Philosophy of science is a field that concerns the nature of science in general, and
of individual branches of science. This includes identifying what distinguishes good
science from bad; assessing and evaluating forms of scientific reasoning, and the
conditions under which they are most reliable; exploring what makes scientific activity
distinctive; how theories effectively explain the world, how they are confirmed or
supported, and the relation between theory, evidence, and scientific practice; how
scientists shift from one set of commitments to another; and the moral dilemmas and
social implications of science, among other philosophical issues around science. Philosophers
of science identify the core commitments of scientists and particular branches of
science; participate in the conceptual debates in the sciences; act as science critics
to help identify good from bad science; and consider how our best science bears on
long-standing philosophical problems. The best philosophy of science is well-informed
by the sciences, and often done alongside and in collaboration with scientists.
This major is designed to provide students with a technical grounding in a scientific
or social science discipline of their choosing; core knowledge in ethical, analytical,
and logical reasoning; and highly developed verbal and writing skills. Specialized
tracks provide options for students that include focused studies in ethical and social
implications of science, logical and formal reasoning, etc. Philosophy of science
majors will be highly competitive for spots in elite graduate and professional programs,
or positions in complex and technical industries.
Why major in Philosophy of Science?
Students who major in philosophy of science are going to be passionate about science
or the social sciences, and looking for a genuinely interdisciplinary major to explore
that passion. This is a major that does more than provide content across disciplines,
it draws on a multitude of disciplines that intersect students' interests around a
theme. This encourages innovative, creative, and critical thinking about scientific
and philosophical issues.
Practically speaking, many (if not most) philosophy of science majors will also be
STEM or social science majors. We designed the major around Gen Ed pathways, helping
STEM and social science majors complete their degrees efficiently. This is a great
way to enhance your science or social science major, and to give you an edge when
applying for jobs, graduate schools, or professional programs. Philosophy majors
score at or near the top of most graduate entrance exams, and we expect philosophy
of science majors will do even better. Adding a philosophy of science major to a
STEM degree will set you apart, and train you in the skills that will help you advance
Philosophy of Science Major
Philosophy of Science (core) (PHIL 3350 is required)
PHIL 3350 History & Philosophy of Science (CW) (required) PHIL 3310 Science & Society (HF) PHIL 3370 Philosophy of Biology (CW) PHIL 3375 Philosophy of Social Science PHIL 3440 Cognitive Science (HF)
PHIL 3870 Philosophy of Race (by permission only)
PHIL 301X Special Topics (by permission only)
PHIL 3380 Feminist Philosophy of Science (CW,DV)
PHIL 3950 History of Women in Science, Technology, and Medicine PHIL 4380 Philosophy of Physics
HPSCI 3900 Special Topics (2nd course by permission only)
HPSCI 3950 History of Women in Science, Technology, and Medicine
Philosophy of Science (capstone)
PHIL 5200 Advanced Deductive Logic
PHIL 5210 Advanced Inductive Logic
PHIL 5220 Rational Choice Theory
PHIL 5350 Topics in Philosophy of Science
PHIL 5360 Topics in the History of Science PHIL 5370 Topics in Philosophy of Biology
PHIL 5375 Topics in Philosophy of Social Science
PHIL 5450 Philosophy of Mind (by permission only) PHIL 5520 Advanced Bioethics
PHIL 5530 Environmental Ethics PHIL 5192 Philosophy of _____ (by permission only)
HPSCI 5900 Special Topics in HPSCI (by permission only)
Logic & Formal Methods (One inductive and one deductive)
PHIL 3200 Deductive Logic (QB,QI)
HONOR 3300 Honors Deductive Logic (QB,QI) PHIL 3210 Inductive Logic (QB,QI) PHIL 5200 Advanced Deductive Logic (QB,QI) PHIL 5210 Advanced Inductive Logic PHIL 5220 Rational Choice Theory
PHIL 3390 Tech & Design Ethics
PHIL 3520 Bioethics (HF) PHIL 3530 Environmental Ethics (HF) PHIL 3570 Research Ethics PHIL 4540 Engineering Ethics PHIL 5520 Advanced Bioethics PHIL 5530 Environmental Philosophy
History of Philosophy
Any course satisfying PHIL’s Area III History of Philosophy requirement will satisfy
this requirement (excluding PHIL 5360 History of Science)
PHIL 3013 Philosophy of _________ PHIL 3040 20th Century Analytic Philosophy PHIL 3060 20th Century Continental Philosophy PHIL 3100 Survey of Ancient Greek Philosophy PHIL 3110 Survey of Medieval Philosophy PHIL 3120 Survey of Early Modern Philosophy PHIL 3130 Survey of 19th Century Philosophy PHIL 3810 Existentialism PHIL 3850 History of African American Philosophy
PHIL 3860 History of Latin American Philosophy PHIL 4140 Classical Chinese Philosophy PHIL 5040 Advanced 20th Century Analytic PHIL 5060 Advanced 20th Century Contintental PHIL 5100 Advanced Ancient Philosophy PHIL 5110 Advanced Medieval Philosophy PHIL 5120 Advanced Early Modern Philosophy PHIL 5145 Topics in Classical Chinese Philosophy PHIL 5193 Philosophy of ____________
