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Undergraduate Program

Major and Minor Programs

Philosophy Major
Program objectives for a B.A. in Philosophy are (a) to acquire fundamental knowledge reflecting the subdivisions within the discipline; (b) to express a high degree of satisfaction with the program and instruction within the department; and (c) to be able to demonstrate skills which will be beneficial in further study or in their career paths.

A. University General Education Program (41 hours)
See Graduation from the University link for the University General Education Program requirements.

B. College and Degree (B.A.) Requirements (18-19 hours)
The College of Arts and Sciences and Bachelor of Arts requirements are in addition to the University General Education Program requirements.

C. The Major (30 hours)
Completion of 30 semester hours in philosophy courses including PHIL 1101 or 1102, 1611, 3001 (Fall), 3002 (Spring), 3411 (Fall) or 3511 (Spring) and 15 additional upper division semester hours. To prepare philosophy students for success in a number of fields, the department offers a variety of upper division courses. See the philosophy section of the Undergraduate Catalog for course descriptions.

D. Electives
Additional electives may be chosen to bring the total number of hours to 120. See the Undergraduate Catalog for more information.

E. Honors Program
This program is open to philosophy majors with a 3.0 overall average and a 3.5 average in philosophy. The student will complete, with a minimum grade of "B", a thesis submitted for credit in PHIL 4891. The thesis topic must be approved by the thesis director before the student registers for PHIL 4891. Those students who complete the program and the regular college requirements will be recognized at the commencement ceremony by having their degree conferred “With Honors in Philosophy.” Moreover, the student’s diploma and record at the University of Memphis will reflect this distinction.

Philosophy Minor
Completion of 18 semester hours in philosophy courses, including PHIL 1101 or 1102, 1611, and 12 upper division semester hours. In consultation with the coordinator of undergraduate studies in philosophy, a student may design a minor (18 hours) that applies to the student’s major area of study.


Online BA in Philosophy - Concentration in Applied Ethics

This program focuses on ethical theories and ethical problem-solving in the context of a number of professional domains including medicine, law, and business. Core courses in this program provide a solid foundation in the history of philosophy and logic.

This degree may be completed in the following ways: (a) University of Memphis courses (entirely online), or (b) by combining University of Memphis courses (online and on-campus), or (c) by combining University of Memphis courses (online and on-campus) with a limited number of approved courses transferred from other institutions (please consult the Undergraduate Catalog for more information). Additionally, out-of-state students may qualify for in-state tuition. Click here for more information.

Degree Requirements
This program's degree requirements are the same as listed above (Philosophy Major) except part C. which will read as follows.

C. The Major (30 hours)
Completion of 30 semester hours in philosophy courses comprised of the two lists, Core and Applied Ethics, below. To prepare philosophy students for success in a number of fields, the department offers courses in the following sub-divisions of philosophy.

Core (15 hrs) - 1102, 1611, 3001, 3002, 3411
Applied (15 hrs.) - 3514, 3515, 3571, 3781

Availability of Online Classes
Development of online classes began in the Fall of 2010. Not all classes required for the major are available online, but will be in the near future. Below is a list of classes currently available online and which are still in development. This list will be updated as the classes become available online.

Currently Available - 1102, 1611, 3411, 3514, 3515, 3741
In Development -  3001, 3002, 3571, 3781

For further information about this program, please contact Melissa Ebbers by completing the form on University of Memphis eCampus website.


Undergraduate Advising

The Undergraduate Advisor is Prof. Hoke Robinson:

Prof. Hoke Robinson
307 Clement Hall
901-678-3356
hrobinsn<at>memphis<dot>edu

Please contact him directly to schedule an appointment for advising. Before your appointment, please review the online version of the Undergraduate Catalog. After reviewing that information, check this site for additional news for Philosophy Majors and Minors.


Activities and Awards

The Philosophy Circle is a registered student organization for undergraduates (of any major) with an interest in philosophy. The "Circle" meets throughout the fall and spring semesters to present guest speakers, host discussions, and organize reading groups. In addition to its regular meetings, the Circle hosts an annual undergraduate conference each spring that coincides with the Midsouth Philosophy Conference. The Philosophy Circle advisor is Prof. Somogy Varga.

Philosophy majors are eligible to receive the Carroll R. Bowman Scholarship, awarded each year in memory of the late Professor Bowman to a philosophy major with demonstrated financial need and academic potential. Also, each spring the department also presents the Outstanding Senior Award to a graduating senior in philosophy.

Links & Documents
Major and Minor Programs
Online BA in Philosophy
Undergraduate Advising
Activities and Awards
Undergraduate Philosophy Circle

Philosophy in the News
Top 6 Reasons to Declare a
  Philosophy Major


CAS Academic Advising Center
Undergraduate Catalog
Philosophy Course Descriptions
Online Schedule of Classes
Intent to Graduate Form

Overview of Courses
Registration Worksheet
Top 6 Reasons to Declare a Philosophy Major
1. Let’s face it, it just sounds cool.

2. Because philosophy isn’t a mainstream major, we’ve got a smaller group of students than many other departments. And that’s how we like it because we know you’ll end up feeling like part of a close-knit group, not just a random face lost in the crowd. When you leave Memphis, we’ll remember you.

3. We pick up where every other major leaves off. English majors read and write about love and sadness, good and evil. We ask, what is love and sadness, good and evil? Art majors paint and compose beautiful things. We ask, what is beauty anyway? Psychology majors study how the mind works? We ask, are there really minds at all? Biology majors study species and animals. We ask, what makes a “species” a species; what makes an “animal” an animal? Sociology majors study how men, women, and families interact and behave. We ask, what makes a “man” a man, a “woman” a woman, or a “family” a family? Do such identities really exist? Etc.

4. Philosophy majors ROCK the standardized exams – and we mean ALL of them. Philosophy majors consistently rank 3rd on the LSAT (for law school, behind only math and economics), 2nd on the GMAT (for business school – and way above business majors), and 1st among all humanities on the MCAT. When it comes to the GRE, the facts are particularly impressive:
- On the verbal section of the GRE, Philosophy majors have the highest mean score of any major, including, notably, English majors.
- On the quantitative section, Philosophy majors have the highest mean score compared with any other humanities or social science major except economics.
- On the analytic section, Philosophy majors have the highest mean score of any major.

5. Philosophy majors get jobs! In 1995, 84.1% of the 8300 Philosophy PhDs surveyed were employed full-time (7.1% were retired; 6.5% were employed part-time, and 2.3% were unemployed). Most common jobs included teaching at all levels from grade school through college, law, medicine, government positions, banking, marketing, and business management.

6. We make persuasive arguments like this one and teach you how to do the same.
Philosophy in the News
The Stone - regular column featuring "the writing of contemporary philosophers on issues both timely and timeless" (New York Times)

The Examined Life, Age 8 (New York Times, April 8, 2010)

Finding Equality Through Logic (National Public Radio, August 3, 2008)

Epistemology (Rocketboom, June 4, 2008)

College Students Opt for the Life Examined (New York Times, April 6, 2008)

Be Cool to the Pizza Delivery Dude (National Public Radio, May 16, 2005)
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Last Updated: 7/1/14