Philosophy Major (B.A.)

Philosophy Major (B.A.)

Philosophy students in group discussion

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 their 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
  • Healthcare professional
  • Lawyer
  • Politician
  • Professor
  • Teacher
  • Technology progessional
  • 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

 

Connect with us


MM/DD/YYYY
  • Philosophy and Political Science Majors
    Hometown: Colebrook, Conn. What made you choose UNH? I attended a summer camp at UNH for several years during high school called the Future Leaders Institute. The camp was led by the amazing professors Nick Smith of philosophy and Scott Smith of classics and focused on the philosophic and classical...
    Philosophy and Political Science Majors
    Hometown: Colebrook, Conn. What made you choose UNH? I attended a summer camp at UNH for several years during high school called the Future Leaders Institute. The camp was led by the amazing professors Nick Smith of philosophy and Scott Smith of classics and focused on the philosophic and classical...
  • Philosophy Major | Ph.D. Candidate
    Why did you major in philosophy?
    Philosophy Major | Ph.D. Candidate
    Why did you major in philosophy?
  • Philosophy Major | Bioinformatics Scientist at NIH
    Why did you major in philosophy? I majored in philosophy because it was the only discipline where we could explicitly tackle certain meta-level questions that don’t get addressed elsewhere. For instance, what is science and how do we differentiate it from other disciplines? Why is quantum mechanics...
    Philosophy Major | Bioinformatics Scientist at NIH
    Why did you major in philosophy? I majored in philosophy because it was the only discipline where we could explicitly tackle certain meta-level questions that don’t get addressed elsewhere. For instance, what is science and how do we differentiate it from other disciplines? Why is quantum mechanics...
  • Philosophy Major | Quality Assurance Team Manager at Apple
    Why did you major in philosophy? I grew up in the Philosophy Department (quite literally — my father is Professor deVries)! Philosophy has always been part of my life, I learned at a young age how to argue and question, (with very solid logic) both to the benefit and chagrin of my Dad. However, I...
    Philosophy Major | Quality Assurance Team Manager at Apple
    Why did you major in philosophy? I grew up in the Philosophy Department (quite literally — my father is Professor deVries)! Philosophy has always been part of my life, I learned at a young age how to argue and question, (with very solid logic) both to the benefit and chagrin of my Dad. However, I...
  • Philosophy Major | Social Worker
    Why did you major in philosophy? As a first-generation undergrad at UNH, I had limited insight regarding my career path. I wanted to “help people” but didn’t particularly know who or how to do so. Choosing first semester freshman year classes was intimidating, and my strategy was fairly random. “...
    Philosophy Major | Social Worker
    Why did you major in philosophy? As a first-generation undergrad at UNH, I had limited insight regarding my career path. I wanted to “help people” but didn’t particularly know who or how to do so. Choosing first semester freshman year classes was intimidating, and my strategy was fairly random. “...

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.

Majors must take a minimum of ten (10) philosophy courses, for a total of 40 credits. A single course can satisfy multiple requirements for the major. The required minimum overall GPA in major coursework is 2.00. Candidates for a degree must satisfy additional University requirements for graduation, such as:

  1. University "Writing Intensive" Requirements,
  2. Liberal Arts Foreign Language Requirement (B.A. candidates only),
  3. minimum number of credits (128 credits for B.A. degree), and
  4. University Discovery Requirements.

Consult with your adviser early and often to plan the optimal path for fulfilling major and University requirements. 

Core Requirements20
PHIL 412
Beginning Logic
PHIL 500
Workshop
PHIL 530
Ethics
PHIL 570
Ancient Philosophy
PHIL 580
Modern Philosophy from Descartes to Kant
History of Philosophy Elective4
PHIL 520
Introduction to Eastern Philosophy
PHIL 525
Existentialism
PHIL #620
20th Century European Philosophy
an approved 700-level seminar
Electives 18
Select two (2) additional philosophy courses of the student's choice.
Discovery Capstone Requirement 8
Select two (2) 700-level seminars of the student's choice, at least one of these should be taken in the senior year
Total Credits40

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.

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 students may "double count" toward both the philosophy major and Discovery categories if philosophy is your second major. A double major with philosophy as the 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 PhilosophyPHIL 440 Just Business: The Ethics of Markets and Money, PHIL 440A Honors/Who Are You? Personal Identity and Humanity, PHIL 440B Honors/Who's Human Now?PHIL #444A Who Am I? Concepts of Self, PHIL 525 ExistentialismPHIL 531 Topics in Professional and Business Ethics, or PHIL 570 Ancient Philosophy.
  4. World Cultures (WC) Discovery Category could be satisfied by PHIL 440C Honors/The Copernican Lens: Finding a Place for Humanity or PHIL 520 Introduction to Eastern Philosophy.
  5. Environment, Technology, and Society (ETS) Discovery Category could be satisfied by PHIL 424 The Future of Humanity: 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.

Please note: All courses counting for the major must be completed with a grade of C- or better.
 

 

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