Bachelor of Arts (BA) Degree with a Major in Philosophy

Program Learning Outcomes for the BA Degree with a Major in Philosophy

Upon completing the BA degree with a major in Philosophy, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the general historical development of philosophy and develop an in depth understanding of at least one historical period or movement.
  2. Demonstrate the ability to read philosophical texts critically and with understanding of the problems and contexts.
  3. Demonstrate the cognitive and formal abilities to evaluate critically philosophical arguments.
  4. Demonstrate the ability to communicate clearly and logically their own views on a range of important philosophical problems.

Requirements for the BA Degree with a Major in Philosophy

For general university requirements, see Graduation Requirements. Students pursuing the BA degree with a major in Philosophy must complete:

  • A minimum of 10 courses (30 credit hours) from departmental (PHIL) course offerings to satisfy major requirements.
  • A minimum of 120 credit hours to satisfy degree requirements.
  • A minimum of 60 credit hours outside of major requirements. 
  • A minimum of 6 courses (18 credit hours) at the 300-level or above.

Students who are pursuing two majors (i.e., are double majors) and have declared the Philosophy major must complete:

  • A minimum of 9 courses (27 credit hours) from departmental (PHIL) course offerings to satisfy major requirements.
  • A minimum of 6 courses (18 credit hours) at the 300-level or above.

Double majors who drop the other major are required to meet the requirements listed for single majors. 

The courses listed below satisfy the requirements for this major. In certain instances, courses not on this official list may be substituted upon approval of the major’s academic advisor (or official certifier). Students and their academic advisors should identify and clearly document the courses to be taken.

Summary

Total Credit Hours Required for the Major in Philosophy (for single majors)30
Total Credit Hours Required for the Major in Philosophy (for double majors) 127
Total Credit Hours Required for the BA Degree with a Major in Philosophy 120

Degree Requirements

Core Requirements
Core Courses
PHIL 201 / CLAS 201 / MDEM 201HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY I3
PHIL 202HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY II3
PHIL 106LOGIC3
or PHIL 305 MATHEMATICAL LOGIC
Areas
History
Select 1 from the following:3
ANCIENT AND MEDIEVAL PHILOSOPHY
MODERN PHILOSOPHY
CONTINENTAL PHILOSOPHY
KANT AND 19TH CENTURY PHILOSOPHY
Core Analytic
Select 1 from the following:3
THEORY OF KNOWLEDGE
METAPHYSICS
PHILOSOPHY OF MIND
PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE
PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE
Value Theory
Select 1 from the following:3
ETHICS
SOCIAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY
PHILOSOPHY OF LAW
HISTORY OF ETHICS
HISTORY OF SOCIAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY
Elective Requirements
Select 4 electives from departmental (PHIL) courses at the 300-level or above. 2, 312
Total Credit Hours Required for the Major in Philosophy (for single majors)30
Total Credit Hours Required for the Major in Philosophy (for double majors)27
Additional Credit Hours to Complete BA Degree Requirements30-33
University Graduation Requirements *60
Total Credit Hours120

Footnotes and Additional Information

Policies for the BA Degree with a Major in Philosophy

Transfer Credit 

For Rice University’s policy regarding transfer credit, see Transfer Credit. Some departments and programs have additional restrictions on transfer credit. The Office of Academic Advising maintains the university’s official list of transfer credit advisors on their website: http://oaa.rice.edu. Students are encouraged to meet with their academic program’s transfer credit advisor when considering transfer credit possibilities. 

Departmental Transfer Credit Guidelines

Students pursuing the major in Philosophy should be aware of the following departmental transfer credit guidelines:

  • Requests for transfer credit will be considered by the program director (and/or the program’s official transfer credit advisor) on an individual case-by-case basis.
  • Transfer credit coursework from online-only courses cannot be used to count towards the major.

For additional information, please see the Philosophy website: http://philosophy.rice.edu

Opportunities for the BA Degree with a Major in Philosophy 

Academic Honors

The university recognizes academic excellence achieved over an undergraduate’s academic history at Rice. For information on university honors, please see Latin Honors (summa cum laude, magna cum laude, and cum laude) and Distinction in Research and Creative Work. Some departments have department-specific Honors awards or designations.

Distinction in Research in Philosophy

Students must submit an application to be considered for "Distinction in Research in Philosophy" by April 1. Minimum qualifications are a 3.5 GPA in philosophy courses and enrollment in Honors Thesis course PHIL 412 or the Research Seminar for majors, PHIL 407. The work to be considered must be submitted to a committee appointed by the Chair, which will include the Director of Undergraduate Studies, any Honors Thesis supervisors, and the instructor(s) of the Research Seminar. 

Senior Thesis and Departmental Honors in Philosophy  

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 3 credit hours; these 6 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 departmental director of undergraduate studies and will be evaluated by the department.

Students who are considering applying to write a senior thesis should consult the departmental director of undergraduate studies 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 PHIL 412. Students accepted into the Rice Undergraduate Scholars Program should enroll in HONS 470 and HONS 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 the beginning of April. 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 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.

See https://humanities.rice.edu/student-life for tables of fellowships, prizes, and internships/practica that may be relevant to this major.