Majoring or Minoring in Philosophy | Kent State University

Majoring or Minoring in Philosophy

The Department of Philosophy is part of the College of Arts & Sciences, but a student in any college can minor (or double major) in philosophy.  To declare a philosophy major or minor, students should visit the College of Arts & Sciences office in 105 Bowman Hall to fill out the necessary paperwork.  New philosophy majors should also schedule an appointment with the Undergraduate Coordinator in the Department of Philosophy, who will discuss their particular interests and goals, answer their questions, and assign them a philosophy adviser.

Philosophy Major:

The philosophy major consists of 36 hours of classes (12 courses). A student majoring in philosophy starts with 9 hours of basics: introductions to philosophy, ethics, and formal logic. The required basic courses for the philosophy major are:

  • *PHIL 11001 Introduction to Philosophy (Kent Core Humanities & Fine Arts; Diversity – Global)
  • *PHIL 21001 Introduction to Ethics (Kent Core Humanities & Fine Arts; Diversity – Global)
  • *PHIL 21002 Introduction to Formal Logic (Kent Core Mathematics & Critical Reasoning) or PHIL 41038 Intermediate Logic

Beyond these basics, philosophy majors choose at least three courses (9 hours) in the history of philosophy, one from each of the following groups:

Group 1         

  • PHIL 31001 Ancient Philosophy
  • PHIL 31002 Medieval Philosophy

Group 2

  • PHIL 31003 Continental Rationalism
  • PHIL 31004 British Empiricism
  • PHIL 31005 German Critical Philosophy

Group 3

  • PHIL 31006 19th-Century Philosophy
  • PHIL 31010 20th-Century Philosophy
  • PHIL 31020 American Philosophy

Each of the history of philosophy courses is taught as a writing-intensive course (WIC); thus, a philosophy major takes at least three courses with a heavy emphasis on the development of critical and argumentative writing skills.

In addition to the 18 hours of basics and history courses, the philosophy major requires 18 hours of upper-division PHIL coursework, at least 9 hours (three courses) of which must be at the 40000 level.  The 40000-level courses are offered jointly to advanced undergraduates and to graduate students in the department’s master’s program.  This affords undergraduates the opportunity to interact with and be challenged by more advanced students, further enhancing their learning experience in their 40000-level philosophy courses.

Philosophy Minor (catalog year prior to 2017–18):

The philosophy minor consists of 21 hours of classes (7 courses).  Students select any three of the following basic courses:

  • *PHIL 11001 Introduction to Philosophy (Kent Core Humanities & Fine Arts; Diversity – Global)
  • *PHIL 11009 Critical Thinking (Kent Core Additional)
  • *PHIL 21001 Introduction to Ethics (Kent Core Humanities & Fine Arts; Diversity – Global)
  • *PHIL 21002 Introduction to Formal Logic (Kent Core Mathematics & Critical Reasoning)

In addition to these basics, philosophy minors choose four additional courses, at least three of which (9 hours) must be at the upper-division level.  These must include at least one of the history of philosophy courses listed above (31001, 31002, 31003, 31004, 31005, 31006, 31010, 31020) and one course at the 40000 level.

Philosophy Minor (catalog year 2017–18 and beyond):

The philosophy minor consists of 18 hours of classes (6 courses).  Students select one of each category of foundational courses:

  • *PHIL 11001 Introduction to Philosophy (Kent Core Humanities & Fine Arts; Diversity – Global) OR *PHIL 21001 Introduction to Ethics (Kent Core Humanities & Fine Arts; Diversity – Global)
  • *PHIL 11009 Critical Thinking (Kent Core Additional) OR *PHIL 21002 Introduction to Formal Logic (Kent Core Mathematics & Critical Reasoning)

In addition to these basics, philosophy minors choose four additional courses,  which must be at the upper-division level.  These must include at least one of the history of philosophy courses listed above (31001, 31002, 31003, 31004, 31005, 31006, 31010, 31020) and one course at the 40000 level. PHIL 40093, 49996, and 49999 may not be counted toward the minor.

FURTHER INFORMATION

Course prerequisites require that either PHIL 11001 or 21001, as well as either PHIL 21002 or 41038, be taken before any of the history of philosophy courses, and that at least one of the history courses be taken prior to any 40000-level course.  In general, though, the philosophy major and minor allow students considerable flexibility with scheduling and leave them with ample time to pursue other coursework, including additional majors and/or minors.

The courses listed above marked with asterisks (*) fulfill various Kent Core requirements.  Thus, we encourage students who are undecided on a major, or even a college, to consider majoring or minoring in philosophy.  We offer Kent Core courses in the Humanities and Fine Arts, Mathematics and Critical Reasoning, and Additional categories, which can be counted toward the philosophy major or minor as well as the Kent Core requirements.  We also offer courses that fulfill the Global Diversity requirement.  

Regardless of which major or minor a student ultimately chooses, philosophy courses provide exposure to fundamental areas of learning, while at the same time helping develop skills relevant to almost any vocational or scholarly discipline or career path.

HOW TO DECLARE a Major or a Minor in Philosophy

The Department of Philosophy is part of the College of Arts & Sciences, but a student in any college can minor (or double major) in philosophy.  To declare a philosophy major or minor, students should visit the College of Arts & Sciences office in 105 Bowman Hall to fill out the necessary paperwork.  New philosophy majors should also schedule an appointment with the Undergraduate Coordinator in the Department of Philosophy, who will discuss their particular interests and goals, answer their questions, and assign them a philosophy adviser.

Career Opportunities

Majoring in philosophy helps prepare students for success, regardless of what their career goals are.  Students majoring in philosophy develop skills attractive to a broad range of potential employers.  They receive intensive training in critical thinking and argumentation skills, careful reading and analysis of texts, argumentative and analytic writing, creative problem-solving, effective communication, and global literacy.  These important skills are vital in today’s job market, and no job seeker can afford to be without them.  Our 36-credit-hour major makes it easy for students to choose one or more complementary minors, or even a second major, depending on their career interests. Philosophy majors and minors go on to successful careers in a wide range of fields, including:

  • law
  • business
  • health care
  • government
  • public relations
  • education
  • writing/editing
  • journalism
  • communication
  • technology
  • social work
  • counseling

While there are no scholarships specifically for philosophy majors, well-qualified students should consider applying to the Honors College, which offers scholarships to exceptionally talented applicants.  Please contact the Honors College for further information.