The Philosophy  and Politics Program

Philosophy and politics share a common history and pursuit of many of the same profound questions. Studying them together, therefore, can enrich your understanding and appreciation of both. If you have interest in both disciplines, this combined major gives you just enough focused study of each.

What Can I Do With a Major in Philosophy?

Completion of a degree in philosophy and politics offers a deeper understanding of the profound questions raised in both fields, and prepares graduates to enter the fields of business, government, law and public service, as well as for graduate studies in philosophy. 


Graduates with a philosophy and politics degree have a sound historical knowledge of both fields and are able to critically engage the world with solid analytic abilities and imaginative, synthetic solutions to problems which present themselves. They are prepared to offer both abstract analyses as well as concrete proposals. They are independent learners and prepared to begin graduate studies in the humanities, social sciences or law.

Requirements for a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Philosophy and Politics

Philosophy Major Requirements (54 credits)
21 credits in Philosophy, structured in the following way*
(These are in addition to the Core requirement of 1st Philosophy PL 101):
PL 120 Logic - 3 credits
PL 201 Ancient Philosophy - 3 credits
PL 202 Medieval Philosophy - 3 credits
PL 200 Modern Philosophy - 3 credits
PL 204 Kant and His Successors or
PL 206 19th and 20th Century Philosophy - 3 credits
PL 215 Ethics - 3 credits
PL 440 Senior Capstone Exam or
PL 450 Senior Thesis - 3 credits

*Those applying for graduate studies in philosophy are also required to complete Symbolic Logic, PL 250. All other majors are strongly encouraged to complete this course.

Politics Major Requirements (27 credits) 
PS 100 Principles of American Politics - 3 credits
PS 135 Classical Political Thought - 3 credits
S 136 Modern Political Thought - 3 credits
PS 242 International Politics or
PS 343 Comparative Politics - 3 credits
PS 290 Institutions - 3 credits
PS 336 American Political Thought - 3 credits
PS 339 Constitutional Law: National Powers or
PS 369 Constitutional Law: Civil Rights and Liberties - 3 credits
PS 345 Domestic Public Policy - 3 credits
PS 480 Senior Thesis - 3 credits

In addition, 6 credits of electives from either Philosophy or Politics, chosen in consultation with the student’s advisers.

Semester Reviewphilosophy-semester-review
Semester Review

Having chosen to pursue a degree in philosophy, each student will meet with his or her adviser to review the work of the previous semester.  This is generally done each January for the previous fall semester and in September for the previous spring semester.                                                      

As a part of this review, students will evaluate their own performance in a guided, written statement. This statement functions primarily as a resume of work in the major, but extra-departmental work may also be assessed. During the review, students present two pieces of written work from the previous semester, at least one of which will be from a philosophy course (provided that the student had taken a course in the field the previous semester).

Senior Capstone Projectphilosophy-senior-capstone
Senior Capstone Project

Each philosophy major is required to complete a Senior Capstone Project during their junior or senior year at the college. There are two options for the project: a senior thesis or a senior capstone examination. The student and their faculty adviser will decide which of these two options are appropriate based on each student's aims, interests and plans after graduation.

Students work with their faculty advisers to form a Senior Thesis or Examination Committee and choose a topic for the project. The student, with the guidance of the committee, plans the project and carries out the basic research.   

Students who choose the capstone exam will take the exam at the end of the semester in which they are enrolled in PL 440 Senior Capstone Exam. A passing grade completes this project; a failing grade requires the student to retake the course and the exam the following semester.

Students who choose the senior thesis will complete a polished draft of the thesis, to be submitted to the Committee for comments, during the semester in which they are enrolled in PL 450 Senior Thesis. The Thesis Committee evaluates the finished Senior Thesis. By the last week of classes before graduation, each student will give an oral presentation of the project to departmental faculty and students, responding to questions and comments.

Internships and Careers

Students who complete the Philosophy program may be employed or continue their education as:

  • Teachers
  • Researchers
  • Academic Affairs specialists
  • Paralegals
  • Government workers
  • Clergy and religious leaders
  • Administrators/managers
  • Technical writers and editors
  • Graduate school students
  • Student Learning Outcomes

    The Philosophy Department helps its students achieve the following goals:

    • Explain, accurately and charitably, significant philosophical ideas and arguments of particular ancient, medieval, modern and contemporary philosophers.
    • Use logic and critical reasoning to analyze arguments, and evaluate positions that they encounter outside of the classroom.
    • Explain ethical theories and apply them to problems of ethical significance.
    • Integrate philosophical ideas from diverse sources, including other disciplines and their own experience, into original philosophical work.
    • Complete independent philosophical scholarship and present this work in writing and in oral presentation.
    • Apply principles of political theory to political practice.