Catalog Year: 2023-2024
Banner Code: LA-BA-PHIL-PHLW
The Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy examines how philosophers have answered some of the most enduring questions about human existence, while exploring how those answers continue to inform our thinking in the present. Students gain a deeper understanding of philosophy’s relevance to key contemporary issues—such as global warming, social justice and the defense of human rights, or the relationship between science and religion. Students can use this major as preparation for professions such as law or government service, as a pathway to graduate work, or to complement other interests by taking a double major in philosophy and a related field of study.
The University Catalog is the authoritative source for information on program requirements and courses. The Schedule of Classes is the authoritative source for information on classes scheduled for this semester. See the Schedule for the most up-to-date information and see Patriot web to register for classes. Requirements may be different for earlier catalog years. See the University Catalog archives.
Highly-qualified students may apply to the honors program in the major. Students can apply in their second semester as a junior, before they have completed 90 credits and should have a minimum GPA of 3.50 in the major. Eligible students should submit a brief letter of application, explaining why they wish to graduate with honors; their most up-to-date transcript; one letter of recommendation from a member of the philosophy faculty; and one writing sample, a paper from one of the student’s courses in philosophy.
To receive honors in the major, students must complete 3 credits of PHIL 422 Honors Seminar (Mason Core) and 3 additional credits in any 400-level philosophy course or a philosophy graduate course that can be taken for undergraduate credit. To graduate with honors in philosophy, students must complete these courses with a minimum GPA of 3.50.
Total credits: minimum 120
Students should be aware of the specific policies associated with this program, located on the Admissions & Policies tab.
Students interested in a degree in philosophy with a concentration will complete the following coursework.
The concentration in philosophy and law offers philosophy majors the opportunity to focus their study of philosophy in a way that prepares them for the study of the law.
In addition to the specific courses listed below, other relevant courses may be applied to the requirements for this concentration with prior written approval of the undergraduate director.
|PHIL 173||Logic and Critical Thinking||3|
|or PHIL 376||Symbolic Logic|
|History of Philosophy|
|PHIL 301||History of Western Philosophy: Ancient||3|
|PHIL 303||History of Western Philosophy: Modern||3|
|Select one course from the following: 1||3|
|Issues in Analytic Philosophy|
|American Philosophy: Pragmatism|
|Philosophy, Race, and Gender 2|
|Theories of Ethics|
|Philosophy of Art 2|
|Philosophy of the Social Sciences 2|
|Ethics and Economics|
|Philosophy of the Natural Sciences|
|Theory of Knowledge|
|Philosophy of Mind|
|Theories of Decision|
|Select one course from the following: 1||3|
|Karl Marx's Social and Political Thought|
|Twentieth-Century Continental Thought: Existentialism|
|Twentieth-Century Continental Thought: Phenomenology|
|Philosophy, Race, and Gender 2|
|Recent Continental Philosophy|
|Philosophy of Art|
|Philosophy of the Social Sciences 2|
|Philosophy and Law|
|PHIL 311||Philosophy of Law||3|
|Select two courses from the following:||6|
|Classical Western Political Theory|
|Modern Western Political Theory|
|Contemporary Western Political Theory|
|Advanced Topics in Social and Political Philosophy|
|Advanced Democratic Theory|
|Ethics and International Politics|
|Electives in Philosophy|
|Select three electives from any philosophy courses including those listed above that are not used to meet another requirement.||9|
When the subject matter is appropriate and with the prior written approval of the undergraduate director, PHIL 391 Special Topics in Philosophy, PHIL 421 Seminar (Mason Core), PHIL 422 Honors Seminar (Mason Core), or PHIL 425 Independent Study may be used to fulfill this requirement.
Only with departmental approval.
The university requires all students to complete at least one course designated "writing intensive" in their majors at the 300 level or above. All senior seminars (PHIL 421 Seminar (Mason Core), PHIL 422 Honors Seminar (Mason Core)) in philosophy are writing intensive. Philosophy majors should consult the undergraduate director for other courses that can be taken to fulfill this requirement.
Students seeking a bachelor’s degree must apply at least 45 credits of upper-level courses (numbered 300 or above) toward graduation requirements.
Any remaining credits may be completed with elective courses to bring the degree total to 120.
