Undergraduate Bulletin

Spring 2023

Requirements for the Major and Minor in Philosophy (PHI)

Requirements for the Major in Philosophy (PHI)

The major in Philosophy leads to the Bachelor of Arts degree. Philosophy courses are distributed among three categories indicated, in parentheses after the title of the course. Courses offered for the major must be passed with a letter grade of C or higher. No more than two 100-level philosophy courses may be used to satisfy major requirements.

Completion of the major requires 36 credits.

  1. PHI 108 Logical and Critical Thinking or PHI 220 Introduction to Symbolic Logic (Students who expect to pursue graduate study in Philosophy should choose PHI 220)
  2. PHI 300 Ancient Philosophy and PHI 306 Modern Philosophy
  3. PHI 458 Speak Effectively Before an Audience (upper-division speaking requirement)
  4. PHI 459 Write Effectively In Philosophy (upper-division writing requirement)
  5. PHI 395 Junior Seminar
  6. PHI 401 Individual Systems of the Great Philosophers or PHI 402 Analysis of Philosophic Texts
  7. 21 additional credits of Philosophy coursework. Note that no more than two 100-level philosophy courses may be used to satisfy major requirements.

Philosophy majors must achieve an evaluation of S (Satisfactory) in PHI 458 Speak Effectively Before an Audience and PHI 459 Write Effectively in Philosophy, which separately may be taken in conjunction with PHI 395 Junior Seminar and/or another 300-level philosophy course that calls for public speaking to satisfy the speaking requirement (SPK) or calls for intensive writing to satisfy the upper-division writing requirement (WRTD), respectively. Students who wish to satisfy these requirements must inform the instructor of their intention to do so no later than the third week of the semester. The student's essays and public speaking will be appraised for the advanced writing and public speaking skills, respectively, appropriate to Philosophy majors in addition to the appraisal for the course. A student must satisfy the upper division speaking and writing requirements in order to register for PHI 401 Individual Systems of the Great Philosophers or PHI 402 Analysis of Philosophic Texts.


  1. No more than two 100-level philosophy courses may be used to satisfy major requirements.
  2. Please note that Philosophy course descriptions are very general and that precise topics can vary even between sections. More detailed up to date information may be found at www.stonybrook.edu/philosophy

Honors Program in Philosophy

To qualify for the honors program, a student must be a junior or a senior in the major with an overall g.p.a. of at least 3.00 and a g.p.a. in philosophy of 3.50. The student must maintain this average throughout participation in the honors program. To seek honors, a student must plan a program prior to the first semester of the senior year with a faculty advisor and the director of undergraduate studies. The program consists of three courses at the 300 level or higher, concentrated on related aspects of a central problem. At least one of the courses should be PHI 495, the Philosophy Honors Thesis course under the direction of the advisor and lead to the completion of an honors thesis. This paper is reviewed by the advisor and one other member of the Philosophy faculty and by a faculty member from outside the Department. The senior paper is then the focus of an oral examination. Honors are awarded upon passage of the examination.

Requirements for the Minor in Philosophy (PHI)

The minor in Philosophy requires 18 credits, which must include at least nine credits in upper-division courses. The minor must be approved by the director of undergraduate studies. Students anticipating a minor may select one of the following emphases: history of philosophy; logic, science, and technology; moral, political, and legal issues; literature and the arts. Students pursuing the Political Theory/Philosophy track in the Political Science major may fulfill the Philosophy minor with 15 PHI credits, counting two of their upper-division POL electives in place of one PHI course. Alternatively, a student may design a minor in Philosophy tailored to his or her own interests, subject to approval by the director of undergraduate studies. Courses offered for the minor must be passed with a letter grade of C or higher. No more than one 100-level course can be counted toward satisfying the minor requirements.

Undergraduate Research Tracks in Philosophy

Occasionally, Undergraduate Research tracks are offered in Philosophy. These tracks afford students special opportunities to do sophisticated and concentrated research on a particular topic in philosophy while still undergraduates. Seven courses are required over a three-year period. The first five courses provide important skills and background. In the third year, the research team, which consists of a faculty member and a small group of students, spends two semester-long research courses on a philosophical project of professional caliber, doing work that may even lead to publication. More specific information on available Under-graduate Research tracks, including particular topics and the courses designed for them, are available from the Undergraduate Office.

Study Abroad

Philosophy majors and other interested students who would like to spend a semester two abroad should consult the Depart­ment's director of undergraduate studies. With the permission of the Department, Philosophy majors may also use credits from other study abroad programs to satisfy major requirements.