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Undergraduate Philosophy Major Requirements

This page explains the requirements for the B.A. in Philosophy at UC San Diego.

There are many reasons to consider a major in philosophy. Some students with a primary major in philosophy pursue graduate studies and ultimately go on to an academic career as professors. Others go to professional schools that prepare them for careers in the private or public sector. Many students find that undergraduate work in philosophy is an especially good preparation for law school (one study showed that the mean LSAT score for philosophy majors was higher than it was for both pre-law and political science majors). Other students combine a major (or minor) in philosophy with another primary major. We have majors who are also majoring in history, political science, psychology, cognitive science, computer science, economics, mathematics, and biology. Sometimes this can be a strategic choice to enhance a professional school application, but more often it reflects students discovering a passion for philosophy in the course of pursuing another major. 

A major in philosophy requires a total of 15 courses. Majors may choose to structure their electives according to the Optional Areas of Emphasis described here.

PART I: General Requirements

  • the B.A. in Philosophy requires a total of 15 courses; at least 12 must be upper-division courses
  • all courses applied toward the major must be taken for a letter grade
  • all courses applied toward the major must be passed with a grade of C- or better
  • a GPA of 2.0 must be maintained for all courses applied toward the major
  • courses numbered 191-199 (Honors and Directed Studies Courses) do not apply toward the requisite 15 courses
  • courses repeated for credit can be applied toward the major by petition only

PART II: Core Requirements

The major in Philosophy must satisfy the 6 core requirements (8 courses total). These requirements are described in the General Catalog. To satisfy the core requirements, the major must take 8 courses from the table below. 

The History of Philosophy Sequence must be completed in order. For Moral and Political Philosophy, Metaphysics and Epistemology, and Philosophy of Science, choose 1 course from the course boxes. Each course can satisfy only one requirement.

Requirement Course No. Course Title
I. Lower-Division Logic Phil 10 Introduction to Logic
II. Upper-Division Logic Phil 120 Symbolic Logic I
III. History of Philosophy Sequence

(must be completed in order)
Phil 110

Phil 111

Phil 112
History of Philosophy: Ancient

History of Philosophy: Early Modern

History of Philosophy: Late Modern
IV. Moral and Political Philosophy

(choose one)
Phil 160

Phil 161

Phil 166

Phil 167
Ethical Theory

Topics in the History of Ethics

Classics in Political Philosophy

Contemporary Political Philosophy
V. Metaphysics & Epistemology

(choose one)

Phil 130

Phil 131

Phil 132

Phil 134

Phil 136


Topics in Metaphysics


Philosophy of Language

Philosophy of Mind

VI. Philosophy of Science

(choose one)
Phil 145

Phil 146

Phil 147

Phil 149

Phil 150

Phil 151

Phil 152
Philosophy of Science

Philosophy of Physics

Philosophy of Biology

Philosophy of Psychology

Philosophy of Cognitive Science

Philosophy of Neuroscience

Philosophy of Social Science

PART III: Electives

In addition to the core requirements, 7 philosophy electives are required. Some students may wish to take a sampling of philosophy courses to complete their electives while others may want to choose a particular focus for their elective classes. If you wish to have a focus for your electives, see Optional Areas of Emphasis.

PART IV: Worksheet

Use the attached worksheet for tracking your courses toward fulfillment of the major.

NOTE:  Of the 15 courses required for the major, at least 12 must be upper-division courses.

Declare a Philosophy Major

online major/minor tool