College of Humanities
Dean: Paul Sherwin

Department of Philosophy
HUM 388
Chair: Anita Silvers


Professors—Royse, Silvers, van Fraassen

Associate Professors— Azadpur, Hood, Wilcox

Assistant Professors—Landy, Montemayor, Peschard, Sowaal, Sveinsdottir, Tiwald

Lecturers—Bagakis, Balboa, Dupen, Kay, Mutti, Nutting, Radcliff, Robertson, Silva, Sudduth


B.A. in Philosophy
B.A. in Philosophy and Religion
Minor in Philosophy
Minor in Philosophy and Religion
M.A. in Philosophy
Certificate in Teaching Critical Thinking

Program Scope

Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy. Philosophy is traditionally defined as the love of wisdom, the ability to think well about the foundations of human action, the nature of reality, and the purposes and priorities of life. The department offers the opportunity for a systematic study of the philosophies of past and present, of East and West, a study that deepens and broadens one's outlook on the world and on human affairs. This study provides a more secure basis on which to develop one's own philosophy and helps people make their ideas clear and understandable to others.

The enterprise of philosophy requires sharpening the skills necessary for clarifying premises, uncovering presuppositions (one's own and those of others), weighing the pros and cons of conflicting values, and analyzing concepts and issues. Courses in philosophy are frequently designed to help develop or increase these skills, a task that is sometimes more manageable if a restriction of attention is placed on a limited area of thought. Many of the courses concentrate on specific issues. Others are designed to provide an analytic and scholarly overview of an entire area or historical period. The department welcomes students from other majors or programs who wish to examine their own personal philosophy, investigate the philosophies of others, or sharpen their skills as independent thinkers.

Many of the courses offered are not only appropriate as part of a philosophy major but are of special interest to students in other fields. These courses are designed to help students understand the theoretical frameworks, methodological presuppositions, and more abstract dimensions of major areas of knowledge, from the arts to the sciences. Students interested in either the philosophical understanding of a field, or in philosophy for a personal reason should feel free to consult the department chairperson or an adviser on appropriate courses.

Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Religion. The philosophy and religion program has the same general aims as those of the philosophy program given above; in addition, the program is designed to assist students in the exploration of the origin, nature, and structure of the quest for human meaning. This entails the study of the thought and practice of diverse groups, communities, and individuals throughout the ages. Courses emphasize the central importance of reading and analyzing texts, integrating diverse areas of knowledge and experience into wider visions of human community, and developing skills for disciplined self-reflection and contemplation. Majors will gain basic knowledge about diverse religious traditions and develop concentrated knowledge about a chosen special area of interest. The goal of this program is to provide students with the skills and discipline required for a rigorous examination of the issues, experiences, and concerns which arise from religious quests for certainty, community, social justice, and self-understanding.

Graduate Program The Master of Arts in Philosophy is designed for students wishing to extend their knowledge of, and competence in, philosophy; for students seeking teaching credentials where the master's degree is required; and for students who are planning to do further study elsewhere. The program is wide ranging and flexible, enabling students to concentrate on a number of different areas within philosophy.

A Certificate in Teaching Critical Thinking is available through the Department of Philosophy. The certificate program should be useful to anyone interested in teaching critical thinking courses or incorporating a critical thinking or informal reasoning emphasis in other kinds of courses in elementary, secondary, or post-secondary institutions. The certificate program is open to any post-baccalaureate student. Graduate students in philosophy are invited to complete the program as an adjunct to the M.A. degree. It should be noted that a graduate certificate is not the equivalent of a teaching credential. The certificate attests only to the successful completion of this 16 unit program.

Career Outlook

A principal reason for the study of philosophy and/or religion is the enrichment of one's own life and understanding. However, the study of philosophy is an excellent preparation for a variety of post-baccalaureate professional studies. These range from law and policy planning through the helping professions to computer science. Philosophy and religion offers preparation for the helping professions, the ministry, and advanced studies in theology. In addition, the broader outlook and the ability to think critically about larger issues that are fostered by the systematic study of philosophy and religion are often highly valued by commercial firms in their management level personnel. The skills that are achieved by minoring in philosophy or philosophy and religion are an excellent complement to most university major programs.


Undergraduate advisers are authorized by the department to designate units obtained in other departments as satisfying unit requirements in philosophy for application to both the philosophy and the philosophy and religion programs. Neither students nor advisers should view this as an escape clause which enables a student who has not quite satisfied the major requirements in philosophy to do so. Units outside the department are to be designated for use in the major on the basis of their contribution to the student's major program. In order to avoid confusion on this point, students should obtain written approval from an adviser before obtaining non-department units to be utilized in the major.

PHIL 110, Critical Thinking, or its equivalent, is required of all students as a prerequisite to the B.A. in Philosophy; students who have not met this requirement may begin the program but must satisfy the requirement at the earliest opportunity. Equivalencies must be approved by a departmental adviser.

The Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy requires a minimum 39 unit major, with at least 30 of these units being upper division.

