About our Program
The Philosophy Department offers a wide range of courses at the undergraduate level which cover every major area of philosophy as well as its history. Students can major or minor in the subject. In addition, the department sponsors two undergraduate philosophy organizations: the Philosophy Club, which is open to all UM undergraduates, and Phi Sigma Tau, a chapter of the National Honor Society in Philosophy. Both groups afford students regular opportunities to meet, eat, and talk philosophy with each other and with graduate students and faculty in the department. All undergraduates who are interested in philosophy are welcome to participate in these philosophical events.
What is Philosophy?
Philosophy is the study of the most basic moral, scientific, legal, aesthetic, religious, and metaphysical concepts and theories by which we understand ourselves and our universe. It is a reasoned pursuit of fundamental truths, a quest for understanding, a study of principles of conduct. It analyzes the basic assumptions and concepts of other disciplines and the norms that govern interpersonal relations and the acquisition of knowledge. It seeks to establish standards of evidence, to provide rational methods of resolving conflicts, and to create techniques for evaluating ideas and arguments. Philosophers are dedicated to developing the following abilities: reasoning clearly, distinguishing between good and bad arguments, thinking through complicated questions, and using reason in situations that are often governed by emotions. Studies have shown that philosophy majors do extremely well on standardized tests, and in careers that require analytical abilities such as the practice of law and software development. But irrespective of career choice, philosophy deepens one's sense of the meaning and varieties of human experience, and enhances self-knowledge, foresight, and sense of direction in life.
The Philosophy Major and Minor
A major in philosophy consists of a minimum of ten courses, each passed with a grade of C- or higher, with an overall GPA of 2.0. Elective courses may be chosen to fit individual needs. Required coures for the major are either Philosophy 210 or 215, either 271 or 272, twelve credits at the 300 level (including one course from 330-332 and two courses from 340-345), and six credits at the 500 level. A minor in philosophy consists of a minimum of five courses, each passed with a grade of C- or higher with an overall GPA of 2.0. At least three of the courses must be at the 200 level or above, and at least one of these three courses must be at the 300 level or above. The major and the minor should be planned with the advice of the department.
Pre-Law Major and Minor Tracks
The Department offers major and minor tracks for students wishing to enhance their Pre-Law studies with relevant Philosophy coursework.
A Pre-Law Major Track in Philosophy consists of a minimum of ten courses, each passed with a grade of C- or higher, with an overall GPA of 2.0. Required courses for the track are either 210 (Formal Logic) or 215 (Logic and Law), either 271 or 272 (1 course in history of philosophy), either 330 (Ethics) or 331 (Social and Political Philosophy), either 332 (Philosophy of Law) or 333 (Philosophical Foundations of Criminal Law), two of either 340 (Epistemology), 341 (Philosophy of Language) or 343 (Philosophy of Science), 2 500-level courses, and any 2 additional PHI courses.
A Pre-Law Minor Track in Philosophy consists of a minimum of five courses, each passed with a grade of C- or higher, with an overall GPA of 2.0. Required courses for the track are either 210 or 215, either 330 or 331, either 332 or 333, one of either 340, 341 or 343, and any other PHI course.
Pre-Med Major and Minor Tracks
The Department also offers major and minor tracks for students wishing to supplement their Pre-Med work with relevant Philosophy coursework. A Pre-Med Major Track in Philosophy consists of a minimum of ten courses, each passed with a grade of C- or higher, with an overall GPA of 2.0. Required courses for the track are 210 (logic), either 271 or 272 (1 course in history of philosophy), 330 (ethics), 334 (biomedical ethics), 343 (philosophy of science), either 340 (epistemology) or 344 (philosophy of mind), and 546 (Knowledge and Evidence in Medicine). Elective courses consist of one 500-level philosophy course and 2 other philosophy courses not listed above. A Pre-Med Minor Track in Philosophy consists of a minimum of five courses, each passed with a grade of C- or higher, with an overall GPA of 2.0. Required courses for the track are 210, 334, 343, either 340 or 344, and 546.
A program of work toward graduation with Honors in Philosophy is available for qualified students. Interested students should consult the Departmental Director of Undergraduate Studies during their sophomore or junior years.
Philosophy Club & Phi Sigma Tau
More information forthcoming. Dr. Edward Erwin, Advisor.
Students considering majoring or minoring in philosophy should discuss their plans with Dr. Berit Brogaard, the departmental Director of Undergraduate Studies. Her office is in the Ashe Building, Room 712. Email: email@example.com.