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Major/Minor Requirements


Requirements for the Major in Philosophy

The Philosophy Department approved revised major requirements in fall 2016. Beginning in January 2017, students are encouraged to declare and complete the new major. Students who previously declared the old major may continue under those requirements, though they may switch to the new major if they wish. More generally, students who matriculated at Colorado College in fall 2016 or earlier have the option to complete either the old or new major; students matriculating in spring 2017 or later must complete the new major.

New Philosophy Major Checklist (beginning Jan. 2017)
Philosophy Major Checklist (2013-2016)
Senior Essay (PH 475) Description

New Philosophy Major Requirements (Jan. 2017):

The philosophy major requires a minimum of 12 units, balancing work in major philosophical traditions, contemporary concerns, and diverse perspectives. Majors with emphases allow students to gain advanced expertise in one of the subfields or areas of interest in philosophy. The philosophy department recommends that students declare the major by the end of their sophomore year.

1. History of Philosophy (4 units) These courses investigate central issues and concerns emerging in important historical periods and locales, tracing how those concerns change over time. Choose one of these three options:

OPTION 1

  • PH101: Greek Philosophy or PH244: History of Social and Political Philosophy: Classical Visions
  • PH201: History of Modern Philosophy (2 units)
  • one additional unit in the history of philosophy.

 OPTION 2

  • PH210: Ancient through Early Modern Western Philosophy (2 units)
  • 2 additional units in the history of philosophy.

OPTION 3

  • PH244: History of Social and Political Philosophy: Classical Visions
  • PH245: History of Social and Political Philosophy: Modern Debates
  • Two additional units in the history of philosophy.

Courses in the history of philosophy include: PH101, PH116, PH201, PH204, PH210, PH244, PH245, PH260, PH281, PH283, PH301, and PH302. Topics courses (PH203, PH303) and text seminars (PH314) will also count as history of philosophy courses when appropriate.

2. Central Areas and Problems in Philosophy (3 units) Courses in central areas and problems familiarize students with key subfields of philosophy, and with the questions, approaches, and theoretical perspectives that define those subfields. 

This requirement is fulfilled when a student has taken at least one course listed in each of the three categories below:

  • Logic and Argument (1 unit): PH122: Philosophical Argument and Writing or PH226: Formal Logic.
  • Metaphysics and Epistemology (1 unit): PH227: Epistemology, PH228: Philosophy of Science, PH229: Philosophy of Language, PH261: Philosophy of Mind, or PH321: Metaphysics.
  • Value Theory (1 unit): PH140: Ethics, PH243: Philosophy & Politics of Identity, PH247: Aesthetics, or PH341: Contemporary Political Philosophy.

3. Diversity in Philosophy (2 units) Diverse perspectives in philosophy weave through the curriculum; however, all students are required to take two courses with an explicit focus on diverse traditions in philosophy, which represent critical dimensions of philosophical thought, including ones that may call both traditional canons and aspects of contemporary academic philosophy into question.

This requirement is fulfilled when a student has taken at least two courses from this list: PH243: Philosophy & Politics of Identity, PH280: Philosophy East and West, PH281: Indian Philosophy, PH282: Africana Philosophy, PH283: Latin American Philosophy, PH284: Feminist Philosophies, PH284: Philosophy and Race. These courses may fulfill more than one requirement. For example, PH281 may be used as both a history unit and as a diversity unit, and PH243 may be used as both a value theory unit and as a diversity unit.

4. Capstone in Philosophy (3 units) These courses provide further depth and a capstone experience in the major. All three of the following courses are required: PH452: Junior Seminar, PH475: Senior Essay, and PH476: Senior Seminar.

5. Electives: Philosophy majors must successfully complete at least 12 units in philosophy. Students who fulfill all other requirements with fewer than 12 units may take any additional philosophy classes of their choosing in order to complete the major.

6. Advanced Study: At least one course other than the Capstone in Philosophy requirements must be at the 300 level.

Optional Emphasis in Philosophy: Students may complete the philosophy major with a special emphasis in one of the following six philosophical areas.

  • History of Philosophy
  • Comparative Philosophy
  • Ethics and Social Justice
  • Philosophical Psychology
  • Philosophy, Science, and Technology
  • Metaphysics and Epistemology

 To obtain the designation of an emphasis, a student must take an additional two units of philosophy in the area chosen (for a total of 14 units in philosophy, rather than 12) and also complete the senior essay in that area. An emphasis must be formally declared before the end of the student’s junior year. A coherent and appropriate set of courses in the area of emphasis will be planned in consultation with the student’s advisor and subject to departmental approval.

Philosophy Emphases Course List


2013-2016 (Old) Major Requirements:

Students majoring in philosophy must satisfactorily complete thirteen units in philosophy:

Five units in the history of philosophy:

Greek Philosophy (PH101) or Greek Language and Philosophy (PH116)

History of Modern Philosophy (PH201) [2 units]

20th Century Analytic Philosophy (PH301)

20th Century Continental Philosophy (PH302)

One unit of Ethics (PH140).

Four other units comprised of one course in each of the following four areas. One of these area courses must be at the 300 level.

Knowledge and Reality: PH122, PH204, PH226, PH227, PH228, PH229, or PH321.

Value Theory: PH141, PH244, PH245, PH246, PH247, PH249, PH340, PH341, or PH342.

Philosophical Psychology: PH260, PH261, PH262, PH360, or PH361.

Comparative Philosophy: PH243, PH280, PH282, PH283, PH284, or PH285.

The three remaining units comprise the capstone experience in the major:

Junior Seminar (PH452)

Senior Essay (PH475)

Senior Seminar (PH476).

Note: the Senior Colloquium course (PH456) is an optional, year-long extended format course held in conjunction with our departmental colloquium speaker series. It does not fulfill any specific departmental requirements, but it carries a full unit of academic course credit. Note also: independent reading courses cannot substitute for any of the above requirements without written permission from the department.


Requirements for the Minor in Philosophy

New Minor Requirements (as of January 2017): Students minoring in philosophy must satisfactorily complete six units in philosophy, including PH201 (2 units), or PH210 (2 units), or both PH244 and PH245; and also including at least one unit of advanced work at the 300- or 400- level.

Old Minor Requirements (2013-2016): Students minoring in philosophy must satisfactorily complete six units in philosophy, including History of Modern Philosophy (PH201) [2 units] and at least two units of advanced work at the 300- or 400-level.


Requirements for the Minor in Social and Political Philosophy

Students minoring in social and political philosophy must satisfactorily complete six units in philosophy, distributed in the following way:

Two units in the history of social and political philosophy:

History of Social and Political Philosophy: Classical Visions (PH244)

History of Social and Political Philosophy: Modern Debates (PH245)

Note: Greek Philosophy (PH101) or approved sections of Freedom & Authority (GS101) may substitute for PH244

Two units of advanced work in social and political philosophy from among the following:

Contemporary Political Philosophy (PH341)

Critical Theory (PH342)

Approved advanced topics courses focussing on social and political philosophy (PH303)

Approved text seminars focussing on social and political philosophy (PH342)

Two additional units of in social and political philosophy, ethics, or comparative philosophy from among the following:

Ethics (PH140)

Approved topics courses focussed on social and political philosophy (PH203)

Philosophy and Politics of Identity (PH243)

Environmental Ethics (PH246)

Existential Philosophy (PH260)

Africana Philosophy (PH282)

Latin American Philosophy (PH283)

Feminist Philosophies (PH284)

Philosophy and Race (PH285)

Ethics and Contemporary Life (PH340)