Philosophy majors should enjoy thinking abstractly and deeply about those questions that Bertrand Russell called “ultimate questions” — questions about the coherence or reasonableness of concepts and presuppositions that most take for granted. The ultimate questions addressed in philosophy classes include the following questions: Are humans purely physical beings, or does consciousness involve nonphysical phenomena? Do humans have free will? Does God exist? Are there objective moral facts, or is morality relative to one’s culture? What moral obligations, if any, does one have to oneself and to others? Is there any justification for government? If so, to what extent is governmental power justified?

Admission into the Major

Students are expected to formally declare a major no later than the fourth semester of full-time enrollment (or at 61 semester hours for transfer students). Students can declare a major by completing the Change of Major/Minor Application online under the Student tab of myBama.

Special Opportunities

The philosophy department honors program is designed for students who wish to pursue a philosophical topic further than the seminar format permits. It also provides recognition for both having done a greater proportion of classes at the advanced level and for sustained outstanding achievement in all courses. Students graduating with honors in philosophy must complete 36 hours in philosophy with 18 hours at the 300- or 400-level and achieve a minimum GPA of 3.5 in all philosophy courses and at least a cumulative GPA of 3.3. A philosophy honors student must also write a senior essay on a philosophical topic and defend it during an oral examination. A student who is enrolled in the University Honors Program can count his/her senior essay in philosophy as completing the honors thesis in that program.

Students earning the bachelor of arts (BA) degree with a major in philosophy must complete all University, College and departmental degree requirements. These include the general education requirements, the following major requirements, all requirements for an approved minor and other sufficient credits to total a minimum of 120 applicable semester hours.

More InformationHours
Major Courses
PHL 195 or Introduction to Deductive Logic3
PHL 106 Honors Introduction to Deductive Logic
PHL 211Ancient Philosophy3
PHL 212Early Modern Philosophy3
Credit Hours Subtotal: 9
Electives
Select 12 hours of PHL electives 300 or 400 level 112
Select nine hours of PHL electives 19
Credit Hours Subtotal: 21
Total Hours30
1

A minimum of three hours from each of the following areas must be completed for a total of six hours.

Areas

Area 1: Value

Hours
PHL 221Honors Introduction to Ethics3
PHL 223Medical Ethics3
PHL 230Political Philosophy3
PHL 231Social Justice in Practice1
PHL 234Social Philosophy3
PHL 240Philosophy and the Law3
PHL 241Philosophical Issues in Criminal Law3
PHL 242Philosophical Issues in Civil Law3
PHL 243Philosophical Issues in Constitutional Law3
PHL 256Philosophy of Sport3
PHL 291Aesthetics3
PHL 292Introduction to Ethics3
PHL 332Theories of Justice3
PHL 333Global Justice3
PHL 341Law and Morality3
PHL 343Philosophical Issues in International Law3
PHL 420Special Studies in Ethics3
PHL 440Seminar on Law3
PHL 448Philosophy of Law3
PHL 455Philosophy through Documentary3

Area 2: Language, Epistemology, Mind and Metaphysics

Hours
PHL 260Mind and Nature3
PHL 264Introduction to Metaphysics3
PHL 281Introduction to Philosophy of Religion3
PHL 286Introduction to Philosophy of Science3
PHL 360Philosophy of Mind3
PHL 362Mind, Language, and Reality3
PHL 364Philosophy of Cognitive Science3
PHL 366Metaphysics3
PHL 370Epistemology3
PHL 381Philosophy of Religion3
PHL 387Philosophy and Evolution3
PHL 428Metaethics3
PHL 489Philosophy of Medicine3

Grade Point Average

A 2.0 grade point average in the major is required for completion of the degree. Please see the Grades and Grade Points section of this catalog for an explanation on grade point average calculations.

Upper-level Residency

A minimum of 12 hours of 300- and 400-level courses in the major must be earned on this campus.

Ancillary Courses

This major does not require ancillary courses.

Required Minor

This major requires the completion of a minor.

Additional Major Requirements

Students are responsible for ensuring that they have met all University, college, major and minor requirements. However, each student must meet with an adviser in the major department for academic planning and to be approved for registration each semester. College advisers are also available for additional assistance with minor, College and University requirements.

Mind and Brain Specialization

The Mind and Brain Specialization is designed for students who are interested in philosophical questions about thought, consciousness, knowledge, and the relationship between the mind and the physical world. Students in psychology, communication, English, computer science and anthropology will find that the Mind and Brain Specialization makes philosophy an attractive second major.

Completion of the Mind and Brain specialized major will be noted on the student's transcript.

