Q: What courses absolutely must be taken during the first year (or the first semester)?
The Philosophy major does not require any specific sequence of courses in the first year. However, there are several good "first courses" for potential majors. Each Fall, the department offers several First-Year Seminars on a wide range of specialized topics. In addition, Phil 102, "Introduction to Philosophy" (offered in the second semester) and Phil 141, "History of Ancient Philosophy" are both good first courses for the major. Some majors begin with Analytic Reasoning or Personal Values, but these are general education courses with less specific relevance to the major program. Click here to see Philosophy course availability.
Q: What courses should first year students steer clear of?
Some 100 courses (like Medical Ethics) exclude first year students. Any 200 level course will assume some familiarity with Philosophy.
Q: If key intro courses are filled, are there good alternatives?
If you are interested in a philosophy course that is full, contact the instructor. Occasionally, instructors are willing to submit a "registration override" that will allow a student to enroll over the cap. Students should also watch the Registrar's listing of courses carefully to see if spaces become available. Some popular courses are offered second semester as well. Check with the second semester instructor to express your interest. In some cases, this can help you gain a placement for the second semester.
Q: Does your department recommend that first year students explore the PLS during their first year? Or should first year students focus more on fulfilling prerequisites for the major?
We recommend that students interested in philosophy work on PLS courses as soon as possible. Students with a broad basic education in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities gain more benefit from the major courses they take later.
Q: How and when does your department assign advisors for declared majors?
Students select their own major advisor by asking a faculty member to fill that role. Faculty Advisors are usually selected when students declare their majors in the spring semester of sophomore year.
Q: What courses in related departments do your majors usually take?
There is a wide range of courses that philosophy majors can take. These choices depend on the student's specific interests and issues.
Q: Where should students or faculty go for more information?