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).
NOTE: Core requirements cannot be replaced by courses taken at other venues than the NU philosophy department. This includes study abroad, online courses, other universities, other departments at NU. Only in cases of established exceptional hardship will the UG-committee be able to consider a request to have a course taken at another venue as a core credit (see FAQ for further details). Should you believe to be in such circumstances, you need to immediately contact your advisor or the DUS to find out more about the possibilities.
The department strongly recommends that students complete required courses (above) as early as possible, particularly if you plan to spend time outside NU, e.g. studying abroad.
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 Jasmine Bomer 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 Jasmine Bomer, 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. Bomer 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.
Feedback, student-representatives and suggestions
The department welcomes feedback concerning the undergraduate program and events. You may always raise concerns or ask questions concerning departmental policies, events, and so forth by contacting
- your adviser or the
- DUS, Professor Axel Mueller.
Student Advisory Board (SAB) Representatives
The department has two representatives, who work as part of the WCAS SAB together with the dean’s office. Their role is to bring concerns of a structural nature (i.e. beyond your personal case with administrative activity) to the attention of faculty or the WCAS dean's office. If you want to provide feedback, suggestions or grievances of that kind, or anonymously, you may contact either of them. For the AY 2014-15, the representatives are
Applying to Graduate School
For more information about applying to graduate school, click here.