Philosophy investigates basic and very general assumptions that are normally just taken for granted.  For example, it asks whether there are any rational grounds for distinguishing between what is really the case and what is simply thought to be the case or seems to be the case; whether there is a genuine difference between knowledge and mere opinion; whether it’s reasonable or unreasonable to think that God exists; whether the sense we sometimes have of acting of our own free will is illusory, and indeed, whether consciousness itself is anything other than an accidental and impotent accompaniment of neurochemical processes in our brains; and whether there is any objective validity to the moral codes people live by. It also brings techniques developed in discussion of these questions to bear on the pressing moral, social and political issues of the day. As a philosophy major you’ll develop critical thinking and analytical skills, as well as an appreciation of the history of philosophical discussion and the ability to formulate sophisticated views about the problems for yourself. 

The department offers a comprehensive program of philosophical study that provides you with an opportunity for self-exploration as well as a foundation for the application of philosophical skills to real-world situations. The curriculum leads to a bachelor of arts (B.A.) degree.

You may choose to follow a general philosophy major or choose from one of several topically-oriented programs that are interdisciplinary in nature. These currently include values and social policy, and law and society. If you plan to complete a philosophy major in this fashion, you should consult your primary advisor to plan your program.

General Major

The general major in philosophy involves coursework in the three main areas of the subject: (i) metaphysics (concerning what exists) and epistemology (the nature of knowledge and the methods by which it is acquired); (ii) ethics; and (iii) history of philosophy. In the first two areas you focus on the kinds of problem described at the start of this flyer. In the third you learn about what some of the great thinkers in the history of the subject have said about them, by reading original writings of Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Descartes, Hume, Kant and others. Most philosophy majors take the general major, which offers the broadest philosophical education. However, there are also more specialized versions of the major.

Values & Social Policy Program

Many contemporary issues present difficult and fundamental questions revolving around conflicts of value—individual rights versus the public good, freedom versus security, and economic values versus environmental values.

Since the time of Socrates, philosophers have dealt with value questions and have developed systematic methods and intellectual frameworks for analyzing the issues, for putting alternatives in perspective, for distinguishing the relevant from the irrelevant, for probing assumptions and working out implications, and for relating values to facts. The topical major in values and social policy addresses these value questions and helps you develop relevant analytical skills.

Law & Society Program

If you have a concern for ethical, political, and social issues relating to law and other institutions, this program will provide you with the necessary framework to pursue your interest in a systematic and structured way. The program helps you obtain a deeper understanding of the nature and functions of law and its relation to other institutions of society. It is also designed to promote the development of intellectual skills that are of value in the study of law, such as the ability to examine and evaluate the soundness of arguments. 

As a philosophy graduate, you will find you are adaptable to a variety of careers. The ability to work on abstract problems, to understand the interrelationships between various fields, and to clarify basic concepts enables you to assume entry-level positions in business, government, public service, mass communication, banking, personnel, advertising, and numerous other fields.

If you elect to continue your studies, you will find that a philosophy major is excellent preparation for law school. A degree in philosophy also helps prepare you for graduate work in philosophy or other humanities disciplines such as literature, classics, and theology.

Career Services (www.colorado.edu/career) helps students discover who they are, what they want to do, and how to get there. They are the bridge between academics and the world of work. 

Career Services offers free services for all CU-Boulder degree-seeking students, and alumni up to one year after graduation. Meet individually the staff to discuss major and career exploration, internship or job searching, and graduate school preparation.

Facilities, Programs & Opportunities: The Center for Values and Social Policy engages in research and sponsors lectures, conferences, and programs under the auspices of the Department of Philosophy. Convinced that philosophy can make important contributions to ongoing debates about issues and public policy, the center’s activities bring the methods and insights of philosophy to bear on critical issues of public concern. Quality of life, environmental ethics, energy policies, and human rights are among the topics of interest.

The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) offers students a chance to work alongside a faculty sponsor on original research. Learn to write proposals, conduct research, pursue creative work, analyze data, and present the results. For more information, call UROP at 303-492-2596, or find the website at: http://enrichment.colorado.edu/urop/.

The university’s study abroad program offers philosophy majors the chance to develop their capacities for critical thought by viewing the world through the perspective of another culture. The university offers over 100 programs throughout the world. On these programs you may earn credit as if you had taken the courses here, sometimes fulfilling core or major requirements. Language study is a prerequisite for some programs, so early planning is recommended.  