In addition to the Mason Core program, students pursuing a BA degree must complete the coursework below. Except where expressly prohibited, a course used to fulfill a college level requirement may also be used simultaneously to satisfy other requirements (Mason Core requirements or requirements for the major).
|Select 3 credits from the following:||3|
Note that the following courses may not be used to fulfill this requirement:
Additionally, PHIL 253, RELI 235, RELI 333, and RELI 339 cannot be used to fulfill both the philosophy/religious studies requirement and the Mason Core literature requirement.
|Select 3 credits of social and behavioral sciences from the following (additional to the Mason Core social and behavioral sciences requirement) 1||3|
|Or choose from the following GGS courses:|
|Major World Regions (Mason Core)|
|Human Geography (Mason Core)|
|Introduction to Geoinformation Technologies|
|Political Geography (Mason Core)|
|Geography of Resource Conservation (Mason Core)|
|Population Geography (Mason Core)|
|Geography of the United States|
|Geography of Latin America|
|Geography of Europe|
|Geography of North Africa and the Middle East|
|Geography of Eastern Europe and Russia|
|Geography of Virginia|
The two courses used to fulfill the combined college and Mason Core requirements must be from different disciplines in the social and behavioral sciences.
HIST 100 and HIST 125 may not be used to fulfill this requirement.
|Intermediate-level proficiency in one foreign language, fulfilled by: 1|
Or achieving a satisfactory score on an approved proficiency test
Or completing the following ASL three course sequence:
|American Sign Language (ASL) I|
|American Sign Language (ASL) II|
|American Sign Language (ASL) III|
Students who are already proficient in a second language may be eligible for a waiver of this requirement. Additional information on waivers can be found at the Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs.
Select 3 credits of an approved course in the study of a non-Western culture (additional to the Mason Core requirement in global understanding)
|Select 3 credits (additional to Mason Core Global Understanding requirement) 1|
|ANTH 114||Introduction to Cultural Anthropology (Mason Core)||3|
|ANTH 302||Peoples and Cultures of Latin America (Mason Core)||3|
|ANTH 307||Ancient Mesoamerica (Mason Core)||3|
|ANTH 308||Peoples and Cultures of the Middle East (Mason Core)||3|
|ANTH 309||Peoples and Cultures of India (Mason Core)||3|
|ANTH 313||Myth, Magic, and Mind (Mason Core)||3|
|ANTH 317||East Asian Cultures||3|
|ANTH 330||Peoples and Cultures of Selected Regions: Non-Western||3|
|ANTH 332||Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Globalization (Mason Core)||3|
|ANTH 381||Medical Anthropology||3|
|ANTH 396||Issues in Anthropology: Social Sciences (Mason Core)||3|
|ARAB 360||Topics in Arabic Cultural Production||3|
|ARAB 420||Survey of Arabic Literature||3|
|ARAB 440||Topics in Arabic Religious Thought and Texts (Mason Core)||3|
|ARTH 203||Survey of Asian Art (Mason Core)||3|
|ARTH 204||Survey of Latin American Art (Mason Core)||3|
|ARTH 206||Survey of African Art (Mason Core)||3|
|ARTH 318||Art and Archaeology of Ancient Egypt||3|
|ARTH 319||Art and Archaeology of the Ancient Near East (Mason Core)||3|
|ARTH 320||Art of the Islamic World (Mason Core)||3|
|ARTH 382||Arts of India (Mason Core)||3|
|ARTH 383||Arts of Southeast Asia (Mason Core)||3|
|ARTH 384||Arts of China (Mason Core)||3|
|ARTH 385||Arts of Japan (Mason Core)||3|
|ARTH 482||RS: Advanced Studies in Asian Art||3|
|CHIN 318||Introduction to Classical Chinese (Mason Core)||3|
|CHIN 320||Contemporary Chinese Film||3|
|CHIN 325||Major Chinese Writers (Mason Core)||3|
|CHIN 470||Special Topics in Chinese Studies||3|
|DANC 118||Global Dance Perspectives I (Mason Core)||3|
|ECON 361||Economic Development of Latin America (Mason Core)||3|
|ECON 362||African Economic Development (Mason Core)||3|
|FREN 454||Topics in Caribbean Francophone Literature and Culture||3|
|GGS 101||Major World Regions (Mason Core)||3|
|GGS 316||Geography of Latin America||3|
|GGS 317||Geography of China (Mason Core)||3|
