The Philosophy Major
The Philosophy Department at Tulane offers three major courses of study:
- The Standard Major
- Law, Morality & Society (track)
- Language, Mind & Knowledge (track)
The first provides a traditional course of study in philosophy, the remaining two are designed to cater for students with a specific career interest in law, public policy or politics, and for students primarily interested in the part of philosophy that lies on one of the most exciting of today's interdisciplinary interfaces, cognitive science. The Department is also associated with the Cognitive Studies Coordinate Major.
All students majoring in Philosophy and not writing an honors thesis must complete a total of nine courses (27 credits) in Philosophy. All students majoring in Philosophy and writing an honors thesis must complete ten courses (31 credits). In this case, honors thesis work in H4990 and H5000 counts for two courses and 7 credits. (One of these seven credits is a Writing Requirement credit.)
A full list of our courses can be found by clicking here: Course Catalogue.
For the Standard Major in Philosophy,
the course requirements are: the two-course sequence in History of Philosophy (2010, 2020); one course in Logic (1060, 1210, or 3040, with 1210 or higher strongly recommended); one course in Ethics (1030, 3050, 3510, 3550, 3560, 3570, 3580, 3650, 3660, 6050, 6130, 6150, 6250, 6520, or 6760); one course in metaphysics/mind/epistemology (1020, 1040, 2030, 220, 3120, 3150, 3410, 3420, 3740, 3750, 3760, 3765, 3800, 6010, 6100, 6105, 6120, 6150, 6170, 6180, or 6190); and at least two courses at the 6000 level. Please note: Students may not count more than 3 classes at the 1000 level toward the standard major.
For the track in Law, Morality, and Society (registrar's abbreviation "PHLM") the course requirements are: the two course sequence in Classics of Political Philosophy (2110, 2120); one course in Critical Thinking or Logic (1060, 1210, 3040); four other courses in Ethics, Political Philosophy or Philosophy of Law (1030, 3050, 3340, 3510, 3550, 3560, 3580, 3640, 3650, 3660, H4990, H5000, 6050, 6130, 6150, 6510, 6250, 6520, 6720, 6740, 6750, or 6760); one course outside these areas at the 3000 level or above. At least two courses must be at the 6000 level.
For the track in Language, Mind, and Knowledge (registrar's abbreviation "PHMK") the course requirements are: the two course sequence in History of Philosophy (2010, 2020); one course in Logic (1210, 3040, or higher); four other courses in Philosophy of Language, Mind, or Knowledge (1020, 1040, 2030, 2200, 3120, 3150, 3410, 3420, 3740, 3750, 3760, 3765, 3800, 3870, H4990, H5000, 6010, 6090, 6100, 6105, 6120, 6150, 6170, 6180, 6190, 6620); one additional course at the 3000 level or above. At least two of these courses must be at the 6000 level.
The Philosophy Minor
A minor in Philosophy consists of five Philosophy courses, three of which must be above the 1000 level.
The Philosophy Major's Map
(or how to become a philosopher in just 4 years )
Here is a schedule for completing the philosophy major (27 credits or 9 courses) easily within 4 years. With just a single course per semester at first, and NEVER more than two, the pace set out here should work especially well for those doing a Double Major. You could easily finish the major more quickly by doing more courses each year But in such cases, we advise that you consider a similar ordering of classes.
Those who are particularly focused on Cognitive Studies or Ethics, Political and Legal Philosophy, might consider one our Major Tracks instead, where they requirements are somewhat different.
Please note the following:
- These are just guidelines. There is always room for doing things your own way (though it's best to seek advice from your major advisor in such situations).
- The guidelines are directed at someone who starts philosophy in their first year. Students beginning later will need to make the relevant adjustments.
- For a first philosophy class, you may find it more enjoyable to just pick a class (3000-level or below) that gets your interest rather than going for our 1000-level offerings.
First Year (6 credits min.)
Take two of the following courses (you may take more of course)
- PHIL 1010 Introduction to Philosophy
- PHIL 1020 Philosophies of the Self
- PHIL 1030 Ethics (Satisfies Ethics requirement)
- PHIL 1210 Elementary Symbolic Logic (Satisfies Logic requirement)
As mentioned above, other courses at the 2000 or 3000 level may also be appropriate, and you may wish to pick a topic that grabs your interest than a more general 1000-level class. (If you take more than 6 credits, we positively advise moving beyond the 1000-level).
BUT: PHIL 1030 Ethics and PHIL 1210 Elementary Symbolic Logic are both excellent courses to take in your first two semesters doing philosophy.
Second Year (6 credits min.)
If you have not done so already, cover the history of philosophy requirements, preferably by following the sequence:
- PHIL 2010 History of Ancient Philosophy
- PHIL 2020 History of Modern Philosophy
Try to have the Logic and Ethics requirement covered by the end of this year! If your schedule permits, take one or more 3000-level classes.
Junior year (6-9 credits) & Senior Year (6-9 credits)
Finish off ALL requirements (except the electives) by the end of first semester Junior Year. From then on it is electives all the way!
BUT bear in mind:
- You must make sure at least TWO are at the 6000-level.
- You should probably not try to take too many 6000-level classes at first (indeed, there may be prerequisites that prevent this).
- Ask about the frequency of the classes that are offered, before making a choice in any given semester.