Any of the courses listed above, plus those designated as approved electives (see
ANTH 3134 Language, Thought, and Culture: The Anthropology of the Human Mind (BF) ANTH 3283 Sex & Gender (DV) ANTH 3245 Human Migration and Social Change (IR) ANTH 3481 Evolutionary Psychology COMM 3115 Communicating Sccience, Health, and Environment COMM 4360 Consuming Earth COMM 5360 Environmental Communication COMM 5365 Communicating Climate Change ECON 3100 Labor Economics (QI) ECON 3200 Money & Banking (QI) ECON 3500 International Economics (QI, IR) ENGL 3080 Studies in Environmental Literature (HF)
ENGL 5760 Studies in Victorian Literature (with pre-approval & permission only) ENGL 5920 Intellectual Movements (with pre-approval & permission only) HIST 4075 Introduction to the HIstory of Science HIST 4080 History of Medicine in Western Society (IR, HF) HIST 4085 History of Technology HIST 4270 Empire & Exploration (with pre-approval & permission only) LING 3300 Computers & Language LING 4160 Language & Cognition (HF) LING 4170 Biolinguistics WRTG 3014 Writing in the Sciences (CW) WRTG 3705 Rhetoric, Science, and Technology Studies (BF, HF)
Minimum Required Philosophy Courses
*Must total at least 24 credits, otherwise additional eligible courses are required
to raise total to 24 credits.
Minimum Required Science Courses
3 - 4 upper-division courses in a single discipline
The Science requirement may be met either by (a) majoring in an approved science or
social science; or (b) taking a designated number of upper-division courses in a single
scientific or social science discipline (option (b) includes specific disciplinary
requirements and constraints as detailed in Appendix B, and typically requires at
least 3 or 4 courses in a single discipline).
**Coursework must total at least 9 credits, otherwise additional eligible courses
are required to raise total to 9 credits.
Minimum Required Philosophy of Science Courses to Complete the Major
Students must satisfy both the Philosophy and the Science requirements.
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.
How to complete the Science Track:
The science track can be completed by taking one of the following paths:
1. Earn a degree in a College of Science major; 2. Earn a College of Social and Behavioral Sciences major (or other approved major) 3. Complete a Focused Disciplinary Pathway; a. 4 unique upper-division courses from a singel focused science,
social/behavioral science, or other approved discipline; and b. Satisify prerequisites for each course; and c. Coursework must total at least 11 credit hours 4. Earn an Approved Certificate or Minor from the following: a. Climate Change Certificate b. Dark Sky Studies Minor
(This is not an exhaustive list. To discuss a major not listed here contact the departmental
Pre-Approved Courses in numerical order (SPRING 2019 - Current)
* = approved as an elective; ^ = approved as HPSCI core course
PHIL 3011 Ethical and Technological Advances in Medicine (Spring 2019)* PHIL 3012 History and Philosophy of Chemistry ^ PHIL 3012 Philosophy of Forensic Science ^ PHIL 3013 History of Philosophy, Math, and Logic ^ PHIL 3012-002 Philosophy of Time Travel (Fall 2022) ^ PHIL 3013-002 Alien Invaders! Biological Invasions in Science and Science Fiction (Spring 2020)^ PHIL 5450-001 Philosophy of Mind (Fall 2022)^
Pre-requisites: As determined by ATMOS for the course below:
Four upper-division (ATMOS) courses: Courses considered for science track begin after
upper-division required courses on major sheet below. All ATMOS, BIOL, GEOG, GEO,
PHYS, MATH courses will count toward fulfillment of the science track.
Pre-requisites: As determined by HSP for the courses below.
Six upper-division courses are required:
Two upper-division courses from the HSP core curriculum. Categories are: Statistics, Health Economics, Social Epidemiology, and Research Methods.
The remaining four upper-division courses can be completed by taking HSP major approved
electives under Perspectives on Human Health (subheadings bulleted below) and Politics, Policy, Administration of Health Care:
Individual Health & Health Behaviors
Social, Cultural, and Familial Context of Health
Environmental and Ecological Perspectives
Global & Population Health Area
Note – Philosophy courses cannot be used to fulfill the science requirement, and only
one COMM course can be used.
Students interested in becoming philosophy of science majors should meet with our
advisor, Connie Corbett. There is no special admissions or application procedure. Just take our classes and
The Department of Philosophy is strongly committed to helping transfer students succeed.
If you are interested in transferring into our program from another college or university,
the best way to put yourself into a position to succeed is to complete pre-requisites
for your science and social science courses. Being able to get into the upper-division
(3000, 4000, 5000-level) science /social science courses quickly will ensure you are
able to complete the major science track in an efficient manner. The philosophy courses
included in our major will help satify a number of your General Education requirements
along the way.