This archived information is dated to the 2011-12 academic year only and may no longer be current.
For currently applicable policies and information, see the current Stanford Bulletin.
Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy
There are three ways of majoring in Philosophy:
- The General Program
- The Special Program in the History and Philosophy of Science
- The Special Option in Philosophical and Literary Thought.
A student completing any of these receives a B.A. degree in Philosophy. There is also a major program offered jointly with the Department of Religious Studies. To declare a major, a student should consult with the Director of Undergraduate Study and see the undergraduate student services administrator to be assigned an adviser and work out a coherent plan. The department recommends proficiency in at least one foreign language.
- Course requirements, minimum 55 units:
- preparation for the major: an introductory course (under 100) and 80. (PHIL 80 should normally be taken no later than the first quarter after declaring the major.) Students taking both quarters of the Winter/Spring Philosophy Introduction to the Humanities (IHUM) track can count 5 units toward the introductory Philosophy requirement.
- the core: 24 additional Philosophy units as follows:
- logic: one from 50, 150, 151, 152, 153, 154, 155, 157
- philosophy of science: any course from 60, 61, 160, 162-168
- moral and political philosophy: one from 170-174
- metaphysics and epistemology: one from 1, 80, 180-189
- history of philosophy: 100 and 102 are required of each major
- one undergraduate philosophy seminar from the 194 series.
- electives: courses numbered 10 or above, at least 13 units of which must be in courses numbered above 99.
- Units for Tutorial, Directed Reading (PHIL 196, 197, 198), The Dualist (PHIL 198), Honors Seminar (PHIL 199), or affiliated courses may not be counted in the 55-unit requirement. No more than 10 units completed with grades of 'satisfactory' and/or 'credit' may be counted in the 55-unit requirement.
- A maximum of 10 transfer units or two courses can be used for the departmental major. In general, transfer courses cannot be used to satisfy the five area requirements or the undergraduate seminar requirement. Students may not substitute transfer units for the PHIL 80 requirement.
SPECIAL PROGRAM IN HISTORY AND PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE
Undergraduates may major in Philosophy with a field of study in History and Philosophy of Science. This field of study is declared on Axess. Each participating student is assigned an adviser who approves the course of study. A total of 61 units are required for the sub-major, to be taken according to requirements 1 through 5 below. Substitutions for the listed courses are allowed only by written consent of the undergraduate adviser for History and Philosophy of Science. Students are encouraged to consider doing honors work with an emphasis on the history and philosophy of science. Interested students should see the description of the honors thesis in Philosophy and consult their advisers for further information.
- Three science courses (for example, biology, chemistry, physics) for 12 units.
- The following Philosophy (PHIL) core courses must be completed with a letter grade by the end of the junior year:
- one from 50, 150, 151, 154
- 60 or 61
- Three history of science courses.
- Three philosophy of science courses, of which one must be PHIL 164.
- Three additional courses related to the major, in philosophy or history, to be agreed on by the adviser.
- At least six courses in the major must be completed at Stanford with a letter grade. Units for Tutorial, Directed Reading, or The Dualist (196, 197, 198) may not be counted in the 61-unit requirement. No more than 10 units completed with grades of 'satisfactory' and/or 'credit' may be counted in the 61-unit requirement.
- Transfer units must be approved in writing by the Director of Undergraduate Study at the time of declaring a major. Transfer courses are strictly limited when used to satisfy major requirements.
SPECIAL OPTION IN PHILOSOPHICAL AND LITERARY THOUGHT
Undergraduates may major in Philosophy with a special option in philosophy and literature. This option is declared to the department; it is not declared on Axess, and it does not appear on the transcript or the diploma. Students in this option take courses alongside students from other major departments which also have a specialized option associated with the program for the study of philosophical and literary thought, with administrative staff in the DLCL. Each student in this option is assigned an adviser in Philosophy, and students' schedules and overall course of study must be approved in writing by the adviser, and the Directors of Undergraduate Studies of Philosophy and of the program.
