College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences

Bachelor's Degree Programs

Philosophy (B.A.)
At-a-Glance

Minimum hours required for major: 32, including 16 hours of core courses in logic and the history of philosophy, PHL 491 (4 hours) and 12 hours of electives, as described below

Minimum hours required for minor: 16 credit hours selected from courses eligible to count for the major

Advising: Designated faculty adviser; phone 216-687-3900.

Philosophy addresses fundamental questions about human knowledge and existence from constructive and critical perspectives. Students examine important historical and contemporary theories concerning ethics, social justice, reality and the nature and extent of knowledge. Logic is also central to philosophy, since the critical evaluation of the reasons given for ideas is as important as the study of the ideas themselves. For this reason, philosophy classes are well known for the presentation of philosophical problems and issues in a manner that stimulates questions, discussion, and a general appreciation for the pursuit of truth.

A philosophy major or minor is excellent preparation for fields such as law and business, which rely on skills of critical thinking, as well as for fields such as medicine and social work, where practitioners face ethical dilemmas in their work. Though useful in many careers, the study of philosophy can be expected to enrich a person's life beyond the rewards of the marketplace, through a deeper understanding of important beliefs and their foundations.

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Major-Field Requirements

All students should contact the philosophy undergraduate advisor (687-3900) for the most current major requirements.

  1. Core Courses: 16 credits;
  2. Electives: 12 credits, no more than 4 credits below the 300 level.
  3. PHL 491 Senior Seminar in Philosophy. A variable topics course which fulfills the capstone requirement in philosophy.

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Majoring in Philosophy with a concentration in Ethics

Philosophy majors with an interest in ethics may declare a major in philosophy with a concentration in ethics. Students pursuing this program take core courses in the fundamentals of philosophy and ethics. Additional electives must include one course in the study of values and conduct, such as the philosophy of art, religion, law, or social and political philosophy.A major in philosophy with a concentration in ethics is excellent preparation for advanced study in ethics, law, public administration, social work, and other fields in which ethical dilemmas arise amidst unresolved conflicts.

Requirements for a B.A. in Philosophy with a concentration in Ethics:

  1. Core courses, 16 credits:
  2. Ethical Theory, 4 credits:
  3. Value Theory Electives, at least 4 credits selected from the following fields:
  4. PHL 491 Senior Seminar in Philosophy. A variable topics course which fulfills the capstone requirement in philosophy.
  5. Other Upper-Level Electives, 8 credits

Note that students who fulfill the core requirement with either PHL 215 or PHL 240 rather than PHL 211 or PHL 213 will need an additional credit hour to fulfill the 32-credit-hour major requirement.

All students may choose electives from courses which count toward the Certificate in Bioethics, or from among other advanced philosophy courses.

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Bioethics Certificate

The Undergraduate Certificate in Bioethics is designed primarily for persons preparing for careers in medicine, nursing, social work, psychology, education, one of the health sciences, or other health-related professions. It can also serve upper-level students preparing for careers in law or business who wish to understand health policy, law, and clinical practice in relation to philosophy and ethics. The Certificate in Bioethics will attest that the student has completed a course of study in moral theory and clinical practice, law, or policy related to bioethics. Enrollment will be open to upper-level undergraduates, and others by petition. Both degree-seeking students and non-degree students are eligible.

All bioethics courses are offered online and include the following four-credit courses:

The program requires a total of 12 semester hours in bioethics at the undergraduate level, distributed as described below, with a grade of at least 3.0 quality points in each:

  1. Moral Reasoning Requirement (4 credits), fulfilled by taking:
  2. Bioethics Electives (8 credits), chosen from the other courses listed above.

For additional information, contact the Philosophy Department at 216-687-3900.

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Philosophy Minor

Minimum hours required for minor: 16 credit hours selected from courses eligible to count toward the major.

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