The undergraduate program in philosophy is designed to serve as an integrating core of general liberal studies; as preparation for professional training in other fields, such as law, education, politics, or theology; or as preparation for future professional training in philosophy. The department offers degrees at all levels, including an accelerated combined bachelor's/master's degree program. Additionally, the department offers minors in philosophy and political philosophy, and collaborates with the Program in the History and Philosophy of Science and its new interdisciplinary minor in the History and Philosophy of Science.
The department participates in the honors program and the honors in the major program, the FIGs program, the Bryan Hall program, as well as the undergraduate programs in the following departments or programs: American Studies, Asian Studies, Humanities, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Political Science, International Affairs, Religion, and Comparative Policy Studies. In addition, it offers several courses in the University's Liberal Studies Program.
Students have considerable latitude to design the content of a major that meets their needs and interests. For example, a student might focus primarily on ethics; on social and political philosophy; on logic; on the philosophy of science; on the history of philosophy or some distinct period such as ancient, modern, or contemporary; on epistemology; or on cognitive studies. Other majors may want to focus their course work in several different areas of philosophy. Many students find it possible to combine a major in philosophy with a major in another discipline. The department welcomes such arrangements.
In addition to gaining an understanding of the substantive issues philosophers have struggled with through the ages, student majoring in philosophy can expect to develop their abilities to engage in critical examination and evaluation. Such skills have proven to be of great value in almost any type of human endeavor.
The department's distinguished faculty is actively engaged in teaching, research, writing, publishing, and editing. Students majoring in philosophy can be assured that not only will they acquire a due background in the history of philosophy but they will also have the opportunity to acquaint themselves with the latest developments in the discipline.
The department offers regular colloquia in which local faculty, graduate students, and guests from other universities regularly present papers and lead discussions on philosophical topics. In addition, the department regularly sponsors conferences; topics have included biomedical ethics, moral education, philosophy of language, Wittgenstein, Plato, Aristotle, ethical theory, history and philosophy of science, philosophy of biology, causation and free will, folk concepts, and cosmopolitanism.