A total of 65 units must be completed for this option, including the following requirements.
- Core requirements for the major in Philosophy, including:
- an introductory course
- PHIL 80
- the core distribution requirements listed in section 1b of the general program above.
- Gateway course in philosophy and literature (PHIL 81). This course should be taken as early as possible in the student's career, normally in the sophomore year.
- Three courses in a single national literature, chosen by the student in consultation with the adviser and the program director of undergraduate studies. This normally involves meeting the language proficiency requirements of the relevant literature department.
- Electives within Philosophy beyond the core requirements totaling at least 5 units, and drawn from courses numbered 100 or higher.
- Two upper division courses of special relevance to the study of philosophy and literature, as identified by the committee in charge of the program. A list of approved courses is available from the program director of undergraduate studies.
- Capstone seminar in the PHIL 194 series.
- Capstone seminar of relevance to the study of philosophy and literature, as approved by the program committee. In some cases, with approval of the Philosophy Director of Undergraduate Study and the program director of undergraduate studies, the same course may be used to meet requirements 6 and 7 simultaneously. In any case, the student's choice of a capstone seminar must be approved in writing by the Philosophy Director of Undergraduate Study and the program director of undergraduate studies.
Students are encouraged to consider doing honors work in a topic related to philosophy and literature through the Philosophy honors program.
The following rules also apply to the special option:
- Units for Honors Tutorial, Directed Reading (PHIL 196, 197, 198), The Dualist (PHIL 198), Honors Seminar (PHIL 199) may not be counted toward the 65-unit requirement. No more than 10 units with a grade of 'satisfactory' or 'credit' may be counted toward the unit requirement.
- A maximum of 15 transfer units may be counted toward the major, at most 10 of which may substitute for courses within Philosophy. Transfer credits may not substitute for PHIL 80 or 81, and are approved as substitutes for the five area requirements or PHIL 194 only in exceptional cases.
- Courses offered in other departments may be counted toward requirements 3, 5 and 7, but such courses, including affiliated courses, do not generally count toward the other requirements. In particular, such courses may not satisfy requirement 4.
- Units devoted to meeting the language requirement are not counted toward the 65-unit requirement.
Students who wish to undertake a more intensive and extensive program of study, including seminars and independent work, are invited to apply for the honors program during Winter Quarter of the junior year. Admission is selective on the basis of demonstrated ability in philosophy, including an average grade of at least 'A-' in a substantial number of philosophy courses and progress towards satisfying the requirements of the major.
With their application, candidates should submit an intended plan of study for the remainder of the junior and the senior years. It should include at least 5 units of Senior Tutorial (196) during Autumn and/or Winter Quarter(s) of the senior year. Students who are applying to Honors College may use the same application for philosophy honors. In the quarter preceding the tutorial, students should submit an essay proposal to the Philosophy undergraduate director and determine an adviser.
Students applying for honors should enroll in Junior Honors Seminar (199) during the Spring Quarter of the junior year.
The length of the honors essay may vary considerably depending on the problem and the approach; usually it falls somewhere between 7,500 and 12,500 words. This essay may use work in previous seminars and courses as a starting point, but it cannot be the same essay that has been used, or is being used, in some other class or seminar. It must be a substantially new and different piece of work reflecting work in the tutorials.
A completed draft of the essay is submitted to the adviser at the end of the Winter Quarter of the senior year. Any further revisions must be finished by the fifth full week of the Spring Quarter, when three copies of the essay are to be given to the undergraduate secretary. The honors essay is graded by the adviser together with a second reader, chosen by the adviser in consultation with the student. The student also provides an oral defense of the thesis at a meeting with the adviser and second reader. The essay must receive a grade of 'A-' or better for the student to receive honors.
Honors tutorials represent units in addition to the 55-unit requirement.