Philosophy BA

Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy

The undergraduate major in philosophy requires 30 hours of philosophy coursework. Candidates for the B.A. degree may take any foreign language to meet the foreign language requirement. Students who double major with a B.A. in Philosophy and a B.S. degree in Biology, Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Mathematics, or Physics may waive the foreign language requirement. Students with particular interests may choose to structure their major around tracks offered by the department. A minimum of 18 hours, including all courses for the major at or above the 3000 level, must be taken in residence in the UMSL Department of Philosophy. Philosophy majors must complete all required courses (under Course Requirements) with a grade of “C-” or higher and maintain a 2.0 GPA for all their Philosophy coursework.

General Education Requirements

Majors must meet the university and college general education requirementsPHIL 1120: Asian Philosophy and PHIL 1125: Islamic Philosophy satisfy the college cultural diversity requirement. Majors may not count philosophy courses taken on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis toward the degree requirements.

Course Requirements

History of Philosophy
Select one of the following:3
Western Philosophy I: Antiquity to the Renaissance
Ancient Philosophy
Medieval Philosophy
And one of the following: 3
Western Philosophy II: Descartes to the Present
Early Modern Philosophy
19th and 20th Century Philosophy
Select one of the following: 3
Critical Thinking (MOTR PHIL 101)
Formal Logic
Normative Philosophy
Select one of the following:3
Present Moral Problems
Approaches to Ethics (MOTR PHIL 102)
Social and Political Philosophy
Classical Ethical Theory
Recent Ethical Theory
Junior Level Requirement
Select one of the following:3
Any 3000 level History of Philosophy course not used to satisfy the History of Philosophy Requirement above
Philosophy of Mind
Philosophy of Science
Metaphysics and Epistemology Requirement
Select one of the following:3
Theories of Knowledge
Senior Capstone Requirement3
Select any 4000 level Philosophy course, excluding PHIL 4458 and PHIL 4465, that has not be used to satisfy a requirement above
Elective Hours 9
Total Hours30

Departmental Honors

Majors with a 3.2 or higher grade point average in all courses may, with the department’s consent, earn departmental honors by:

  1. Taking , Introduction to Formal Logic;
  2. Completing at least 3 hours of PHIL 4450, Special Readings in Philosophy;
  3. Submitting an acceptable thesis before the end of the senior year.

Learning Outcomes

An ideal graduate with a BA in Philosophy will:

  • Recall a broad range of philosophers and philosophies in both western and non-western traditions and understand their interrelations and historical significance
  • Demonstrate an ability to read and engage critically with historical and contemporary philosophical texts
  • Demonstrate an ability to apply the distinctive methods of philosophy by reconstructing philosophical arguments and deliberating rationally over their merits
  • Understand fundamental moral theories and demonstrate an ability to apply them to ethical problems and practical pursuits
  • Demonstrate competence with formal reasoning tools such as syllogistic logic, propositional logic, quantificational logic, or probability theory and show an ability to apply those to tools in philosophical and everyday contexts
  • Apply philosophical concepts, analytical skills, and critical thinking to disciplines and issues outside of philosophy
  • Create and defend their own philosophical views, both by writing in a clear and persuasive style and in oral discussion with other students, faculty and members of the community
  • Apply research skills, including an ability to work with primary and secondary literature, in writing argumentative philosophical papers in a chosen area of advanced study

Sample Four Year Plan

First Year
INTDSC 10031PHIL 11113
ENGL 11003CORE – Communication Proficiency3
CORE - Math Proficiency3EXPLORE – Social Sciences3
PHIL 11103EXPLORE – Math and Sciences3
Foreign Language 10015Foreign Language 10025
 15 17
Second Year
PHIL 10303PHIL 11603
CORE – Information Literacy3EXPLORE – Social Sciences3
CORE – US History & Government3EXPLORE – Math and Sciences3
EXPLORE – Math & Sciences3Cultural Diversity Requirement3
Foreign Language 21013Elective or minor3
 15 15
Third Year
PHIL 33783PHIL 4440 or 44453
ENGL 31003EXPLORE – Humanities & Fine Arts3
EXPLORE – Social Sciences3PHIL Elective3
PHIL Elective3Elective or minor6
Elective or minor3 
 15 15
Fourth Year
PHIL Elective3PHIL Capstone3
Elective or minor12Elective or minor12
 15 15
Total Hours: 122