Hours
Required Courses
PHL 195 or Introduction to Deductive Logic3
PHL 106 Honors Introduction to Deductive Logic
PHL 211Ancient Philosophy3
PHL 212Early Modern Philosophy3
PHL 260Mind and Nature3
Credit Hours Subtotal: 12
Electives
Select 12 hours of PHL Mind & Brain electives 112
Select any additional six hours of PHL courses that include at least one Value course6
Credit Hours Subtotal: 18
Total Hours30
1

The PHL Mind & Brain electives include the following: PHL 360 Philosophy of Mind; PHL 362 Mind, Language, and Reality; PHL 364 Philosophy of Cognitive Science; PHL 366 Metaphysics; PHL 370 Epistemology; and PHL 387 Philosophy and Evolution.

Jurisprudence Specialization

The Jurisprudence Specialization is a collection of philosophy courses of special interest to students intending careers in law or politics, or with a curiosity about the theories underpinning these institutions. It is designed to sharpen the abilities to reason, to respond to opposing arguments, and to put one’s point clearly and precisely. The specialization also provides the opportunity to explore some of the deepest questions about the law, its relation to morality, what justifies authority, and what is distinctive about legal reasoning.

Completion of the Jurisprudence specialized major will be noted on the student's transcript.

Hours
Required Courses
PHL 195 or Introduction to Deductive Logic3
PHL 106 Honors Introduction to Deductive Logic
PHL 211Ancient Philosophy3
PHL 212Early Modern Philosophy3
Select one of the following:3
Introduction to Ethics
Honors Introduction to Ethics
Political Philosophy
Social Philosophy
Select one of the following:3
Philosophy and the Law
Philosophical Issues in Criminal Law
Philosophical Issues in Civil Law
Philosophical Issues in Constitutional Law
Select one of the following:3
Mind, Language, and Reality
Epistemology
Credit Hours Subtotal: 18
Electives
Select three courses from the Jurisprudence list at the 300/400 levels 19
Select any additional three-hour PHL course3
Credit Hours Subtotal: 12
Total Hours30
1

Jurisprudence list: PHL 292 Introduction to Ethics or PHL 221 Honors Introduction to Ethics; PHL 230 Political Philosophy; PHL 234 Social Philosophy; PHL 240 Philosophy and the Law; PHL 241 Philosophical Issues in Criminal Law; PHL 242 Philosophical Issues in Civil Law; PHL 243 Philosophical Issues in Constitutional Law; PHL 256 Philosophy of SportPHL 305 Symbolic Logic; PHL 333 Global Justice; PHL 341 Law and Morality; PHL 343 Philosophical Issues in International Law; PHL 349 Legal Reasoning; PHL 440 Seminar on Law; PHL 448 Philosophy of Law.

While anyone can take these classes (subject to applicable prerequisites), if you are interested in completing either the specialized major or minor, contact Professor Kenneth Ehrenberg (kmehrenberg@ua.edu) so that you can be put on a list of students to be contacted with information relevant to applying to law school and so that Prof. Ehrenberg can help advise you as you go through the completion of the specialized program. Students completing the specialized major will receive a notation on their transcript. Also, on the basis of their performance in these classes, students completing the specialized major are eligible for The Norvin Richards Award in Philosophy and the Law, the stipend for which is approximately $1500.

Philosophy & Medicine Specialization

The Philosophy and Medicine Specialization is a series of courses introducing topics, issues, questions and problems associated the practice of medicine. While this concentration is designed for those who are planning for a career in the medical fields, it is open to any student with an interest in medicine.

Completion of the Philosophy and Medicine specialized major will be noted on the student's transcript.

Hours
Required Courses
PHL 195 or Introduction to Deductive Logic3
PHL 106 Honors Introduction to Deductive Logic
PHL 211Ancient Philosophy3
PHL 212Early Modern Philosophy3
PHL 423Advanced Seminar in Medical Ethics3
PHL 489Philosophy of Medicine3
Electives
PHL 386 or Philosophy of Science3
PHL 488 Philosophy of Mental Health
Select 3 hours at 300-400 level PHL courses3
Select 9 additional hours of any level PHL courses9
Credit Hours Subtotal: 30

A few graduates are now themselves professors of philosophy; but most years, no major pursues graduate work in philosophy. Those who seek advanced degrees pursue degrees in fields related to their second majors or in law, medicine, divinity or business. Other majors use their analytic skills to forge careers in education, information technology, finance, management and writing.

Types of Jobs Accepted

Recent graduates include a number of law students, several medical students and seminary students, and also graduate students in American studies, German, public administration, public health and business. In addition to several in business and in the military, others are employed as teachers, computer consultants and web designers.

Jobs of Experienced Alumni

Philosophy alumni include many attorneys, a banker, a chef, a chemical engineer, a CIA employee, information technology specialists, a graphics designer, ministers, musicians, physicians, professors (of philosophy, mathematics, English, and theology), a state department employee, web designers and writers.

Learn more about opportunities in this field at the Career Center