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UIS to offer undergraduate degree in philosophy

July 27, 2004

SPRINGFIELD - Beginning in the 2004 fall semester, students at the University of Illinois at Springfield will be able to enroll in a program leading to the bachelor of arts degree in Philosophy. UIS received approval for the new program from the U of I Board of Trustees in May and final approval from the Illinois Board of Higher Education in July. The program is housed within UIS’ College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

The new degree, to be offered completely online as well as through a mix of online and traditional classroom format, is an extension of UIS’ minor in Philosophy, which has been in existence since 1989. UIS will be one of the first universities in the country to offer a philosophy major completely online.

The program was added in response to the growing number of students who expressed interest in such a degree and anticipates continued growth in this interest from students in UIS’ Capital Scholars program, which includes an introduction to the philosophical areas of epistemology (the nature and origin of knowledge) and ethics.

Materials submitted in support of the request noted that the campus has included philosophy faculty members for more than 30 years and has offered advanced service courses to majors in other fields such as management, legal studies, and visual arts.

Piotr Boltuc, associate professor of Philosophy and administrator of the new program, observed, “By providing a mix of online and on-campus classes we will be able to provide a vibrant major. While UIS will be able to provide an even more comprehensive liberal arts education to lower-division students, we expect to focus primarily on non-traditional learners, many of whom hold steady jobs and try to follow their intellectual dreams while getting a solid bachelor’s degree.

“That Philosophy is the answer to those dreams is proved by the many inquiries we have received, especially from members of the military, from working mothers, and from many place-bound students,” Boltuc said.

The bachelor’s degree in Philosophy will require 36 credit hours of course work in the major, consisting of eight hours (two courses) in each of three areas – core philosophy (epistemology, logic, or philosophy of science), history of philosophy, and value theory (ethics, aesthetics, or political philosophy) – as well as an additional, more advanced course in either core analytic philosophy or value theory, a philosophy elective, and a capstone seminar.

Said Boltuc, “We expect classes, especially the online ones, to fill up fast.  And since we are one of the few philosophy majors offered online, and the only BA in philosophy offered in Springfield, we expect admission to the program to become competitive. However, we will always focus on student motivation and needs, as well as on the diversity of our student population, and not solely on grades.”

Philosophy is the first new bachelor’s degree at UIS since the Liberal Studies program was added in 1995. With the addition of the new program, UIS offers 21 bachelor’s degree programs, along with 19 master’s degree programs and one doctoral program.

For more information, contact Boltuc at (217) 206-7422.
    The University of Illinois at Springfield, one of three U of I campuses, is a small, public liberal arts university that offers 40 degree programs – 20 bachelor’s, 19 master’s, and the Doctorate of Public Administration. UIS has a special mission in public affairs and service and is known for extraordinary internships, a wireless campus, extensive online offerings, and a commitment to teaching.
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