Current Students

Follow these links for more information about the following:

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

Academic Advising for Philosophy Majors

About the Philosophy BA Program

The Philosophy BA covers the core areas of philosophy:

  • Ethics
  • Metaphysics
  • Epistemology
  • Logic
  • 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.

Academic Advising for Philosophy Minors

Philosophy Minor

The minor in philosophy is modeled after our major requirements and consists of twenty-four units of philosophy coursework, including a GE Area C2 course and a senior level seminar course in philosophy. Philosophy minors can satisfy other GE requirements within the minor as well. Philosophy minor requirements for 2021-22 are available in the Catalog.

Students who have already declared the philosophy minor and who seek to customize their philosophy minor in ways that deviate from the standard requirements should meet with one of our minor advisors to arrange for changing your catalog requirements for the minor to 2021-22, or discuss substitutions.

Philosophy minors may meet with our minor 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 (Philosophy Minor Advisor)
  • Kenneth Brown (Philosophy Department chair)

The office hours of our minor advisors see the Philosophy Faculty and Staff directory

Minors Closely Related to Philosophy

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:

Need a Form?

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.

Make an appointment to see the PHIL and WIT minor advisor to discuss your plans for the minor. Minors need these forms both to declare the minor and to list any necessary substitutions:

Once the student initiates the form and completes their information the advisor will approve the form and arrange for substitutions if needed. The approved form will go to the Registrar’s office and the student will automatically receive a signed copy for their records.

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.

What Can You Do with Your Philosophy Degree?

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

Thinking About Graduate School?

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:

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