Philosophy - BA

Curiosity matters! Philosophers and those who are philosophically minded have long asked key questions, evaluated possibilities and arrived at those answers that have shaped and reshaped who we are, how we do things, and how we understand the world in which we live. The study of philosophy is not the study of antiquated views. It is not the study and use of a single method. The study of philosophy transforms intellectual curiosity into a potent, flexible set of skills by inculcating the ability to identify unstated assumptions, to take a critical attitude towards the information that others accept, and to evaluate and articulate the reasons that compel us to do and believe things. Philosophy is what college is all about: delving deeply into subjects that matter to you, while cultivating skills that will carry you the rest of your life.

Educational economists, such as G. Duncan, remind us that jobs that pay well are increasingly requiring employees to be able to solve unexpected problems as team members. In a world that is typified by unpredictable and complex professions, professionals who can cross intellectual boundaries and make connections between previously discrete domains of knowledge are primed to resolve unexpected problems; they are primed to succeed. While there is no single path to success, there is a set of skills that can help solve unexpected problems. Creativity researchers have identified two key factors: breadth of learning and an aptitude for broad conceptual thinking. You cannot combine what you don’t know and you cannot combine if you have not cultivated an ability to move freely among conceptual categories. Philosophy is among the best intellectual activities for cultivating creative, critical thinking. Indeed, philosophy students typically score among the top in entrance exams for graduate school (GRE), and professional schools for law (LSAT) and business (GMAT) within national rankings.

The Department of Philosophy supports breadth of learning and broad conceptual thinking while offering a degree program with maximum flexibility. At its core are a limited number of requirements including three courses in the history of philosophy. These courses enable students to step outside of their own world-view and learn how to understand and critique unfamiliar perspectives. Students also take a course in formal logic in fulfillment of one of their core math requirements. Formal logic requires that students use one of the highest forms of reasoning in the taxonomy of learning: creative thinking. There is no algorithm for constructing a formal proof. Students who study formal logic learn a system, and use that system to create their own proofs.

In addition to history and logic, students are free to select among a range of courses that allow them to better understand the limits of knowledge, the limits of scientific thinking, the theories behind our legal and political system, the foundations of ethics, and more. In addition to traditional course work, high-achieving students in philosophy can undertake a sustained research project in the form of an honor’s thesis, serve as Editor for our undergraduate journal, or complete internships either within the department or in other professional settings.

Students pursuing the BA in Philosophy have the option of pursuing early admission to Texas A&M's School of Law. Under this plan, students can complete both degrees in 6 years rather than 7 by double-counting 18 hours of first-year law classes towards both degrees. Participation requires formal application to and admission by the School of Law during year 3. Admission is fully at the discretion of the School of Law. Careful planning is key, so interested students should work closely with an advisor from their first semester of study. 

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
FallSemester Credit Hours
ENGL 104 Composition and Rhetoric 3
Select one of the following: 3
Contemporary Moral Issues  
Technology and Human Values  
Philosophy of Education  
Introduction to Philosophy  
Introduction to Hip-Hop Philosophy  
Ethics in a Digital Age  
Latin American Philosophy  
Foreign language 1 4
Government/Political science 3
Mathematics 3
 Semester Credit Hours16
Spring
PHIL 240 Introduction to Logic 3
Select one of the following: 3
Public Speaking  
Communication for Technical Professions  
Argumentation and Debate  
Writing about Literature  
Technical and Business Writing  
Foreign language 1 4
Government/Political science 3
Life and physical sciences 3
 Semester Credit Hours16
Second Year
Fall
American history 3
Foreign language 1 3
Language, philosophy and culture 2 3
Life and physical sciences 3
Social and behavioral sciences 3
General elective 1
 Semester Credit Hours16
Spring
American history 3
Foreign language 1 3
Life and physical sciences 3
Social and behavioral sciences 3
Philosophy elective 3 3
 Semester Credit Hours15
Third Year
Fall
Select one of the following: 3
Indian and Oriental Religions  
Classical Philosophy  
Medieval Philosophy  
Creative arts 3
Literature directed elective 3
Philosophy elective 3 3
General elective 3
 Semester Credit Hours15
Spring
Select one of the following: 3
Nineteenth Century Philosophy  
American Philosophy  
Recent British and American Philosophy  
Phenomenology  
Existentialism  
Language, philosophy and culture or creative arts 2 3
Literature directed elective 3
Philosophy elective 3 3
General elective 3
 Semester Credit Hours15
Fourth Year
Fall
PHIL 412
Seventeenth-Century Philosophy
or Eighteenth-Century Philosophy
3
Philosophy elective 3 3
General elective 3
General elective 3
General elective 3
 Semester Credit Hours15
Spring
Philosophy elective 3 3
Philosophy elective 3 3
General elective 3
General elective 3
 Semester Credit Hours12
 Total Semester Credit Hours120

Graduation requirements include 3 hours of International and Cultural Diversity courses and 3 hours of Cultural Discourse courses. A course satisfying a Core category, a college/department requirement, or a free elective can be used to satisfy this requirement. The required 6 hours may be met by courses satisfying other areas of a degree program. See your academic advisor for further information.

30 credits minimum. A grade of C or higher is required for a course to be counted in the major field.