The program includes 9 units of elective courses in philosophy, permitting individualized emphases in specific areas. Students majoring or minoring in philosophy are urged to lay out a tentative program of courses with their advisers early in their tenure at the university. Depending upon the student's area of specialization, up to 6 units of courses outside the Department of Philosophy may be approved by a department adviser as elective units for the B.A.

Courses are 3 units unless otherwise indicated. On-line course descriptions are available.

The following courses are required of all majors in philosophy.

Program Requirements Units
Foundation 6
PHIL 205 Formal Logic I  
PHIL 320 GW Philosophical Analysis*
History 6
PHIL 303 Modern Philosophy  
Plus one additional course from the following list:
  PHIL 301   Ancient Philosophy
  PHIL 302   Medieval Philosophy
  PHIL 516   Islamic Philosophy
Normative Issues 9
PHIL 450 Ethics  
Plus two additional courses from the following list:
  PHIL 330   Political Philosophy
  PHIL 335   Law and Society
  PHIL 380   Philosophy of Law
  PHIL 382   Women and Philosophy: Selected Topics
  PHIL 383   Ethics in Medicine
  PHIL 395   Ethical Issues: Science and Technology
  PHIL 435   Human Rights in Global Perspectives
  PHIL 436   Islamic Political Philosophy
  PHIL 440   Ethics at Work
  PHIL 451   Feminist Moral Issues
  PHIL 460   Philosophy of Art
  PHIL 482   Philosophy of Feminism
Core Issues of the Discipline 9
PHIL 321 Being and Knowing  
Plus two additional courses from the following list:
  PHIL 350   Philosophy of Science: The Natural Sciences
  PHIL 605   Metaphysics
  PHIL 610   Theory of Knowledge
  PHIL 611   Philosophy of Perception
  PHIL 620   Philosophy of Mind
  PHIL 630   Philosophy of Language
Elective units in philosophy 9
Total 39-43

* PHIL 320 GW satisfies the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR). Students who have satisfied GWAR in a discipline other than philosophy will still be required to complete PHIL 320 GW as a requirement of the major.

Emphasis in Philosophy and Law

Required courses Units
PHIL 205 Formal Logic I  
PHIL 303 Modern Philosophy
PHIL 320 GW Philosophical Analysis*
PHIL 321 Being and Knowing
PHIL 450 Ethics
  Total required courses 15
Disjunctive History Requirement: 3
PHIL 301
PHIL 302
PHIL 516
Ancient Philosophy
Medieval Philosophy
Islamic Philosophy
Core Philosophy Areas Requirement: 6
PHIL 610 Theory of Knowledge  
PHIL 620 Philosophy of the Mind
Normative Issues Requirement: 6
PHIL 330 Political Philosophy  
PHIL 380 Philosophy of Law
PHIL 335 Law and Society  
PHIL 375 Peace Law and Human Rights in the U.S.
PHIL 383 Ethics in Medicine
PHIL 435 Human Rights in Global Perspective
PHIL 436 Islamic Political Philosophy
PHIL 451 Feminsit Moral Issues
PHIL 455 Sex and the Law
PHIL 470 Environmental Ethics
Units selected from the following or on advisement: 3-4
AFRS 375 Law and the Black Community  
AIS 205 American Indians and U.S. Laws
COMM 461 Issues in Free Speech (4)
C J 501 Criminal Law
I R 330 World Law (4)
LABR 251 Know Your Work Rights
PLSI 552 Individual Rights and the Constitution (4)
PLSI 553 Legal Issues (4)
PLSI 561 Jurisprudence (4)
SOC 459 Criminal Law and Social Process (4)
SOC 457 Sociology of Law (4)
USP 513 Politics, Law, and the Urban Environment (4)
WGS 534/S S 345 Gender and the Law
   Emphasis Total 42-43

* PHIL 320 GW satisfies the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR). Students who have satisfied GWAR in a discipline other than philosophy will still be required to complete PHIL 320 GW as a requirement of the major.


The B.A. in Philosophy and Religion requires a minimum of 39 units of which at least 30 must be upper division units.

Program Units
Foundation 9
PHIL 320 GW Philosophical Analysis*  
PHIL 450 Ethics
PHIL 525/
RELS 300
The Nature of Religious Experience
Comparative Thought 9
PHIL 502 World Religions  
and two courses from the following list:
  PHIL 436   Islamic Political Philosophy
  any 500 level Philosophy course
History 9
PHIL 303 Modern Philosophy  
and two courses from the following list:
  PHIL 301   Ancient Philosophy
  PHIL 302   Medieval Philosophy
  PHIL 504   History of Christian Thought
  PHIL 516   Islamic Philosophy
Philosophical Concepts 6
PHIL 500 Philosophy of Religion  
and one course from the following list:
  PHIL 605   Metaphysics
  PHIL 610   Theory of Knowledge
Elective units from related fields on advisement 6
Total 39

* PHIL 320 GW satisfies the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR). Students who have satisfied GWAR in a discipline other than philosophy will still be required to complete PHIL 320 GW as a requirement of the major.


