The Department of Philosophy offers an A.B. Degree in Philosophy (with an optional concentration in Bioethics), a minor in Philosophy, and a minor in Philosophy and Bioethics.
Major in Philosophy
Requirements for the A.B. in Philosophy
Students who elect philosophy as a major must fulfill the following requirements:
- Complete at least 33 credits of philosophy, 30 credits of which must be at the 100-level or above, and 21 credits of which must be at the 200-level or above;
- Complete the four-credit History of Ancient and Medieval Philosophy course (PHIL-280) and the four-credit History of Modern Philosophy course (PHIL-282);
- Complete one four-credit Text Seminar (PHIL-320), which satisfies the Integrated Writing Requirement;
- Complete one course in logic, either PHIL-151 or PHIL-350, preferably by the end of the junior year. Note: PHIL-150 will not fulfill the logic requirement in the major; and
- Complete at least one foundational course in metaphysics/epistemology (PHIL-211, PHIL-212, PHIL-213, PHIL-214, or PHIL-215) and at least one foundational course in normative theory (PHIL-230, PHIL-231, PHIL-232, PHIL-233, or PHIL-245).
A major who takes a 100-level course as one of the two courses required to fulfill the College core requirement in philosophy can thus satisfy the requirements for the major in as few as ten courses.
The Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Philosophy serves as the faculty advisor for all philosophy majors.
Integrated Writing requirement
While philosophy majors can expect to do significant writing in courses throughout the major, the four-credit Text Seminar (PHIL-320) is the department’s designated writing-intensive course. The Text Seminar focuses on the development of philosophical writing in dialogue with important philosophical texts. Successful completion of PHIL-320 fulfills the university’s Integrated Writing Requirement.
Concentration in Bioethics
Philosophy majors can earn a Bioethics Concentration within the major by completing (along with the above requirements in the major): (a) Ethical Theory (PHIL-232) and (b) three bioethics courses, (i) at least one of which must be an upper-level (200+) 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 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.
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.
Prerequisites for admission to the program are as follows:
- A major in philosophy
- A minimum 3.67 GPA in philosophy courses taken at Georgetown
- A minimum of six philosophy courses taken at Georgetown, at least three of which must be at the 200-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 front of 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.
Minor in Philosophy
Requirements for the Minor
The requirements for a minor in philosophy are six courses in philosophy: the two courses to fulfill the core requirement and four additional courses. At least two of these six courses must be at the 200-level or above. A maximum of two philosophy courses taken abroad may be counted in the minor with approval of the Director of Undergraduate Studies.
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-232); 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 200-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)