The School of Humanities
Philosophy is best described as the attempt to think clearly and deeply about the fundamental questions that arise for us as human beings. What is the nature of knowledge (epistemology)? How are we to distinguish between what really is and what only seems to be (metaphysics)? What is the right thing to do (ethics)? Is there any meaning to existence? To study the history of philosophy is to study the best, most enduring answers that have been given to these questions in the past. Because every other field of study adopts some stance toward these questions, though often implicitly, philosophical issues arise in the natural and social sciences, history, linguistics, literature, art, and so on. Special courses in philosophy deal with each of these. Characteristic of philosophy are commitments to the construction and evaluation of arguments, to expressing thoughts clearly and precisely, and to defending one’s ideas and evaluating the ideas of others. The study of philosophy thus provides resources for critical participation in all realms of human endeavor.
The graduate program trains students to teach and pursue research in the main areas of department concentration: ethics (especially bioethics) and social and political philosophy, core portions of analytic philosophy (especially philosophy of mind), history of philosophy, and continental philosophy.
Upon completing the BA degree, students majoring in Philosophy will be able to:
For general university requirements, see Graduation Requirements. Students pursuing the BA degree with a major in Philosophy (PHIL) must complete:
Students who are pursuing two majors (i.e., are double majors) and have declared PHIL must complete a minimum of 9 courses (27 credit hours) to satisfy major requirements. Double majors who drop their second major are required to meet the requirements listed for single majors.
CORE REQUIREMENTSStudents must complete a total of 6 courses (18 credit hours) to satisfy the Philosophy major's Core Requirements.
Core CoursesStudents must complete a total of 3 courses (9 credit hours) as listed below.
AreasStudents must complete at least 1 course (3 credit hours) from each of the following Area course lists for a total of 3 courses (9 credit hours):
History Students must complete 1 course (3 credit hours) from the following:
Core Analytic Students must complete 1 course (3 credit hours) from the following:
Value Theory Students must complete 1 course (3 credit hours) from the following:
ELECTIVESTo fulfill the remaining Philosophy major requirements, single majors must complete a total of 4 additional courses (12 credit hours) from PHIL courses at the 300-level or above. Double majors may satisfy this requirement by completing a total of 3 courses (9 credit hours) from PHIL courses at the 300-level or above.
Qualified majors may apply before their senior year for directed research leading to a senior thesis, carried out during both semesters of the senior year. Each semester will require three credit hours; these six hours are in addition to the course hours required for the major.
To qualify for the program, students must have an approved research proposal and the agreement of a faculty member to serve as advisor for that project. Applicants will normally be required to have a GPA of 3.75 in philosophy courses and to have completed at least two upper-level courses in the distribution area of the proposed research. (See the major requirements for the definition of the distribution areas.) Applications should be submitted to the undergraduate advisor (UGA) and will be evaluated by the department.
Students who are considering applying to write a senior thesis should consult the UGA and potential advisors as early as possible. Normally students will apply before preregistration in the second semester of their junior year and will spend time during the following summer reading from a list they have developed with their advisor. The thesis normally will be between 7,500 and 15,000 words (approximately 30–60 pages) in length. Students will enroll in PHIL 411 and 412. Students accepted into the Rice Undergraduate Scholars Program should enroll in HONS 470 and 471 and will be awarded departmental honors for their work in that program if they meet the requirements in this statement. Note that acceptance into the departmental honors program is a separate process from acceptance in RUSP, as is the evaluation for departmental honors.
To be considered for honors, the senior thesis must be completed by April 1. The thesis will be read and evaluated by the advisor and a second reader chosen by the department, and the final decision on honors will be made by the entire faculty. A student will receive honors if he or she receives a grade of A+, A, or A- in PHIL 412. Completion of the major with at least a 3.5 GPA in all philosophy courses is required for departmental honors. Students who miss the April 1 deadline for thesis submission but meet the university deadline for the semester will receive a grade and credit for completed work but will not be considered for honors. Students whose thesis is not awarded honors will receive a grade and credit for completed work.
Note: Internally, the university uses the following abbreviations (4-digit codes) to identify the Philosophy undergraduate degree and major. The following is a quick reference:
Course Catalog/Schedule - Course offerings/subject code: PHIL Department Description and Code - Philosophy : PHIL Degree Description and Code - Bachelor of Arts degree: BA Major Description and Code - Major in Philosophy: PHIL
Upon completing the PhD degree program in Philosophy, students will be able to:
For general university requirements, see Graduate Degrees.
Students pursuing the non-thesis MA must satisfy the following requirements:
Students pursuing the thesis MA must satisfy the following requirements:
Students pursuing the PhD must satisfy the following requirements:
Descriptions and Codes Legend
Note: Internally, the university uses the following abbreviations (4-digit codes) to identify the Philosophy graduate degree program. The following is a quick reference:
Course Catalog/Schedule - Course offerings/subject code: PHILDepartment Description and Code - Philosophy: PHILDegree Descriptions and Codes - Master of Arts degree: MA - Doctor of Philosophy degree: PhDDegree Program Description and Code - Degree Program in Philosophy: PHIL
The official course offerings, including course descriptions, for Philosophy can be found in Rice's Course Catalog.
To view the most recent course schedule for the 2016-2017 academic year, see Rice's Course Schedule.
For additional information regarding Philosophy, see the department's website: http://philosophy.rice.edu/.