Each student minoring in philosophy must take at least 21 units in philosophy, at least fifteen (15) of these being upper division units.


Program Units
Units in philosophy and religion (all courses in the 500's) 12
Units in philosophy
Upper division 6
Lower division 3
Total 21


Admission to Program

To enter this program with classified graduate status, students should have completed the following five undergraduate courses (or their equivalents): PHIL 205, (Formal Logic I); PHIL 301 (Ancient Philosophy); PHIL 303 (Modern Philosophy); one upper division course in ethics; one course in a core area of metaphysics and epistemology: PHIL 321 (Being and Knowing), PHIL 350 (Philosophy of Science), PHIL 605 (Metaphysics), PHIL 610 (Theory of Knowledge), PHIL 611 (Philosophy of Perception), PHIL 620 (Philosophy of Mind), PHIL 630 (Philosophy of Language). Those who have not completed these prerequisites may begin the program with the approval of the Graduate Coordinator in philosophy, but they will be required to make up any deficiencies. A GPA of at least 3.0 is expected for both (1) the last 60 undergraduate units and (2) all philosophy courses. An applicant who does not meet this expectation but shows promise in other respects may be given special consideration for admission.

Applicants must submit a Philosophy Department application, obtained from and returned to the department office, as well as the general university application form.

Written English Proficiency Requirement

Level One: Pre-admission writing sample Level Two: Satisfactory completion of examination in PHIL 898, Master's Thesis (and Oral Exam).

Course Requirments: Students must take three required courses: PHIL 715, Seminar in Philosophical Writing; PHIL 896, Directed Reading in Fundamental Philosophical Texts (the MA qualifying exam); PHIL 898, Masterís Thesis (and Oral Exam). PHIL 715 should be taken during the first year (preferably during the first semester of graduate coursework); PHIL 896 should be taken during the second or third semester of graduate coursework; PHIL 898 should be taken during the final semester of coursework. Four graduate seminars in philosophy, and 12 units of graduate or upper division coursework approved by the Graduate Coordinator, are also required.

Advancement to Candidacy

Besides meeting all requirements, applicants must in addition have completed with grades of B or better two graduate seminars in philosophy. An Advancement to Candidacy should be filed with the Graduate Division when approximately 50 percent of the required course work is completed.

All upper division courses offered by Philosophy may be considered for the master's degree, upon approval of the Graduate Coordinator.

Students should expect to be disqualified from the MA program if they are on administrative/academic probation for more than one semester during their time as a graduate student.

Courses are 3 units unless otherwise indicated. On-line course descriptions are available.

Program Units
PHIL 715 Seminar in Philosophical Writing 3
Graduate seminars in philosophy excluding PHIL 777 or PHIL 715 12
Upper division/graduate units in philosophy or in a related field with approval of Graduate Coordinator 12
PHIL 896 Directed Reading1 3
PHIL 898 Master's Thesis 3
Minimum total 33
and Oral Examination in Defense of Thesis (a failed examination may be repeated once)


Admission to the Program

Before being considered for acceptance to this certificate program, the student must first be eligible in accordance with all university requirements as outlined in the Certificate Programs section. This same section also includes university program guidelines and procedures to be followed in filing for the award of the certificate when it is completed.

In addition to the requirements specified in this Bulletin for admission to graduate study or graduate certificate programs, applicants must have completed:

Students who have not completed these courses may be admitted conditionally. Further information about the program and about equivalent courses may be secured from the department office.

Written English Proficiency Requirement

This university requirement is met by examination in PHIL 777, Seminar in Teaching Critical Thinking.

On-line course descriptions are available.

Program Units
PHIL 717 Projects in Teaching Philosophy2 3
PHIL 777 Seminar in Teaching Critical Thinking 3
ENG 419 Advanced Composition for Teachers 3
One of the following: 3
    PHIL 810 Seminar in Theory of Knowledge  
    PHIL 830 Seminar in Philosophy of Language
    PHIL 850 Seminar in the Philosophy of Science
Units in Applied Philosophy, on advisement 3
PHIL 899 Special Study 1
Total for certificate 16

NOTE: The unit in Special Study is to be taken in conjunction with the course chosen to fulfill the Applied Philosophy requirement; the unit is for the purpose of developing classroom materials on that subject to be used in teaching critical thinking. The Applied Philosophy requirement may be met by PHIL 330, 335, 340, 375, 380, 382, 383, 395, 435, 440, 445, 455, 460, or 482. For other courses, consult a program coordinator.


  1. PHIL 896 is a mandatory CR/NC course. It may be repeated once if NC is earned the first time. Upon admission to the graduate program, students must consult with the Graduate Coordinator in regard to this course. It must be completed with a CR before the student may officially begin work on the master's thesis.
  2. Limited to projects in teaching critical thinking.

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