The Philosophy Major
Philosophy is a basic field of inquiry. Its range encompasses ideas and issues in every domain of human experience; and its methods apply to problems of an unlimited variety. The major in philosophy can develop not only philosophical skill and sophistication but also critical thinking and writing abilities that are readily applicable to pursuits in other academic areas, useful in careers far removed from philosophy, and valuable in everyday social and personal life. The study of philosophy can profoundly affect both the thinking one does and the kind of person one is. We offer three approaches to the philosophy major, a minor, and specific graduate courses.
- Standard Philosophy Major
Offers students a maximum number of electives so they may choose in accordance with their own backgrounds and interests.
- Concentration in Law and Ethics
Focuses elective course work in the areas of law, social and political philosophy and applied ethics, and is appropriate for students considering a career in either philosophy or law.
- Concentration in Religious Studies
Uses electives to explore a variety of both religious expressions and methods of inquiry.
- Minor in Philosophy
Provides a short form of the major which can easily be accomplished while majoring in another field. The elective selection can be tailored to the needs of the student's major.
- Minor in Ethics
Focuses on selected course work in several areas of applied ethics and is appropriate for students considering a career in law.
- Combined Majors in Cinema Studies and Philosophy, Environmental Studies and Philosophy, and Physics and Philosophy.
Through readings, discussion, and writing, philosophy students can encounter and examine questions concerning the nature and validity of religious beliefs, moral judgements, and scientific theories, as well as questions of values and social policy in such areas as law, medicine, and technology. In all these areas, analysis of issues and evaluation of arguments provide an opportunity to understand diverse claims to knowledge and areas of controversy. The program includes courses that may help strengthen the student's work in other areas and provide an understanding of the methods and traditions of philosophical and religious thought. A major in Philosophy may also help a student to acquire a broad background in the humanities and to sharpen his or her critical abilities in preparation for graduate or professional careers in many areas. Indeed, former Philosophy majors can be found in the most diverse of professional careers. For students majoring in a different discipline, the Department offers a minor program, which can be a valuable supplement to most fields.
Philosophy deals with a wide range of questions and issues generated by various aspects of human experience, by the beliefs and theories people hold, and by the practical problems human beings confront. Philosophy includes both questions and theories related to art, religion, morality, society, and natural and social sciences. By the breadth of its concerns, the study of philosophy provides a unique opportunity for students to examine their beliefs in many areas through critical reflection.
Northeastern's program for a philosophy major is designed to offer students a balanced understanding of the nature of philosophy and particular philosophical problems that arise in the various arts and sciences. A minimum number of electives has been provided so that students may choose in accordance with their own backgrounds and interests. Students may pursue either a five-year cooperative or a four-year full-time course of study.