|GGS 325||Geography of North Africa and the Middle East||3|
|GGS 399||Select Topics in GGS||3|
|GOVT 332||Government and Politics of the Middle East and North Africa||3|
|GOVT 333||Government and Politics of Asia||3|
|GOVT 338||Government and Politics of Russia||3|
|GOVT 340||Central Asian Politics||3|
|GOVT 341||Chinese Foreign Policy||3|
|GOVT 345||Islam and Politics||3|
|GOVT 433||Political Economy of East Asia||3|
|HIST 251||Survey of East Asian History (Mason Core)||3|
|HIST 252||Survey of East Asian History (Mason Core)||3|
|HIST 261||Survey of African History (Mason Core)||3|
|HIST 262||Survey of African History (Mason Core)||3|
|HIST 271||Survey of Latin American History (Mason Core)||3|
|HIST 272||Survey of Latin American History (Mason Core)||3|
|HIST 281||Survey of Middle Eastern Civilization (Mason Core)||3|
|HIST 282||Survey of Middle Eastern Civilization (Mason Core)||3|
|HIST 327||The Soviet Union and Russia Since World War II||3|
|HIST 328||Rise of Russia (Mason Core)||3|
|HIST 329||Modern Russia and the Soviet Union (Mason Core)||3|
|HIST 353||History of Traditional China||3|
|HIST 354||Modern China (Mason Core)||3|
|HIST 356||Modern Japan (Mason Core)||3|
|HIST 357||Postwar Japan (Mason Core)||3|
|HIST 358||Post-1949 China (Mason Core)||3|
|HIST 360||History of South Africa (Mason Core)||3|
|HIST 364||Revolution and Radical Politics in Latin America (Mason Core)||3|
|HIST 365||Conquest and Colonization in Latin America (Mason Core)||3|
|HIST 366||Comparative Slavery||3|
|HIST 387||Topics in Global History (Mason Core)||3-6|
|HIST 461||Arab-Israeli Conflict||3|
|HIST 462||Women in Islamic Society (Mason Core)||3|
|HIST 465||The Middle East in the 20th Century||3|
|JAPA 310||Japanese Culture in a Global World (Mason Core)||3|
|JAPA 340||Topics in Japanese Literature (Mason Core)||3|
|JAPA 380||Japan in Motion||3|
|KORE 300||Korean Culture and Society||3|
|KORE 320||Korean Popular Culture in a Global World||3|
|KORE 385||Introduction to Korean Linguistics||3|
|MUSI 103||Musics of the World (Mason Core)||3|
|RELI 211||Introduction to Religions of the "West" (Mason Core)||3|
|RELI 212||Introduction to Religions of Asia (Mason Core)||3|
|RELI 313||Hinduism (Mason Core)||3|
|RELI 314||Chinese Philosophies and Religious Traditions||3|
|RELI 315||Buddhism (Mason Core)||3|
|RELI 318||Korean Philosophy and Religions||3|
|RELI 338||Qur'an and Hadith||3|
|RELI 342||Comparative Study of Mysticism||3|
|RELI 344||Muhammad: Life and Legacy||3|
|RELI 358||Islamic Thought (Mason Core)||3|
|RELI 367||Islamic Law, Society, and Ethics||3|
|RELI 368||Islam, Democracy, and Human Rights||3|
|RELI 490||Comparative Study of Religions (Mason Core)||3|
|RUSS 353||Russian Civilization (Mason Core)||3|
|RUSS 354||Contemporary Post-Soviet Life (Mason Core)||3|
|WMST 407||Transnational Sexualities||3|
A course used to fulfill the Mason Core global understanding requirement may not be simultaneously used to satisfy this college-level requirement. A course used to fulfill this requirement may be used simultaneously to fulfill any other requirements (Mason Core requirements, college-level requirements, or requirements for the major). Additional information on waivers can be found at the Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs.
Some Mason Core requirements may already be fulfilled by the major requirements listed above. Students are strongly encouraged to consult their advisors to ensure they fulfill all remaining Mason Core requirements.
Students who have completed the following credentials are eligible for a waiver of the Foundation and Exploration (lower level) requirement categories. The Integration category (upper level) is not waived under this policy. See Admissions for more information.
|Written Communication (ENGH 101)||3|
|Information Technology and Computing||3|
|Social and Behavioral Sciences||3|
|Written Communications (ENGH 302)||3|
Most programs include the writing-intensive course designated for the major as part of the major requirements; this course is therefore not counted towards the total required for Mason Core.
Minimum 3 credits required.