Jul 13, 2024  
Undergraduate Record 2009-2010 
Undergraduate Record 2009-2010 [ARCHIVED RECORD]


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Requirements for Major

The philosophy major requires a total of 30 credits of courses numbered 2000 or higher.  Students who double major may count any six credits from their second major towards the philosophy major.   These 30 credits must include one course satisfying


A. Metaphysics and Epistemology

 (one of the following classes)

B. Logic

 (one of the following classes)

D. History

 (either option A or option B)

Academic Standards

All courses being applied to the major must be completed with a grade of C or higher. Students who incur a C- in a Philosophy course are placed on probation as majors for the following semester. Further, students whose cumulative GPA in major courses falls below 2.0, will also be placed on probation for the following semester. Absent significant improvement in their academic performance, these students may be discontinued as a major in Philosophy.

The 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. DMP students must complete 36 credits of course work in philosophy, no more than 12 of which are at the 2000-level. Courses at the 1000-level cannot be counted towards DMP requirements. The area requirements for the DMP are the same as for the major, except that:

(i) the logic requirement must be fulfilled by taking PHIL 2420, 5420, or 5430 and

(ii) Distinguished Majors must take a Seminar for Majors (PHIL 4010, 4020, or other designated course.)

In addition, six of the required 36 credits must be used for the thesis and allocated as follows: PHIL 4993 (Directed Readings) to be used as a pre-thesis research course and PHIL 4999 (Senior Thesis). (The Seminar for Majors and PHIL 4993 will satisfy the college DMP requirement for 6 credits of advanced course work.) Depending on program performance, Distinguished Majors will graduate with Distinction, High Distinction, or Highest Distinction.

Students normally apply to the DMP at the end of their third year. Students applying at this time must have completed at least six philosophy courses, and must have and maintain a GPA of at least 3.4 in all philosophy courses taken. In addition, they should have an overall GPA close enough to 3.4 to make it likely that they will be able to satisfy the College requirement of a final cumulative GPA of 3.4 for graduation with distinction.

Application materials: (i) a brief proposal of a thesis topic; (ii) an up-to-date transcript; (iii) a note from a faculty member indicating that he or she is willing to supervise the applicant’s thesis.


The 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. The core of the Honors Program is the ‘tutorial’, a weekly one-on-one (sometimes two-on-one) meeting with a faculty member; the focus of discussion is an essay prepared by the student on a pre-assigned topic. In the first three semesters of the program, tutorials cover ethics, epistemology, and metaphysics (not necessarily in that order). In the final semester, Honors students normally write a thesis on a topic of their choice under the supervision of a faculty member; it is also possible to do a fourth tutorial, instead of a thesis, in a field chosen by the student. In addition to the tutorials, Honors students are required to: (i) audit PHIL 2420  (Intro to Symbolic Logic) and pass the final exam with a grade of B or better (this requirement must be satisfied by the end of the third year); (ii) audit and do the written work for two 3000 level courses in the history of philosophy. Students are encouraged to audit other courses in philosophy as well as in other fields.  At the end of their final year, Honors students take a set of comprehensive written exams in the fields covered in their tutorials: ethics, epistemology, and metaphysics. These examinations are set and evaluated by ‘external’ examiners—faculty from other universities. Following the written examinations, external examiners come to Charlottesville to conduct an oral examination of the student’s thesis, and to ask follow-up questions on the written exams. The student’s performance in the written and oral examinations determines whether he or she graduates with Honors, High Honors, or Highest Honors.

Applications to the Honors Program are submitted in mid-April of the student’s second year; materials to be submitted are: (i) a letter by the applicant indicating reasons for interest in the program; (ii) an up-to-date transcript; (iii) a sample of written work, normally a paper written for a philosophy course; (iv) two brief recommendations from faculty members.

The Philosophy Minor

The requirements for the Philosophy Minor are15 credits of philosophy courses. No more than three credits may be below the 2000 level. The program of study should be developed in consultation with a departmental advisor.

Additional Information

For Additional Information about the above programs , contact Antonia LoLordo, Undergraduate Advisor, 122 Cocke Hall (lolordo@virginia.edu), or Daniel Devereux, Director of the Philosophy Honors Program, 207 Cocke Hall (dtd2e@virginia.edu).

The Minor in Bioethics

Bioethics is a field of intellectual inquiry that examines moral questions at the intersection of biology, medicine, law, public health, policy, and ethics - all broadly construed. Unlike the traditional fields that contribute their respective problems and perspectives to this broadly based inquiry, bioethics is not a unitary “discipline” with its own distinctive methods and credentialing institutions. It is an interdisciplinary “field” populated by scholars, teachers, and clinical practitioners from a wide variety of traditional disciplines, such as philosophy, religious studies, law, medicine, nursing, social work, public health, the medical humanities (literature and history), and social sciences (politics, sociology, economics, anthropology).

Requirements for a Minor in Bioethics:

21 credit hours including one course at the introductory level either RELG 2650 (Theology, Ethics, Medicine) or PHIL 1740 (Life and Death); BIOL 1210 (Human Biology and Disease) or BIOL 2010 (Introduction to Biology:  Cell Biology and Genetics); 6 credit hours in ethical and/or political theory (one of these two courses must be in ethics; and one must be at the 3000 level or higher–i.e., one theory course may be at the 1000-2000 level); and 9 credit hours at 3000-level or higher in bioethics electives or closely related courses, 6 credits of which must be in regular bioethics courses.  

The biology requirement cannot be automatically satisfied by substituting advance placement credits from high school.  Students with advance placement credits in hand may satisfy the requirement by taking one other university-level biology course at the 3000 level or higher.

In order to fulfill the bioethics electives requirement of 9 credit hours, 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 4250 (Human Genetics), ECON 4160 (The Economics of Health), ANTH 3129 (Marriage, Mortality and Fertility), SOC 4260 (Health Care Systems). A list of such courses will be kept current by Professor John Arras, Program Director.  

While most such electives should be at the 3000-level or higher, some exceptions will be approved (e.g., for ANTH 2270 “Race, Gender and Medical Science”). Which courses will so count will be up to 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.  

A maximum of 12 credit hours may be double counted both towards the student’s major and this minor. The type and number of courses that will be eligible for double counting for each student will be handled on a case-by-case basis by the Program Director in collaboration with students and their academic advisers. The Director of the Bioethics Minor will work 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 towards their respective majors.

Additional Information

For more information contact John Arras, Program Director, 524 Cabell Hall, P.O. Box 400886, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4780; (434) 924-7868; www.virginia.edu/bioethics.

Course Descriptions

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