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Philosophy Majors and the Minor

Philosophy is a disciplined way of framing and seeking answers to questions of important human concern. It seeks to illuminate fundamental aspects of the world (metaphysics), of our relation to and knowledge of it (epistemology, philosophy of mind), and of our own nature as rational, purposive, and social beings (ethics, political philosophy). The study of philosophy aims at an appreciation of the ways this enterprise has been, is, and might be approached. It also provides a vantage point for reflecting on the nature and achievement of other disciplines, such as science, the arts, and the humanities.

Topics in philosophy may be classified roughly as VALUE THEORY (ethics, political philosophy, aesthetics) or THEORETICAL PHILOSOPHY (basically, everything else). Philosophy majors are required to take courses in both categories, as well as in LOGIC and the HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY. This Distribution Requirement varies slightly for the four different concentrations within the major, which allow students to emphasize different sets of questions.

The Philosophy Major has four different concentrations Major Concentrations: General Philosophy (32 credits), Humanistic Philosophy (36 credits), Philosophy and Science (36 credits), and Political and Moral Philosophy (36 credits). Students may also pursue a 6 credit minor. All concentrations and the minor have a Distribution Requirement and a Level Requirement. A breakdown of requirements can be found here (pdf).

The total number of university credits required for College Graduation varies for these concentrations within the major. See: https://www.college.upenn.edu/credits-needed-major

It is possible to pursue honors in any one of these concentrations within the major, either through writing a thesis (PHIL-301) or by taking a graduate-level course (500-level). Students pursuing the 500-level option must obtain permission from the instructor and undergraduate chair by submitting an application.