The Philosophy major aims to provide students with a grounding in basic skills and background in philosophy (including logic, ethics, and the history of philosophy), while leaving leeway for students to pursue themes or periods of particular interest to them. The major requires 13 courses, four of which satisfy the core requirements, and nine of which are electives.
The four core requirements (along with the courses that fulfill them) are as follows:
- Logic: PHIL 150 or PHIL 250
- Ethics: PHIL 260 or PHIL 261
- History of Philosophy: PHIL 210-1 (Ancient Philosophy)
- History of Philosophy: PHIL 210-3 (Early Modern Philosophy)
Of the remaining nine elective courses, at least six must be at the 300 level. These electives may not include PHIL 109, 270, 373, or 398. One course offered by another department may be counted as an elective for the major, provided that it has substantial philosophical content (as determined by the Director of Undergraduate Studies).
The department strongly recommends that students complete required courses (above) as early as possible.
How to Declare a Major in Philosophy
For general aspects of declaring a major in the College, please refer to the information provided by the Office of Undergraduate Studies and Advising.
If you would like to declare your major in philosophy, please see Betty Chau Nguyen in the department of philosophy and get the necessary form. She will also assign you to one of our undergraduate advisors. The advisor will be able to provide more information, and try to answer most of your open questions, and then sign the form. Once you have the form signed, please bring one copy back to Betty Chau Nguyen, and the other copy to the Office of Undergraduate Studies. In order to declare the major, you will also be required to submit to Ms. Nguyen a copy of a paper you wrote for an introductory level (100 or 200 level) philosophy course, preferably for your first philosophy course that you took at Northwestern; this paper is requisite for the purposes of departmental assessment and will not be used in any way that affects your own academic standing.
The department welcomes feedback concerning the undergraduate program and events. You may always contact your adviser or the DUS, Professor Rachel Zuckert, to raise concerns or ask questions concerning departmental policies, events, and so forth. If you would prefer to provide such feedback anonymously, you may contact Rafael Vizcaino, Student Advisory Board representative for the Philosophy Department, who will bring your feedback, suggestions, or concerns to the attention of the faculty. As SAB representative, Rafael is also be interested to hear any suggestions or comments concerning the role of the department in WCAS at large, or about WCAS more generally, and will bring these to the attention of the WCAS dean's office.
Applying to Graduate School
For more information about applying to graduate school, click here.