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Philosophy Major, Minor, Modified, and Honors Program

The Dartmouth Organization, Regulations and Courses (ORC) contains online information about Philosophy course requirements.

Educational Aims of the Majors and Minors in Philosophy

The study of philosophy is exciting on its own terms and it provides students with intellectual abilities to succeed in many fields of academic and professional work, as well as a basis for leading a richer, more contemplative life.

A major or minor course of study in philosophy develops a particular set of skills:

Major and minors in philosophy are able to make critical evaluation of philosophical positions and arguments using the techniques and methods of philosophy, and are able to explain the methodology itself. They are able to interpret contemporary and historical texts, reconstruct positions, follow complex lines of reasoning, expose presuppositions, weigh evidence for or against views, craft arguments, make objections and replies, offer creative answers to philosophical questions and construct independent solutions to philosophical problems.

A major or minor course of study in philosophy also develops a distinctive body of knowledge in philosophy itself. The emphasis of this study depends in part on the particular major or minor that a student pursues, whether the traditional major in philosophy, the modified major, the general minor in philosophy, or one of the special minors in philosophy.Majors in philosophy are knowledgeable about the main contemporary and historical areas, authors, concepts, methodologies, techniques and problems of philosophy.Modified majors in philosophy are well-acquainted with the main contemporary and historical areas, authors, concepts, methodologies, techniques and problems of philosophy, and understand especially the philosophical issues connected with the particular secondary field of study in the modified major (e.g., physics, history, literature, film studies, etc.).Minors in philosophy are well-acquainted with the main contemporary and historical areas, authors, concepts, methodologies, techniques and problems of philosophy.Special minors in philosophy are likewise well-acquainted with the main contemporary and historical areas, authors, concepts, methodologies, techniques and problems of philosophy. They will be especially well-versed in key areas in the emphasis of their minor study, whether in history of philosophy or moral philosophy or epistemology and metaphysics or logic and philosophy of science.

How to declare your Philosophy major:

Students are required to select a major advisor from the following list of professors of Philosophy:

Students will meet with their advisor to discuss the major and to have their major card approved. We encourage students to select an advisor based on their areas of philosophical interest. See the Faculty section of the Philosophy website for faculty Areas of Interest (http://www.dartmouth.edu/~phil/faculty/)

  1. Request a meeting with a prospective major advisor. (Note: Exemptions, special permissions, and proposals need to be addressed by the Department Chair, Professor Susan Brison)
  2. Review the requirements of the major, and fill in your major cards with your proposed course of study.
  3. Bring 3 copies of the major card to your advisor's office.
  4. Be prepared to discuss your philosophical interests, specific courses that you would like to take, and any questions you may have regarding the major.
  5. Once signed, deliver the Major Card copies:
    • One to the Philosophy Department Administrator (Thornton Rm 201).
    • One to the Registrar's Office.
    • One for your own records.
Watch for occasional email announcements (Events of Interest, Major Degree Requirements, Commencement, etc) from the Philosophy Department.

Last Updated: 9/10/13