Academic Year: 2009 – 2010

The Philosophy Department at UIS strives to be a national leader in offering advanced undergraduate education online while serving the whole UIS student population, graduate and undergraduate. The curriculum focuses on the areas of core analytic philosophy (philosophy of mind, philosophy of science, and related areas) and values (ethics, aesthetics, and political philosophy) while providing a sound background in the history of philosophy.


The B.A. degree in Philosophy is offered online and on-campus. Courses for the degree can be taken entirely online within three years. Students who take the major on-campus may need to take both evening and day classes as well as some classes online. Due to the high demand, online enrollment is competitive. The admissions process to the online major takes quality and diversity into account.

The objectives of the Philosophy major include providing students with basic knowledge in the main areas of philosophy (theory of knowledge, values, and history of philosophy); increasing their awareness of ethical issues; improving their analytical skills; and assisting them in developing problem-solving experience in at least one of the main areas of philosophy. Consistent with these objectives, the minimum distribution requirements are as follows:

Prerequisites In order to make an informed choice about a Philosophy major, students must take at least two classes (no fewer than 6 hours) as prerequisites: the critical thinking or logic prerequisite (PHI 301) and the general prerequisite (any other class in philosophy). In some cases, students may be conditionally accepted into the major and fulfill the prerequisites within their first year in the program. For Capital Scholars Honors students, one of the courses in the humanities and social science sequence counts as the general prerequisite. Prerequisites do not count toward the 36 hours required for the major.

Matriculation module Students must take the matriculation module in order to gain general information both about philosophy and studying philosophy online. It also allows the department to conduct necessary assessment activities. This module must be completed before the last 16 semester hours of philosophy courses are taken.

Three main areas of study
Students must take a minimum of two classes in the following three areas: core analytical philosophy, history of philosophy, and values.
A. In order to gain a comprehensive outlook on the history of philosophy, students have to take one class in ancient and medieval philosophy (such as PHI 421 Ancient and Medieval Philosophy, 4 Hrs.) and one class in the history of modern philosophy (such as PHI 425 History of Modern Philosophy, 4 Hrs.) or department approved comprehensive equivalents of at least 7 credit hours.

B. In order to gain familiarity with value theory, students are required to take at least two classes (at least 4 hours) in the areas of ethics, aesthetics, or political philosophy. This includes a minimum of two hours devoted specifically to ethics, satisfied by PHI 440 Ethics or an equivalent approved by the department.

C. In order to gain analytical skills, students must take at least two classes (8 hours) in the area of core philosophy, such as philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, philosophy of science, analytical metaphysics, and logic.

Area of specialization
Currently, students may specialize in the area of core analytic philosophy or in the area of values. In addition to the eight hours required of all majors, students specializing in either core analytic philosophy (Area 1) or values (Area 3) must take one advanced class in the area of specialization and a senior seminar associated with the chosen area of specialization. Students should note that advanced courses have at least 4 hours of Area 1 or Area 3 courses as prerequisites.

Philosophy elective In order to gain a broad philosophical perspective, every student needs to take 4 hours of philosophy electives (an extra class in any area of philosophy, including topics not covered in the main major, such as continental, feminist, or Asian philosophy; American pragmatism; or philosophy of religion).

Major requirements
General (any class in philosophy or a Capital Scholars Honors Interdisciplinary Humanities
and Social Sciences course) 3 Hrs.
PHI 301 Critical Thinking (or equivalent course in critical thinking or logic) 4 Hrs.

Bachelor’s degree
Matriculation module 0 Hrs.
Area 1 (core) 8 Hrs.
Area 2 (history of philosophy) 8 Hrs.
Area 3 (values) 8 Hrs.
Philosophy elective (any PHI class) 4 Hrs.

Students may have 7 hours in any or all of areas 1, 2, 3, and 3 in the elective, with additional hours in another area.

Advanced class in specialization 4 Hrs.
PHI 495 Senior Seminar in Philosophy (in specialization) 4 Hrs.
General electives (4 hours must be outside philosophy) 12 Hrs.

