Philosophy BA

The undergraduate major in philosophy requires 30 hours of philosophy coursework. A minimum of 18 hours in Philosophy must be taken from the UMSL Department of Philosophy. Courses above the 3000-level taken elsewhere do not count toward the major. 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 requirements.  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.

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 Philosophy course not used to satisfy a requirement above, excluding PHIL 3320
Metaphysics and Epistemology Requirement
Select one of the following:3
Knowledge and Reality
Theories of Knowledge
Senior Capstone Requirement3
Select any 4000 level Philosophy course, excluding PHIL 4458 and PHIL 4465, that has not been 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

Upon completion of the program, graduates will be able to:

  • 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
PHIL 11103Foreign Language 10025
ENGL 11003CORE – Communication Proficiency3
CORE - Mathematics Proficiency3EXPLORE – Social Sciences3
Foreign Language 10015EXPLORE – Mathematics and Life/Natural Sciences3
 15 17
Second Year
PHIL 10303PHIL 11603
Foreign Language 21013EXPLORE – Social Sciences3
CORE – Information Literacy3EXPLORE – Math and Like/Natural Sciences3
CORE – US History and Government3Cultural Diversity Requirement3
EXPLORE – Mathematics & Natural/Like Sciences3Elective or minor3
 15 15
Third Year
PHIL 3378 or 33803PHIL 4440 or 44453
PHIL XXXX Philosophy Elective3PHIL XXXX Philosophy Elective3
ENGL 31003Elective or minor3
EXPLORE – Social Sciences3Elective or minor3
Elective or minor3Elective or minor3
 15 15
Fourth Year
PHIL XXXX Philosophy Elective3PHIL XXXX: Philosophy Capstone3
Elective or minor3Elective or minor3
Elective or minor3Elective or minor3
Elective or minor3Elective or minor3
Elective or minor3Elective or minor1
 15 13
Total Hours: 120