For more information, call the Office of International Education at 303-492-7741 or stop by the Center for Community. Find their home page at: http://studyabroad.colorado.edu/.

Four Year Plan


Please speak with your advisor for specific recommendations; the following is intended to be a general outline only and there may be flexibility to this plan.
 

Philosophy 4-Year Plan
Average 30 credits per year.

 

First Year – Fall Semester
PHIL 1000
(3): Intro to Philosophy (not required for major, but strongly advised)
CORE (3): Content Area of Study (example: Lower-Division Literature and Arts)
CORE (3): Skills Acquisition (example: Quantitative Reasoning & Mathematical Skills)
Elective/MAPS (3)
Elective/MAPS (3)

First Year – Spring Semester
PHIL
(3): Required Elective (2000-level or above)
CORE (3): Skills Acquisition (example: Lower Division Written Communication)
CORE (3): Content Area of Study (example: Natural Science  http://www.colorado.edu/artsandsciences/student-resources/core-curriculum/natural-science)
Elective/MAPS (3)
Elective/MAPS (3)


Second Year – Fall Semester
PHIL 2440
(3): Symbolic Logic
PHIL 3000 (3): History of Ancient Philosophy (completes Historical Context Core requirement)
CORE (3): Content Area of Study (example: Human Diversity)
CORE (3): Content Area of Study (example: Natural Science)
Elective/MAPS (3)

Second Year – Spring Semester
PHIL 3480
(3): Critical Thinking and Writing in Philosophy (completes Upper Division Written Communication Core requirement)
PHIL 3010 (3): History of Modern Philosophy
CORE (3): Content Area of Study (example: Natural Science)
Elective/MAPS (3)
Elective/MAPS (3)


Third Year – Fall Semester
PHIL 3100
(3): Ethical Theory (completes Ideals & Values Core requirement)
PHIL (3): Values Course (see Degree Audit for choices)
CORE (4): Content Area of Study (example: Natural Science with lab)  
Elective (3): Upper-Division
Elective (3): Upper-Division

Third Year – Spring Semester
PHIL 4340
(3): Epistemology
PHIL (3): Philosophy 4000-level History Course (see Degree Audit for choices)
CORE (3): Content Area of Study (example: Upper-Division Literature and Arts)
Elective (3): Upper-Division
Elective (3): Upper-Division


Fourth Year – Fall Semester
PHIL
(3): Metaphysics (see Degree Audit for choices)
CORE (3): Content Area of Study (example: United States Context)
Elective (3): Upper-Division
Elective (3): Upper-Division
Elective (3)

Fourth Year – Spring Semester
PHIL
(3): Required Elective or Honors Thesis (2000-level or above)
CORE (3): Content Area of Study (example: Contemporary Societies)
Elective (3): Upper-Division
Elective (3) Upper-Division
Elective (3)


Please speak with your advisor for specific recommendations; the following is intended to be a general outline only and there may be flexibility to this plan.
 

Philosophy - Law & Society Track, 4-Year Plan
Average 30 credits per year.

 

First Year – Fall Semester
PHIL 1000 or 1200
(3): Intro to Philosophy or Philosophy and Society (not required, but strongly advised)
CORE (3): Content Area of Study (example: Lower-Division Literature and Arts)
CORE (3): Skills Acquisition (example: Quantitative Reasoning & Mathematical Skills)
Elective/MAPS (3)
Elective/MAPS (3)

First Year – Spring Semester
PHIL 2200
(3): Major Social Theories
PHIL 2220 (3): Philosophy and Law (completes US Context Core requirement)
CORE (3): Skills Acquisition (example: Lower Division Written Communication)
CORE (3): Content Area of Study (example: Natural Science  http://www.colorado.edu/artsandsciences/student-resources/core-curriculum/natural-science)
Elective/MAPS (3)


Second Year – Fall Semester
PHIL 1440 or 2440
(3): Introductory Logic or Symbolic Logic
PHIL (3): Required Elective
CORE (3): Content Area of Study (example: Natural Science)
Elective/Law Track Pre-requisite (3)
Elective/MAPS (3)

Second Year – Spring Semester
PHIL 3180 or 3480
(3): Contemporary Topics or Critical Thinking and Writing in Philosophy
PHIL 3200 (3): Social and Political Philosophy
CORE (4): Content Area of Study (example: Natural Science with lab)  
Law Track (3): Individualized Course (see advisor for more details)
Elective/MAPS (3)