Students should consult with advisors in the major for specific guidance regarding completion of general education requirements.

Admission to the online major
In addition to qualifying for admission to the university, applicants must meet the following criteria for acceptance into the online Philosophy major.

1. Priority consideration will be given to applicants with an overall grade-point average of 3.00 or better on a 4.00 scale, and those who have taken higher division courses from an accredited college or university. Note that in justified circumstances, students with lower GPAs may be accepted by the program.

2. Applicants must have taken two college-level courses in philosophy, at least one of them in the area of critical thinking or logic. Students may be conditionally accepted into the major and allowed to take the lower-division requirements concurrently with enrollment in the online Philosophy Department; students must complete prerequisite courses within the equivalent of a one-year time span.

Applicants who meet these formal qualifications will be in the strongest position to be accepted by the department. However, students wishing to be evaluated on characteristics and accomplishments beyond the grade-point average, or previous coursework in philosophy, should address the diverse ways they might contribute to the UIS Philosophy Department in their entrance essays and present reasons why they believe they would be successful as a philosophy major. Consideration will be given to students with backgrounds and strong abilities in philosophy as documented by writing samples, statements of purpose, and letters of recommendation.

Applicants must submit the following materials to be formally accepted into the Philosophy major:

1. A brief sample of the student’s writing, preferably on a philosophical topic.
2. A brief statement of purpose (300 to 500 words) presenting the student’s reasons for selecting the online philosophy major at UIS.
3. (Recommended) One to three reference letters from individuals who can attest to the student’s ability for successful academic study.

At its discretion, the Philosophy Department may also consider whatever additional documentation the applicant may provide.

While there are no firm application deadlines, students should apply by March 15 to assure full consideration for the following fall semester. The department also admits a small number of students for the spring and summer semesters. Students not admitted for the spring or summer will still be considered for fall admission. Students who are accepted for fall admission by May 15 must register by August 1, or forfeit their acceptance. A wait list of applicants may be used to ensure full enrollment; preference will be given to the strongest applicants.

International students
International students whose native language is not English must submit TOEFL scores. International students enrolled in online programs are not eligible for student visas (see

The writing sample, statement of purpose, the student’s GPA, prior course work, and (optional) letters of recommendation will assist the program faculty in making admissions decisions. Communications with the student (online, via telephone, or in person) may also be taken into account.

Admission to the on-campus program
Students need only meet the general requirements for admission to UIS to be eligible to enroll in the on-campus major in philosophy.


The minor in Philosophy is open to all undergraduate students at UIS, both online and on-campus. The minor consists of four classes (at least 15 hours), at least 8 hours of which must be upper-division classes taken in Philosophy at UIS, with at least three hours in each of the following areas:

* Critical thinking (or logic)
* Values (ethics, aesthetics, political philosophy)
* History of philosophy
* An elective (any class or independent study in philosophy)

Students who wish to minor in Philosophy must formally declare their minor and consult with a philosophy faculty member to ensure that they are meeting their individual needs and program requirements.


Graduate students can enroll in 400- and 500-level philosophy courses. While 500-level courses are open only to graduate students, in exceptional circumstances advanced undergraduate students may petition to be admitted. Graduate students enrolled in 400-level classes are required to complete additional assignments and should identify themselves to the instructor at the beginning of the course.

Through the Liberal and Integrative Studies Department (LNT), graduate students can pursue an individualized degree that includes philosophy as its major component. Philosophy faculty will assist these students in developing a learning proposal and establishing a degree committee. Consult the LNT section of this Guide for details.


Bachelor of Arts, Undergraduate Minor


John Barker, Peter (Piotr) Boltuc, Roxanne Kurtz Smith
Emeritus Faculty: Larry Shiner, Peter Wenz
Associated Faculty: Keith Miller
Adjunct Faculty: Tom Bigaj, Ewa Bogusz-Boltuc, Royce Jones, Natalie Vania, Terry Weldin-Frisch


Phone: 217/206-8354