Major Requirements

For a Major in Philosophy


Director of Undergraduate Studies:
Professor Philip Kitcher, 717 Philosophy Hall, psk16@columbia.edu.

Program of Study:
Students considering a major in philosophy are strongly encouraged to meet with the director of undergraduate studies early in their sophomore year. All majors must consult the director of undergraduate studies each term before registering for classes in order to plan and update their individual programs of study.

Students planning to major in philosophy are advised to begin with PHIL UN1010. Beginning students are especially encouraged to take 2000-level courses, both in the history of philosophy and in systematic philosophy. These courses are typically less specialized and less narrowly focused than higher-numbered ones. More advanced students are encouraged to take 3000-level courses. The department requires that all majors take at least one seminar (PHIL UN3912).

Courses:

At least 30 points in philosophy, chosen from courses prefixed with UN, GU, or GR, including: 

  • PHIL UN2101 or another course in the history of ancient or medieval philosophy (e.g. PHIL UN3131)
  • PHIL UN2201 or another course in the history of late medieval or early modern philosophy (e.g. PHIL UN3237)
  • PHIL UN3411 or, in exceptional cases, a more advanced course in logic
  • At least one course in either metaphysics or epistemology (e.g. PHIL UN3601, UN3960, or a related course to be chosen in consultation with the director of undergraduate studies)
  • At least one course in either ethics or social and political philosophy (e.g. PHIL UN2702, UN3701, UN3751, or a related course to be chosen in consultation with the director of undergraduate studies)
  • At least one seminar (PHIL UN3912).

NOTE: No more than one course at the 1000-level can be counted toward the major.

NOTE: In order to enroll in one of the 4000-level courses, students must have taken at least four courses in Philosophy.

NOTE: Students may choose courses prefixed with GR only with the instructor's permission. Additionally, because these courses will be capped, students should register early.

 

For a Concentration in Philosophy

Program of study: Philosophy, as an academic discipline, has significant points of contact with a wide range of other subjects-in the humanities, the social sciences, and the natural sciences. A concentration in philosophy thus can be an attractive option for many students. Those considering becoming concentrators are strongly encouraged to meet with the director of undergraduate studies early in their sophomore year, in order to discuss their specific interests and to plan their programs of study. All concentrators should consult with the director of undergraduate studies each term before registering for courses.

Courses: At least 24 points in philosophy, chosen from courses prefixed with UN, GU, or GR. There are no specific courses required for the concentration.

NOTE: PHIL UN3912 is open to junior and senior concentrators who have taken at least four courses in philosophy. 

NOTE: Students may choose courses prefixed with GR only with the instructor's permission. Additionally, because these courses will be capped, students should register early.

 

For a Major in Economics-Philosophy

Adviser for the Economics-Philosophy Major: Professor Philip Kitcher, 717 Philosophy Hall, psk16@columbia.edu.

Please read Regulations for Economics Majors, Concentrators, and Interdepartmental Majors in the Economics section of the Bulletin.

Program of Study:
Economics-philosophy is an interdisciplinary major that, while introducing students to the basic methodologies of economics and philosophy, stresses areas of particular concern to both. These include subjects such as rationality and decision making, justice and efficiency, freedom and collective choice, the logic of empirical theories and their testing. Many of the issues are dealt with historically, and classic texts of Plato, Kant, Mill, Marx, and Smith are reviewed.

Two advisers are assigned for the interdepartmental major, one in the Department of Economics and one in the Department of Philosophy.  Please note that the economics adviser can only advise on the economics requirement and the philosophy adviser can only advise about on the philosophy requirements.

The departmental advisers strongly encourage prospective majors to discuss the major early in their sophomore year. Each major is expected to talk to the departmental advisers in the middle of his or her junior year and at the beginning of his or her senior year.

Required courses: This program requires a total of 44 points: 16 points in economics, 15 points in philosophy, 6 points in mathematics, 3 points in statistics, and 4 points in the interdisciplinary seminar, ECPH W4950.

Economics Core Courses (10 points):

  • ECON UN1105, Principles of Economics

  • ECON UN3211 Intermediate Microeconomics

  • ECON UN3213 Intermediate Macroeconomics

Mathematics (6 points)

Statistics (3 points)

Economics Electives (6 points)

Philosophy Courses (15 points):

  • PHIL UN1010 Methods and problems of philosophical thought

  • PHIL UN3411 Symbolic Logic

  • PHIL UN3701 Ethics (or another adviser-approved course in moral or political philosophy)

  • PHIL UN3551 Philosophy of Science or PHIL UN3960 Epistemology

  • PHIL GU4561 Probabilty and Decision Theory or PHIL GU4565 Rational Choice

Seminar (4 points)

  • ECPH UN4950 Economics and Philosophy Seminar (or another seminar in philosophy or economics approved by advisers in both department)

Students who declare in Spring 2014 and beyond:
In addition to the above requirements, students are required to take:
1. ECON UN3412 Introduction To Econometrics
2. A third economics elective; two of the three electives must be from the prescribed list found in the Economics section of the Bulletin, and the remaining economics elective may be any elective at the 3000-level or above.

 

Senior Theses

Undergraduates majoring in Philosophy or Economics-Philosophy may apply to write a Senior Thesis.   Students who wish to write a thesis should approach a faculty member at the end of their junior or beginning of their senior year, and begin working on the application early in the Fall semester of their senior year.   Applications are due in early December, and will be reviewed by a committee which will include the Director of Undergraduate Studies; students will be notified of the committee’s decision within two weeks.   Students whose applications are approved should register for their faculty advisor’s section of Supervised Senior Research for the Spring term of the senior year.   Theses are due in early April.  All students who complete theses will be considered for Departmental Honors.

 

Departmental Honors

Departmental honors are highly competitive.  Normally no more than 10% of the majors graduating in the department each year will receive departmental honors.  

In order to qualify for departmental honors in philosophy, a student must have a grade point average of at least 3.6 in the major.  

For students with a GPA of 3.6 or above, there are two possible routes to consideration:

1. A student may complete a senior thesis; all students who complete senior theses will be considered for honors.

2. A student may be nominated by a faculty member early in the spring semester of the senior year; nominated students will be invited to submit a writing sample.  A nominated student who is also writing a thesis may submit their thesis as the writing sample, or may choose to submit a different work.

Both the senior theses and writing samples are due in early April.  The departmental honors committee will then review the submitted material and the academic records of the writers, and will report to the full faculty.  

The full faculty will then decide which students to recommend for departmental honors to the Columbia College and General Studies administrations.

 

Courses of Instruction

In the listing, the designator PHIL (Philosophy) is understood to precede all course numbers for which no designator is indicated. The following designators also appear in abbreviated form: CSPH (Computer Science-Philosophy) and ECPH (Economics-Philosophy).

NOTE:  Courses in which a grade of D has been received do not count toward the major or concentration.