Third Year – Fall Semester
PHIL 3000
(3) History of Ancient Philosophy (completes Historical Context Core requirement)
PHIL 3100 (3) Ethical Theory (completes Ideals & Values Core requirement)
Law Track (3): Individualized Course (see advisor for more details)
CORE (3): Skills Acquisition (example: Upper-Division Written Communication) or Upper-Division Elective (if completing PHIL 3480)
Elective (3): Upper-Division

Third Year – Spring Semester
PHIL 3010
(3): History of Modern Philosophy
Law Track (3): Individualized Course (see advisor for more details)
CORE (3): Content Area of Study (example: Human Diversity)
CORE (3): Content Area of Study (example: Natural Science)
Elective (3): Upper-Division


Fourth Year – Fall Semester
PHIL 4260
(3) Philosophy of Law
Law Track (3): Upper-Division Individualized Course (see advisor for more details)
CORE (3): Content Area of Study (example: Upper-Division Literature and Arts)
Elective (3): Upper-Division
Elective (3): Upper-Division

Fourth Year – Spring Semester
PHIL
(3): Optional Elective or Honors Thesis
Law Track (3): Upper-Division Individualized Course (see advisor for more details) – if needed
CORE (3): Content Area of Study (example: Contemporary Societies)
Elective (3) Upper-Division
Elective (3): Upper-Division


Please speak with your advisor for specific recommendations; the following is intended to be a general outline only and there may be flexibility to this plan.
 

Philosophy - Values & Social Policy Track, 4-Year Plan
Average 30 credits per year.

 

First Year – Fall Semester
PHIL 1000 or 1200
(3): Intro to Philosophy or Philosophy and Society (not required, but strongly advised)
CORE (3): Content Area of Study (example: Lower-Division Literature and Arts)
CORE (3): Skills Acquisition (example: Quantitative Reasoning & Mathematical Skills)
Elective/MAPS (3)
Elective/MAPS (3)

First Year – Spring Semester
PHIL 2200
(3): Major Social Theories
CORE (3): Skills Acquisition (example: Lower Division Written Communication)
CORE (3): Content Area of Study (example: Natural Science  http://www.colorado.edu/artsandsciences/student-resources/core-curriculum/natural-science)
Elective/MAPS (3)
Elective/MAPS (3)


Second Year – Fall Semester
PHIL 1440 or 2440
(3): Introductory Logic or Symbolic Logic
PHIL (3): Values course (see Degree Audit for choices)
VSP Track (3): Allied Discipline Course (see advisor for more details)
CORE (3): Content Area of Study (example: Natural Science)
Elective/MAPS (3)

Second Year – Spring Semester
PHIL
(3): Values course (see Degree Audit for choices)
PHIL 3000 (3) History of Ancient Philosophy (completes Historical Context Core requirement)
VSP Track (3): Allied Discipline Course (see advisor for more details)
CORE (4): Content Area of Study (example: Natural Science with lab)  
Elective/MAPS (3)


Third Year – Fall Semester
PHIL 3010
(3) History of Modern Philosophy
PHIL (3): Upper-Division Values course (see Degree Audit for choices)
VSP Track (3): Allied Discipline Course (see advisor for more details)
CORE (3): Skills Acquisition (example: Upper-Division Written Communication)
Elective (3): Upper-Division

Third Year – Spring Semester
PHIL 3100
(3) Ethical Theory (completes Ideals & Values Core requirement)
PHIL (3): Upper-Division Values course (see Degree Audit for choices)
VSP Track (3): Upper-Division Allied Discipline Course (see advisor for more details)
CORE (3): Content Area of Study (example: Human Diversity)
CORE (3): Content Area of Study (example: Natural Science)


Fourth Year – Fall Semester
PHIL 3200
(3) Social and Political Philosophy
PHIL (3): Upper-Division Elective (may be needed to reach 33 total hours in PHIL)
VSP Track (3): Upper-Division Allied Discipline Course (see advisor for more details)
CORE (3): Content Area of Study (example: United States Context)
Elective (3): Upper-Division

Fourth Year – Spring Semester
PHIL
(3): Optional Upper-Division Elective or Honors Thesis
CORE (3): Content Area of Study (example: Contemporary Societies)
CORE (3): Content Area of Study (example: Upper-Division Literature and Arts)
Elective (3) Upper-Division
Elective (3) Upper-Division