Requirements for the A.B. in Philosophy
Please note: The philosophy major was substantially revised in 2023. Students who declared the major in 2021-2022 or 2022-2023 should consult previous versions of the Undergraduate Bulletin for graduation requirements.
The philosophy major requires ten courses and 30 credits.
- At least 9 courses and 27 credits must be at the 2000-level or above
- At least 6 courses and 18 credits must be at the 3000-level or above
Effective for students graduating in Fall 2025 and beyond, at least 1 course and 3 credits must be at the 4000-level.
- Two University Core philosophy courses
- Two courses in Philosophical Skills
- PHIL 3001: Philosophy Writing Seminar (by end of junior year)
- Either PHIL 2501: Introduction to Logic or PHIL 4001: Symbolic Logic
- Two courses in Texts and Traditions
- Two courses in Topics
- One course in LEMMS (language, epistemology, metaphysics, mind, science)
- One course in normative philosophy
- Two electives
The Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Philosophy serves as the faculty advisor for all philosophy majors.
Integrated Writing requirement
The University Integrated Writing Requirement is fulfilled by PHIL 3001 (Philosophy Writing Seminar.) PHIL 3001 must be taken at Georgetown.
Philosophy majors can earn a Bioethics Concentration within the major by completing (along with the above requirements in the major): (a) Ethical Theory (PHIL 3202) and (b) three bioethics courses, (i) at least one of which must be an upper-level (3000+) philosophy course, (ii) no more than two of which may be offered outside the department and count toward the concentration, and (iii) no more than one of which may be offered outside the department and count toward the major. A list of the current semester’s courses that meet one or more of these requirements is available on the Bioethics Minor Courses page (http://kennedyinstitute.georgetown.edu/undergrad/minorcourses.cfm). Questions about the Bioethics Concentration should be directed to the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Philosophy or the Bioethics Minor Coordinator in the Kennedy Institute of Ethics.
Honors in Philosophy
The philosophy major offers an honors program for seniors, in which a student writes an original thesis under the supervision of a faculty mentor. A student who successfully completes the honors program will graduate with honors in philosophy.
For students graduating in Fall 2025 and beyond, honors in philosophy will require the completion of the ten courses required for the major with the addition of a four-credit yearlong thesis, for a total of 34 credits.
Students interested in applying to the honors program should contact the departmental Coordinator of Honors during the spring of junior year. The Coordinator of Honors will meet with interested students to determine eligibility and approve admission to the program.
All students admitted to the program must have the following:
- A major in philosophy
- A minimum 3.67 GPA in philosophy courses taken at Georgetown as of the semester in which the thesis work begins
- A minimum of six philosophy courses taken at Georgetown, at least three of which must be at the 3000-level or above
In unusual circumstances, a student who does not meet the second and/or third requirement above may petition the Coordinator of Honors for an exception.
The honors thesis is designed to take a full academic year to complete. During the fall semester, the student takes a one-credit pass/fail research tutorial. At the end of that semester, the student submits a detailed thesis proposal to the Undergraduate Committee. In order to advance to the second stage of the program, the proposal must be approved by the Undergraduate Committee and the student must maintain good academic standing in their philosophy courses. The student then enrolls in a three-credit tutorial in the spring semester, during which the student will complete the writing of the thesis. The thesis must be defended at the end of the semester in an oral examination, which will be conducted by a committee appointed by the Coordinator of Honors. If the thesis defense is successful, the student will receive honors in philosophy.
More information about the honors program is available on the department website and from the Coordinator of Honors.
Transfer and Study Abroad Credit
Any philosophy courses taken at institutions other than Georgetown must be reviewed and approved by the Director of Undergraduate Studies in order to count for credit in the major. Transfer students intending to major in philosophy should meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies as soon as possible to assess previous philosophy courses and plan for completion of the major. Note that the department will transfer a maximum of five philosophy courses taken at previous institutions. Philosophy majors planning to study abroad should submit their proposed plan of study to the Director of Undergraduate Studies for approval. Note that majors can transfer a maximum of three courses for a semester abroad or five courses for a full year abroad. All majors are required to complete a minimum of 18 credits in philosophy in residence at Georgetown.
Requirements for the Minor
The philosophy minor requires six courses in philosophy:
- The two courses that fulfill the university Core requirement
- Four additional courses
- For students graduating by Spring 2024, two of these courses must be at the 3000-level or above
- For students graduating in Fall 2024 and beyond, three of these courses must be at the 3000-level or above.
A maximum of two philosophy courses taken abroad or outside of Georgetown may be counted toward the minor. Any philosophy minor planning to take philosophy courses as part of a study abroad program should consult with the Director of Undergraduate Studies to determine how their proposed courses will fit into the minor.
Minor in Philosophy & Bioethics
Requirements for the Minor
For the interdisciplinary minor in Philosophy & Bioethics, a student must complete six courses. A minimum of four must be taught by the Department of Philosophy; up to two can be approved courses taught in other departments. Philosophy courses that count toward the minor include the two required Core courses in philosophy; Ethical Theory (PHIL 3202); any philosophy course that intersects significantly with bioethical issues; and up to one course in the philosophy of science. Philosophy of science courses, as well as those taught outside the Philosophy Department, must be approved by the Bioethics Minor Coordinator. Finally, at least two of the philosophy courses taken for the minor must be at the 3000-level or above. A list of the current semester’s courses that meet one or more of these requirements is available on the Bioethics Minor Courses page (http://kennedyinstitute.georgetown.edu/undergrad/minorcourses.cfm).
(For course listings for Philosophy see Schedule of Classes)