Follow these links for more information about the following:
- Resources for Current Philosophy Students
- Academic Advising for Philosophy Majors
- Academic Advising for Philosophy Minors
- Minors Closely Related to Philosophy
- Need a Form?
- What Can You Do with Your Philosophy Degree?
- Thinking About Graduate School?
Resources for Current Philosophy Students
You probably have some idea of what philosophy is, and why studying philosophy is important that you have gathered from your experience with philosophy courses so far, but if you want to remind yourself of what we think of those topics, continue reading here.
To see recent events in the philosophy department, check out our News and Events here.
To learn about the interests of our faculty follow the links for each of them here.
Philosophy majors have the opportunity to participate in Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl competitions. If you are interested in participating in Ethics Bowl, you should have completed an ethics course such as PHIL 231 or PHIL 331, which are requirements for the major. You should also contact the director of our Ethics Bowl program by email if you have any specific questions about Ethics Bowl. For more information about our Ethics Bowl program, continue reading here.
We run an annual essay contest with prize money for the winner and runner up. For more information, continue reading here.
We run an annual student symposium where our majors and minors present their research to their peers and our faculty. For more information about the student symposium, continue reading here.
The philosophy majors have an ASI Philosophy Club. For more information, continue reading here.
Philosophy majors can serve on the Philosophy Student Advisory Committee which meets a few times each quarter to discuss the business of the department and to provide feedback on class scheduling, curriculum, hiring, alumni relations, and the use of College Based Fees in the department. For more information about the Philosophy Student Advisory Committee (PHIL SAC), continue reading here.
About the Philosophy BA Program
The Philosophy BA covers the core areas of philosophy:
- History of Philosophy
In keeping with the polytechnic mission of Cal Poly, we also require our majors to complete a course in Philosophy of Science.
Our incoming freshmen take an Introduction to Philosophy course. We also require two great books courses (Philosophical Classics) as part of our foundations for subsequent study of philosophy at an upper level. Our transfer students meet some or all of these lower-division requirements with transfer credit.
Philosophy electives, or a concentration in Ethics and Society
The Philosophy BA includes twenty units of upper-division electives. Majors may choose their own courses, including at least twelve units of 400 (i.e. senior) level coursework. Majors may instead declare the Ethics and Society Concentration for which students complete twenty units of coursework in philosophy courses specifically in those areas of study.
Students who elect to meet their major electives with the Ethics and Society Concentration will have the name of that concentration printed on their diplomas.
Philosophy BA Requirements
The current catalog description of the Philosophy BA requirements includes the following information about the Philosophy BA:
- Program Learning Objectives
- Degree Requirements and Curriculum
- Concentration or Electives
- General Education (GE) Requirements
Philosophy degree requirements for the current catalog are available here.
The list of courses for the Ethics and Society Concentration is available here.
Philosophy BA curriculum sheets and degree progress flowcharts can be found here.
The catalog lists all the philosophy courses here.
Philosophy Major Academic Advisors
Philosophy majors may meet with any of our three academic advisors to discuss progress to degree, or anything else related to the major.
The academic advisors for Philosophy majors are:
- Kenneth Brown (Philosophy Department chair)
- Ryan Jenkins
- Ava Wright
For the office hours of our major advisors see the Philosophy Faculty and Staff directory.
You can see our tentative plans for course offerings here.
Information about the philosophy senior project can be found here.
For information about enrolling in classes, meeting degree requirements, procuring permission numbers for major requirements, consult the major advisors or the department chair.
The minor in philosophy is modeled after our major requirements and consists of twenty-four units of philosophy coursework. Philosophy minors will satisfy lower and upper-division GE area C requirements within the minor.
Minors take at least one of our lower-division Philosophical Classics courses, one of our core history of philosophy courses, and one of our upper-division major requirements of ethics, philosophy of science, metaphysics, or epistemology. Philosophy minors then take additional philosophy courses as electives up to twenty-four units, including at least four units of 400 (i.e. senior) level coursework among the requirements or electives.
Students seeking to customize their philosophy minor in ways that deviate from these standard requirements should meet with one of our minor advisors to arrange for substitutions.
Philosophy minors may meet with any of our three academic advisors to discuss progress to completion of the minor, or anything else related to the minor. The academic advisors for Philosophy minors are:
- Eleanor Helms
- Kenneth Brown (Philosophy Department chair)
See the Philosophy minor advisors to discuss your choice of electives and to arrange for substitutions. For the office hours of our minor advisors see the Philosophy Faculty and Staff directory.
The Philosophy Department offers a minor in the Western Intellectual Tradition. Requirements for the minor are available at the Cal Poly Catalog. To discuss declaring the minor, or substituting requirements for the minor, please see the Western Intellectual Tradition minor director, Eleanor Helms, whose office hours are listed on the Philosophy Faculty and Staff directory.
Information about the religious studies minor can be found at the Religious Studies program website.
Some faculty in Philosophy and Religious Studies teach courses in Women's and Gender Studies, and some PHIL and RELS courses are cross-listed as WGS courses. The minors supported by the WGS department are natural extensions of study in philosophy:
Students wanting to pursue courses of study related to and including philosophy and philosophy majors wanting to extend their philosophy degree into other related areas might want to consider the following minors that include PHIL courses in their requirements or electives:
- History: Asian Studies
- Political Science: Law and Society
- Interdisciplinary Studies in Liberal Arts: Ethics, Public Policy, Science and Technology minor
- Interdisciplinary Studies in Liberal Arts: Gender, Race, Culture, Science and Technology minor
Majors and minors might need to fill out and submit some forms. Here are the most common ones our majors need:
- Philosophy major Ethics and Society Concentration declaration form
- Senior Project Agreement Form
- Independent Study: PHIL 400 — Special Problems for Advanced Undergraduates Agreement Form
You should consult with the PHIL major advisors about declaring concentrations. Senior project forms are available to those who are enrolled in PHIL 460: Senior Project I. Students seeking an independent study course should discuss their ideas with the instructor and the department chair, who will provide the form.
Minors need these forms both to declare the minor and to list any necessary substitutions:
- Philosophy Minor Declaration Form
- Western Intellectual Tradition minor declaration form
Make an appointment to see the PHIL and WIT minor advisor to discuss your plans for the minor. The minor advisor can provide these forms and arrange for substitutions.
For declaration forms and information about the Religious Studies minor, see the Religious Studies website.
Many other forms come from the Registrar, and you can find them here.
You may be thinking about your post-graduate career. The good news is that Cal Poly philosophy majors generally do quite well in their post-graduate careers.
To learn about why studying philosophy is good career preparation, continue reading here.
To see the Cal Poly College of Liberal Arts Career Services events planned for the upcoming year, continue reading here.
Also, meet with the Philosophy academic advisors or any of your favorite Philosophy faculty members to discuss career prospects for philosophy majors.
A graduate degree in philosophy opens many doors — from teaching philosophy at the college level, to policy or government work, publishing, law, intelligence, and technology.
Moreover, graduate school offers an opportunity to amplify and extend your studies into philosophy, delving deeper into the subjects you enjoy and find most fascinating, and integrating into a vibrant and dynamic intellectual community.
If you are interested in attending graduate school, contact the department’s Graduate Placement Director, Ryan Jenkins. You can also consult the resources below about graduate program rankings and placement records: