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Major in Philosophy of Science

About the Philosophy of Science Major

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 your career.


Course Requirements

Philosophy of Science Major



Eligible Courses

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


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 below).

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

Philosophy of Science Major Checklist

Atmospheric Sciences
Computer Science
Environmental & Sustainability Studies

Geology & Geophysics
Health, Society, & Policy

Political Science

(This is not an exhaustive list. To discuss a major not listed here contact the departmental advisor.)

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)^

See the courses list located on the undergraduate tab.

Pre-requisites: none

Four upper-division (ANTH) courses at the 3000 or 5000-level are required.

Anthropology Major:

How do I declare an ANTH major?

Pre-requisites: As determined by PHYS/ASTR for the courses below.

Four upper-division (PHYS/ASTR) courses are required:

  • PHYS 3740 – Introduction to Quantum Theory and Relativity

  • Two upper-division ASTR courses (3000-5000-level)

  • One of the following lab courses:
    • PHYS 3410 – Foundations of Modern Optics
      • Hyperlink:

    • PHYS 3610 – Electronics for Scientific Instrumentation

    • PHYS 3719 – Physics Undergraduate Laboratory

    • PHYS 3730 – Computing in Physics and Astronomy 1

    • ASTR – 4060 – Observational Astronomy for Scientists

Astronomy and Astrophysics Major Emphasis:

How do I declare an ASTR major?

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.

Atmospheric Sciences Major:

How do I declare an ATMOS major?


  • BIOL 1610 – Fundamental Principles of Biology I
  • BIOL 1620 – Fundamental Principles of Biology II

Four upper-division courses are required:

  • Two BIOL courses from the same emphasis
  • One 3000-level BIOL course
  • One 5000-level BIOL course

Biology Major:

How do I declare a BIOL major?

Pre-requisites: As determined by CHEM for the courses below:

Four upper-division (CHEM) courses are required:

(Courses can be substituted depending on emphasis)

  • CHEM 3000 – Quantitative Analysis
  • One of the following:
    • CHEM 3060 – Quantum Chemistry and Spectroscopy
    • CHEM 3070 – Thermodynamics and Chemical Kinetics
  • One 3000-level CHEM course
  • One CHEM 5700 or higher lab course

Chemistry Major:

How do I declare a CHEM major?

Pre-requisites: As determined by GEOG for the courses below:

Successfully earning the Climate Change Certificate will be treated as satisfying the science track for the major;

Climate Change Certificate Requirements:

How do I declare the Climate Change Certificate?

Pre-requisites: As determined by CS for the courses below:

Four upper-division (CS) courses are required:

  • Course options that fulfill track: CS 3500, CS 3505, CS 3810, CS 4150, CS 4400, CS 3100, CS 3200, CS 4000

Computer Science Major:

How do I declare a CS major?

(Offered through College of Architecture and Planning, City and Metropolitan Planning Department)

Pre-requisites, as determined by CMP for the courses below:

Six courses required:

  • CMP 3850 – Dark Sky Studies: Lightscapes
  • CMP 3851 – Dark Sky Studies: Nightscapes
  • CMP 4282 – Dark Sky Studies: Capstone

Electives: Choose 3 upper-division (3000-level or above) courses from approved electives list

Dark Sky Studies Minor:

How do I declare a Dark Sky Studies Minor?


  • ECON 2010: Principles of Microeconomics
  • ECON 2020: Principles of Macroeconomics
  • ECON 3620: Mathematics for Economists
  • ECON 4010: Intermediate Microeconomic Analysis
  • ECON 4020: Intermediate Macroeconomic Analysis

Five upper-division (ECON) courses are required (excluding the pre-requisite upper-division courses). Courses that satisfy track requirements are located under ECON Electives

  • Three upper-division ECON courses (3000-4000)
  • Two ECON 5000-level courses

Economics Major:

How do I declare an ECON major:


  • ENVST 2000 – Environmental & Sustainability Studies 1st year seminar
  • ENVST 2050 – Introduction to Environmental Science
  • ENVST 2100 – Introduction to Environmental & Sustainability Studies

Other pre-requisites:

  • ENVST/GEOG 3210 – Global Climate Change
  • ENVST 3364 – Challenges to Global Sustainability
  • ENVST 3365 – Environmental Justice
  • One of:
    • POLS 3390 – Introduction to Environmental & Sustainability Policy
    • POLS 5322 – Environmental Policy
    • POLS 5510 – Water Policy & Politics

Students must also satisfy any other pre-requisites required for elective courses.

