is handled on an individual basis by the program director in collaboration with the student and her or his academic advisor. The director of the bioethics minor works with closely related departments (e.g., philosophy and religious studies) to ensure that appropriate limits are set on the number of bioethics electives that may count toward the respective majors.
For more information contact John Arras, Program Director, 524 Cabell Hall, P.O. Box 400780, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4780; (434) 924-7868; www.virginia.edu/bioethics