Overview of the Major

The Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy is offered both online and on-campus.

Courses for the degree can be taken entirely online within two years. Students who take the major on-campus may need to take some classes online. Prospective online majors must apply for admission — check out the admissions requirements.

The Main Objectives of the Major

The UIS Philosophy Major strives to:

  • Provide students with basic knowledge in the main areas of philosophy (theory of knowledge, values, and history of philosophy)
  • Increase students’ awareness of ethical issues
  • Improve students’ critical thinking and analytical skills
  • Facilitate development of problem-solving experience in at least one of the main areas of philosophy
  • Place interested students in graduate degree programs

The Main Areas of Study

The subject of Philosophy is divided into three main areas.

  1. Core Analytic Philosophy. This area addresses such questions as: What sorts of entities should we believe in? What does it take to know something? What account should we give of mind, language and reality? And, what lessons does science have regarding these questions?
  2. History of Philosophy. This area studies past great works in philosophy, how they influenced each other, how they fit into their intellectual contexts, and how they inform current debates.
  3. Values. This area addresses questions of how we should live as human beings, how we should live together in societies, and what we should value.

Program Requirements

The Philosophy major has the following program requirements.

  1. Logic/Critical Thinking. (4 credit hours) Logic is the “language of philosophy.” The logic/critical thinking requirement is satisfied by either of the following courses, or by an approved transfer course.
    PHI 301, Critical Thinking
    PHI 401, Logic
  2. Area 1: Core Analytic. (8 credit hours) Students may choose from among the following courses.
    PHI 353, Person, Identity and Dignity
    PHI 470, Topics in Analytic Philosophy
    PHI 471, Philosophy of Science
    PHI 472, Introduction to Metaphysics and Epistemology
    PHI 473, Philosophy of Mind
    PHI 481, Philosophy of Language
    PHI 482, Metaphysics of Things
  3. Area 2: History of Philosophy. (8 credit hours) Students may choose from among the following courses.
    PHI 421, Ancient and Medieval Philosophy
    PHI 425, History of Modern Philosophy
    PHI 480, Readings in the History of Philosophy. (Note: This course is only offered occasionally.)
  4. Area 3: Values. (8 credit hours) Students may choose from among the following courses.
    PHI 242, Ethics, Love and the Goals of Life
    PHI 336, Contemporary American Political Philosophy
    PHI 341, Ethics
    PHI 432, Philosophy of Art
    PHI 434, Aesthetics
    PHI 441, Moral Theory
    PHI 447, Rationality and Moral Choice
    PHI 448, Moral Values in Political Philosophy
    PHI 460, Topics in Normative Philosophy
    PHI 485, Social Philosophy
  5. Ethics Requirement. Within the Values area, students must take either PHI 242 (Ethics, Love and the Goals of Life), PHI 341 (Ethics) or PHI 447 (Rationality and Moral Choice) or transfer equivalent.
  6. Specialization. (4 credit hours) Students must take one of the following courses.
    PHI 460, Topics in Normative Philosophy
    PHI 470, Topics in Analytic Philosophy
    PHI 480, Readings in the History of Philosophy
    PHI 481, Philosophy of Language
    PHI 482, Metaphysics of Things
    PHI 485, Social Philosophy
    NOTE: Each of these courses also belongs to one of the three main areas of philosophy. Thus, a student may use one of these courses to satisfy either an area requirement or the specialization requirement. However, students are not allowed to “double dip”: A course may be used toward an area requirement, or in satisfaction of the specialization requirement, but not both.
  7. Elective. (4 credit hours) Any philosophy course satisfies this requirement, as long as it is at least 4 credit hours. Alternatively, any combination of 4 credit hours in philosophy can be used to satisfy this requirement. Transfer credit may also be used. This area includes courses that do not fit anywhere else, such as:
    PHI 101, Introduction to Philosophy
    PHI 252, Science Fiction and Philosophy
    PHI 313, Animals and Human Civilization
    PHI 315, Comparative Philosophy of Religion
    PHI 416, Continental Philosophy
  8. Capstone. (4 hours) Students must take PHI 495, Senior Seminar in Philosophy. This is normally taken in the student’s final year.

TOTAL: 40 credit hours

Course Availability

Please note that most courses are not offered every semester, and many are not offered every year. There are sufficient offerings, however, for students to complete all program requirements in two years if they so desire. Please work with your academic advisor to plan your schedule.

University Requirements

To earn a Bachelors degree in Philosophy, students must also satisfy UIS’s university requirements. You can learn more about these requirements here, or contact your academic advisor.


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