Philosophy Major B.A.

Philosophy students in group discussion
Philosophy Major B.A.

What is philosophy?

As participants in a conversation that extends back to the Ancient Greeks and the Vedic Scriptures, you will acquire the ability to think systematically and imaginatively about fundamental and enduring issues such as morality, justice, beauty, gender, race, nature, artificial intelligence, space, time, and the meaning of life and death.

Why study philosophy at UNH?

Our internationally renowned professors emphasize discussion, debate and writing in our courses, and wrestling with these big questions will prepare you exceptionally well for a wide variety of fulfilling careers. As a lively and nurturing community personally invested in the success of our high achieving students, we take pride in watching our graduates of the philosophy degree program go on the excel in top law schools, elite graduate programs and prestigious positions from Wall Street to Silicon Valley.

Potential careers

  • Business professional
  • Communications executive
  • Community service organizer
  • Ethicist
  • Lawyer
  • Politician
  • Professor
  • Teacher
  • Writer

Philosophy Department
Hamilton Smith Hall Room 250E
95 Main Street
University of New Hampshire
Durham, NH 03824

Phone (603) 862-2060
TTY Users: 7-1-1 or 800-735-2964 (Relay NH)

philosophy@unh.edu

 

  • Philosophy Major | Systems Engineer at Google
    Why did you major in philosophy? I had this crazy idea after high school that I wanted to be a professional rock climber. I never got close to good enough, but devoted a lot of time to training and weekend trips to Rumney. It was awesome and I don't at all regret my time in the mountains, but it...
    Philosophy Major | Systems Engineer at Google
    Why did you major in philosophy? I had this crazy idea after high school that I wanted to be a professional rock climber. I never got close to good enough, but devoted a lot of time to training and weekend trips to Rumney. It was awesome and I don't at all regret my time in the mountains, but it...
  • Philosophy Major | Securities Lawyer
    Why did you major in philosophy? Philosophy's appeal lay in both the topics it addressed, and the way it addressed them. It promised to help me understand big questions and ideas in a clear, consistent and methodical way. The idea of becoming a clear thinker was enormously attractive. What are you...
    Philosophy Major | Securities Lawyer
    Why did you major in philosophy? Philosophy's appeal lay in both the topics it addressed, and the way it addressed them. It promised to help me understand big questions and ideas in a clear, consistent and methodical way. The idea of becoming a clear thinker was enormously attractive. What are you...
  • Philosophy Major | Registered Nurse
    Why did you major in philosophy?  As a second-semester freshman, I was seeking a course to satisfy my general education requirement in the arts, and decided to take Philosophy and the Arts. In this course, I was captivated by our conversations surrounding the meaning of beauty, and was challenged...
    Philosophy Major | Registered Nurse
    Why did you major in philosophy?  As a second-semester freshman, I was seeking a course to satisfy my general education requirement in the arts, and decided to take Philosophy and the Arts. In this course, I was captivated by our conversations surrounding the meaning of beauty, and was challenged...
  • Philosophy Major | Hubspot
    Read more about how Guillaume Delloue is using his Philosophy major.
    Philosophy Major | Hubspot
    Read more about how Guillaume Delloue is using his Philosophy major.
  • Philosophy Major | NYC Attorney
    Why did you major in philosophy? I chose philosophy because I thought it would provide the best training for law school.  And I was hooked by Professor deVries’ treatment of the ancients.  Interesting stuff you did as a UNH undergrad? Thesis, study abroad, etc. I participated in The Washington...
    Philosophy Major | NYC Attorney
    Why did you major in philosophy? I chose philosophy because I thought it would provide the best training for law school.  And I was hooked by Professor deVries’ treatment of the ancients.  Interesting stuff you did as a UNH undergrad? Thesis, study abroad, etc. I participated in The Washington...

Curriculum & Requirements

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 will prepare you exceptionally well for a variety of fulfilling careers. 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 and beyond that seek hard workers who can think rigorously and communicate clearly.

Ethics and Social Responsibility Option

While completing the 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.

Graduate Preparatory Emphasis

This emphasis is strongly recommended for students who plan to do graduate work in philosophy. Beyond the 10 program courses, such students should select, with their advisers' approval, two additional philosophy courses above the 400 level, for a total of 12 courses.

Distinction on Senior Thesis

Distinction on Senior Thesis is granted by a unanimous determination of the student's committee that the thesis exceeds A-level work and is worthy of special recognition.

Honors in Philosophy

To graduate "With Honors" in Philosophy, students will be expected to pursue a philosophy curriculum that demands greater depth and rigor than what is required by the major; they will be expected to complete the curriculum at a consistently high level of achievement; they will be expected to have an overall GPA of 3.5 or above; they will engage in independent study and research (under the supervision of a faculty member) beyond the requirements of their coursework; and they will be expected to present and defend a culminating project that synthesizes aspects of their study. Students can demonstrate these expectations in either of two ways: a thesis option or a portfolio option. Consult the Department of Philosophy website for more details.

Please note that a single course can satisfy multiple requirements for the major.

Majors must take a total of 10 philosophy courses.

Core Requirements
PHIL 412Beginning Logic4
PHIL 500Workshop4
PHIL 530Ethics4
PHIL 570Ancient Philosophy4
PHIL 580Modern Philosophy from Descartes to Kant4
Select one of the following additional courses in the history of philosophy:4
Existentialism
Topics in History of Philosophy
20th Century European Philosophy
An approved seminar
Discovery Capstone Requirement 8
Select two 700-level seminars of the student's choice, at least one of these should be taken in the senior year 1
Electives8
Any two additional philosophy courses
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.

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.

Although not required, students are strongly encouraged to consider the possibility of doing honors-in-major (and thus writing a thesis or an honors portfolio), and/or presenting research at the Undergraduate Research Conference, and/or fulfilling an undergraduate research grant in their senior year. This is especially encouraged for students considering graduate school in philosophy.

The required minimum overall GPA in major coursework is 2.0.

Candidates for a degree must satisfy all of the University Discovery Program requirements in addition to satisfying the requirements of each individual major program. Bachelor of arts candidates must also satisfy the foreign language proficiency requirement.

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 you can "double count" toward both the philosophy major and Discovery categories if philosophy is your second major. A double major with philosophy as your 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 Philosophy, PHIL 410 Happiness, Well-Being , and a Good Life, PHIL 430 Ethics and Society, PHIL 436 Social and Political Philosophy, PHIL 437 Social and Political Philosophy, PHIL 440 Just Business: The Ethics of Markets and Money, PHIL 440A Honors/Who Are You? Personal Identity and Humanity, PHIL 440B Honors/Humanism and Dehumanization, PHIL 444A Who Am I? Concepts of Self, PHIL 525 Existentialism, or PHIL 570 Ancient Philosophy.
  4. World Cultures (WC) Discovery Category could be satisfied by PHIL 520 Introduction to Eastern Philosophy.
  5. Environment, Technology, and Society (ETS) Discovery Category could be satisfied by PHIL 424 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.

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