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Requirements for the Minor in Philosophy

new_wide_p_white_backgroundPhilosophical inquiry encompasses a wide range of topics, across a wide range of disciplines, including interrelations between disciplines. Nearly every academic discipline is a historical outgrowth of philosophy; indeed, ‘PhD’ stands for Philosophy Doctorate – an advanced degree offered in most disciplines in the university. The knowledge and skills acquired in the study of philosophy are widely valued both for practical reasons, and because of the intrinsic worth of such pursuit.

On the practical front, philosophy majors develop superior reasoning and analytical skills, helping explain why philosophers majors excel on such Grad School entrance exams as the GRE, LSAT, MCAT, and GMAT. Employers value problem solving skills, along with an aptitude for clear expression of ideas (both spoken and written); these abilities are developed in every philosophy course. As for intrinsic value, it is sometimes said that intellectual inquiry is as much about the journey, as about a destination – “It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end” (Ernest Hemingway). The study of great ideas and of history's greatest thinkers is valuable in its own right, helping bring an increased sense of meaning to one's life.

(Further information about the value of a philosophy major.)

The degree requirements in philosophy allow students to tailor their course of study. A well-designed program is appropriate not only for students whose primary interest is the study of philosophy, but for various pre-professional students (for example, those planning on law school or medical school). Philosophy is also very popular as a second Major, because philosophical study tends to reinforce a deep understanding of the issues of interest to other disciplines.

Required coursework for philosophy students is organized around four main areas of study: Ethics and Values; Metaphysics and Epistemology; History of Philosophy; Logic and Formal Methods. The specific requirements are explained below.

Note that the requirements below supplement the University Baccalaureate Degree requirements. Refer to the General Catalog for this information. You can obtain a copy of the General Catalog at the University of Utah Bookstore.

The Minor in Philosophy calls for a minimum of 18 units of philosophy coursework that meets the following five requirements:

 Area Requirement

Students are to take courses from the four Areas in the summary table below, in the quantities indicated:

Areas Minimum Qualified Courses
Ethics and
Value Theory
3011*, 3500, 3510, 3520, 3530, 3700, 3710
3720, 3730, 3740, 3750, 3800, 3820, 4540, 5130,
5191*, 5500, 5510, 5520, 5530, 5540, 5700, 5710, 5800
Metaphysics and
3012*, 3300, 3310, 3350, 3370, 3375,
3400, 3440, 3600, 4380, 4400, 4450, 4480, 5192*, 5300,
5350†, 5370†, 5375†, 5400*, 5450, 5480*
History of
3013*, 3810, 4110, 4120, 4130,
4140, 5040, 5060, 5110,
5120*, 5150*, 5193*, 5360
Logic and
Formal Methods
1250, 3200, 3210, 5200,
5210, 5220

* These courses typically have variable content and may be taken multiple times, each time counting as a new and separate course, so long as the course content is different.

† These courses sometimes have variable content, in which case they may be taken multiple times. Check with instructor for permission to take a second time.

Full COURSE TITLES and DESCRIPTIONS at bottom of this page

Students elect the particular courses (from each of the above Areas) that they wish to take. Those who are just starting the degree should simply start taking courses of interest, in each of the four areas, beginning with courses at the 3000 or 4000 - level. As for prerequisites, before taking any 5000-level course students  must have completed one 3000 or 4000-level course from that same Area; exceptions must be aproved by the instructor of the 5000-level course. Be sure to talk with an advisor if you would like any further guidance about which courses to take.

 Advanced Course Requirement

At least one course of the total 18 units must come from the 5000-level (or higher). These advanced courses do at the same time satisfy an Area Requirement, as indicated in the above table. (Note: the Advanced Course Requirement may not be satisfied by "independent study" coursework.)

Elective Requirement

Additional courses may be needed to bring your total to 18 units. Every course the philosophy department offers counts towards the Elective Requirement. Note that two kinds of courses count only towards this requirement, not meeting any other requirement. First, all lower division courses count as electives (i.e., 1000 level and 2000 level courses). Second, the four specifically religion-oriented courses we offer: Phil 3610 (Religions of India), Phil 3620 (Religions of China and Japan), Phil 3630 (Buddhist Thought), and Phil 3640 (World Religions). Since these courses are not primarily philosophical in content, they do not count towards any of our specific philosophy requirements, but they do count for the Elective Requirement. The historical explanation of why the philosophy department offers these courses is that U of Utah does not have a Religion Department, the natural home for such courses. Note that Phil 3600 (Philosophy of Religion) is a philosophy course, and it meets the Area II requirement.

 Grade Requirement

The Grade Requirement has three parts. First, only coursework taken for a letter grade will contribute to the above requirements; CR/NC coursework will not count. Second, no individual course receiving a grade lower than C- will count for any of the above requirements. Third, the overall grade-point average (GPA) for courses meeting the above requirements must be at least 2.00.

 Residence Requirement

Various of the above requirements may, in special cases, and with approval, be satisfied with transfer credit. Requirement 2 is an exception: in all cases, the Advanced Course Requirement must be satisfied by course work completed at the University of Utah.

End of Requirements

Course Titles

(For course descriptions, click each course title) 

Area I - Ethics and Value Theory

Area II - Metaphysics and Epistemology

 3012* Philosophy of _______

 3300 Theory of Knowledge

 3310 Science and Society

 3350 History and Philosophy of Science

 3370 Philosophy of Biology 
[formerly 4370]

 3375 Philosophy of Social Science

 3400 Mind, Language, and Reality

 3440 Cognitive Science

 3600 Philosophy of Religion

 4380 Philosophy of Physics

 4400 Metaphysics

 4450 Philosophy of Mind

 4480 Philosophy of Language

 5192* Philosophy of _______

 5300 Epistemology

 5350† Topics of Philosophy of Science

 5370† Philosophy of Biology

 5375† Topics in Philosophy of Social Science

 5400* Metaphysics

 5450 Philosophy of Mind

 5480* Philosophy of Language

Area III - History of Philosophy

Area IV - Logic and Formal Methods


Last Updated: 2/15/18