Four upper-division courses are required:

  • One methods course (from any ENBST emphasis methods course lists)
  • Three upper-division electives from any ENVST emphasis elective lists

Environmental Science Major:

How do I declare an ENVST major:


  • GEOG 1000 – Earth Environments and Global Change


  • GEOG 1400 – Human Geography

Four upper-division (GEOG) courses are required. GEOG 3020, GEOG 3100, two upper division courses from physical or human geography course lists. One at the 3000-level, and one must be 5000-level

  • GEOG 3020 – Geographical Analysis
  • GEOG 3100 – Intro to GIS & Cartography
  • One 3000 – level GEOG course (from physical or human list)
  • One 5000 – level GEOG course (from physical or human list)

Geography Major:

How do I declare a Geography Major?


  • GEO 1100 – Evolving Earth
  • GEO 2100 – Reactive Earth
  • GEO 2500 – Wasatch in the Field

Six courses are required:
Any two courses selected from: 

    • GEO 3010 – Geophysics
    • GEO 3020 – Mineralogy
    • GEO 3030 – Living with Earthquakes & Volcanoes
    • GEO 3040 – Sedimentology & Stratigraphy
    • GEO 3050 – Petrogenesis of Igneous & Metamorphic Rocks
    • GEO 3180 – Paleobiology
    • GEO 3250 – Geology of Utah
    • GEO 3300 – The Water Planet
    • GEO 3800 – The Oceans
    • GEO 4060 – Structural Geology & Tectonics
    • GEO 5000 – 5999

1 General Environmental Course

1 Carbon Cycle Course

1 Physical Hydrology Course

1 Chemical Hydrology Course

(See the major requirement sheet for eligible classes in each of the final four categories)

Geology Major:

How do I declare a Geology major?

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.

Health, Society, and Policy Major:

How do I declare a HSP major?

Pre-requisites: As determined by H&K for the courses below.

Four upper-division major core courses are required. If you are pursuing a track within the major please let the PHIL advisor know, as there are additional upper division classes to consider:

  • Kinesiology
  • Community Health Education & Worksite Wellness
  • Health & Physical Education Teaching
  • Nuclear Medicine
  • Emergency Medical Services

Health & Kinesiology Major:

How do I declare H & K major?

Pre-requisites: As determined by LING for the courses listed below.

Five upper-division (LING) courses are required:

  • 3 upper-division LING courses (recommended classes are major core and electives)
  • 2 upper-division classes from two cognate disciplines (Computer Science, Biology, Anthropology, Psychology, Communication Sciences & Disorders)

Linguistics Major:

Linguistics Program 4-Checklist: Worksheet

How do I declare a Linguistics major?

Pre-requisites: As determined by MATH for the courses below.

Three upper-division (MATH) courses are required:

  • MATH 3210 – Foundations of Analysis 1
  • Two math courses at or above 4200 that count toward fulfillment of the math major.

Mathematics Major:

How do I declare a math major?

Pre-requisites: As determined by PHYS/ASTR for the courses below.

Four upper-division courses are required:

  • PHYS 3740 - Introduction to Quantum Theory and Relativity
  • Two upper-division PHYS courses
  • PHYS 3719 - Physics Undergraduate Laboratory

Physics major:

How do I declare a physics major?


  • POLS 1100 – US National Government

Three of the following courses:

  • POLS 2100 – Introduction to International Relations
  • POLS 2200 – Introduction to Comparative Politics
  • POLS 2300 – Introduction to Political Theory
  • POLS 2700 – Introduction to Public Administration

Four upper-division POLS courses are required:

  • A maximum of one internship (HNKLY) course for a minimum of three credit hours may be used toward fulfillment of this requirement.
  • One course must be a POLS 5000-level course.

Political Science Major:

Political Science Degree Checklist

How do I declare a POLS major?

Pre-requisites: As determined by PSY for the courses below.

Four upper-division PSY courses are required:

  • Developmental – one course at 3000-level
  • Social – one course at 3000-level
  • Clinical – one course at 3000-level
  • Cognitive – one course at 3000-level
  • Behavior/Neuroscience – one course at 3000-level

Psychology Major:

Psychology Major Checklist

How do I declare a PSY major?

History and Elective Course Options

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 sign up!

Transfer Students 

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. 


Last Updated: 9/27/22