Philosophy Major, B.A.

The principal goal of the study of philosophy is to enable students to think more clearly, deeply, and appreciatively about themselves and their world. Study of philosophy enhances analytical, critical, and interpretive capacities that are applicable to any subject matter in almost any context. It provides many opportunities for expressing oneself, for reflecting on questions that human beings have pondered for millennia, for exchanging reasoned beliefs and engaging in focused debate, and for learning how to come to terms with problems for which there are no easy answers. A good philosophical education also helps to prepare students for responsible and intelligent participation in political and community affairs. A brief video with information about the philosophy major is available here.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the philosophy program, students should be able to:

  • Deploy philosophical concepts and terminology correctly, in either a historical or contemporary setting
  • Represent clearly and accurately the views or argument of a particular philosopher, in either a historical or contemporary setting
  • Identify the premises and conclusion(s) of a philosophical argument and assess both its validity and soundness
  • Apply a philosophical theory or argument to a new topic, and to draw and defend reasonable conclusions about that topic
  • Develop an argument for a particular solution to a philosophical problem in either a historical or contemporary setting


In addition to the program requirements, students must

  • earn a minimum final cumulative GPA of 2.000
  • complete a minimum of 45 academic credit hours earned from UNC–Chapel Hill courses
  • take at least half of their major core requirements (courses and credit hours) at UNC–Chapel Hill
  • earn a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.000 in the major core requirements. Some programs may require higher standards for major or specific courses.

For more information, please consult the degree requirements section of the catalog.

Core requirements
A major in philosophy requires nine philosophy courses. No more than three of the nine may be numbered 199 and below. The nine courses must include at least one course in three of the following four distribution areas:27
History of philosophy
Courses above 100 with a second digit of one or two (e.g., PHIL 110, PHIL 210, PHIL 220)
Metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of language
Courses above 100 with a second digit of three or four (e.g., PHIL 134, PHIL 230, PHIL 340)
Logic and philosophy of science
Courses above 100 with a second digit of five (e.g., PHIL 150, PHIL 155, PHIL 355)
Value theory
Courses above 100 with a second digit of six, seven, or eight (e.g., PHIL 160, PHIL 275, PHIL 381)
Total Hours27

Philosophy (PHIL) course descriptions.

PHIL 155 is recommended for all students who major or minor in philosophy.

Please note that First Year Seminars (all numbered below 100) and courses with a second digit of nine (PHIL 390PHIL 691HPHIL 692H, etc.) automatically count toward the major core as electives. However, with approval of the department's director of undergraduate studies, PHIL 390 may count toward one of the four distribution areas.

Within the framework of the major, students may elect to take philosophy courses geared toward prelaw. Inquiries about prelaw advising may be sent to the department's director of undergraduate studies. Although we are not in a position to offer law career (including career prep) or LSAT advice, the director of undergraduate studies is available to provide academic advising and discuss prelaw course information. Further details may be found on the Department of Philosophy's Web site.

Special opportunities in philosophy include, but are not limited to, the Philosophy Outreach Program, the Lesher Opportunity Fund, Take a Philosopher to LunchIntercollegiate Ethics Bowl, and an active Speaker Series. See the Department of Philosophy's website for details.

Department of Philosophy

Visit Program Website

Caldwell Hall, 240 East Cameron Ave., CB# 3125

(919) 962-7291


Matthew Kotzen

Director of Undergraduate Studies

Markus Kohl