FAQs About Philosophy Courses
and the Philosophy Major

Q: I'm interested in philosophy. What course should I take first?

Philosophy is a broad subject, and this is reflected in the range of introductory courses that we offer. You should feel free to take any 100- to 200-level course. Some are oriented around the history of philosophy, others around particular philosophical topics and theories as they are seen by contemporary philosophers.

Q: Can I take a 300-level course first?

That depends on the course. You should consult the instructor.

Q: I've had one introductory-level course. Does it matter what I take next?

Usually no. But philosophy majors should try to take logic (either 210 or 310), and the history sequence (281 & 283) early on, since these provide useful background for many other courses.

Q: If I am going to major in philosophy, do I need to take the history of philosophy courses in any particular order?

Though 281 and 283 are self-contained introductions to different periods in the history of philosophy, it's recommended that you take them in sequence (281 first, 283 second). Also, normally you should take 281 before advancing to 381, and 283 before advancing to 383 or 386.

Q: How often are courses offered?

The following information is intended to help students with long-term planning, but is not a guarantee as sabbaticals, illnesses, etcetera may interfere with the normal schedule.
Every year: 100, 160, 130, 210, 281, 283
Almost every year: 310, 330, 345, 360, 370, 381, 383
Most years: 372, 373
Usually alternate years: 220, 285, 320, 354, 386
Occasionally: 275, 318, 350

Q: Should I take 210 (Logic) or 310 (Mathematical Logic)?

If you have high math ability you may want to take 310, which is entirely self-contained--but rather fast. It covers everything in 210 and a lot more. If you are less confident, you should probably take 210; you can take 310 later if you like. If you plan on going to graduate school, then 310 is advisable. If you are uncertain, consult the instructor of either course.

Q: Can undergraduates take graduate seminars?

Yes. Undergraduates with a strong background in philosophy may take a graduate seminar with the permission of the instructor.