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Department of Philosophy


Why Philosophy? Athena Teaching Student

Overall, philosophy is an excellent part of any student's general University Education. Courses in philosophy can be taken towards several degrees; and virtually all programs of study at SDSU can be enriched by the inclusion of one or more of our courses. Masters programs are offered for students who wish to go on to do graduate study in Philosophy.

Undergraduate Program Information

Undergraduate Application


The philosophy student explores and seeks to understand values and the nature of reality. Through the study of philosophy, questions are asked about existence and experience: What is truth? What is morally right? What kind of life is best? What kind of society? Is there an ultimate reality? Philosophy studies the types of questions that most other subject areas are unable to address fully.

There are three different ways these questions are characteristically investigated in the philosophy student at San Diego State University. They are approached historically, by studying the history of philosophy from the ancient Greeks to the present; analytically, by carefully examining the meanings and interrelationships of ideas; and critically, by training students in the art of evaluating various claims
and the arguments for and against them.

While the analytical and critical approach are part of every course in philosophy, the philosophy curriculum at San Diego State University emphasizes the historical approach. The aim is to provide the philosophy student with a thorough grounding in the development of philosophy so that the student is well prepared to participate in the discussion of contemporary issues.

The education of a philosophy student, along with providing the satisfaction of dealing with fundamental issues which have concerned serious thinkers for any centuries, also provides the student with skills that may be used in a variety of careers. Some students begin graduate work after their B.A., either in philosophy, with the expectation of teaching or writing in the field, or in law, education, or ther professional programs. Some enter new fields of research, working on computer problems or artificial intelligence. Other students find that the special skills they have developed as philosophy majors - the ability to read complex material with comprehension, to analyze problems, to find relevant sources, to evaluate evidence, to propose solutions and to examine them self-critically, and to report the results of their inquiries with clarity and coherence - are valued by employers
in many different fields. Such students may find career opportunities in government, industry, finance, and social services.

Philosophy Major

With the B.A. Degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences
(Major Code: 15091) (SIMS Code: 115301)

All candidates for a degree in liberal arts and sciences must complete the graduation requirements listed in the section of this catalog on “Graduation Requirements.” No more than 48 units in philosophy courses can apply to the degree.

A minor is not required with this major.

Preparation for the Major
. Six lower division units in philosophy to include Philosophy 110 or 120. Philosophy 120 is preferred as preparation for Philosophy 521.

Language Requirement. Competency (successfully completing the third college semester or fifth college quarter) is required in one foreign language to fulfill the graduation requirement. Refer to section of catalog on “Graduation Requirements.”

Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement. Passing the Writing Placement Assessment with a score of 10 or completing one of the approved upper division writing courses (W) with a grade of C (2.0) or better. See “Graduation Requirements” section for a complete listing of requirements.

Major. A minimum of 30 upper division units in philosophy to include Philosophy 521 and at least six units selected from each of the following three main areas of philosophy. No more than six units of 300-level philosophy courses will count toward the major.

  • History of Philosophy: Philosophy 411, 412, 413, 414, 506, 508, 575.
  • Metaphysics and Epistemology: Philosophy 310, 351, 353, 523,
    525, 531, 535, 536, 537, 565.
  • Ethics: Philosophy 329, 330, 332, 334, 340, 510, 512, 528, 542.

Philosophy Minor

(SIMS Code: 115301)

The minor in philosophy consists of 24 units in philosophy. Six lower division units to include Philosophy 110 or 120, and 18 upper division units. No more than six units of 300-level philosophy courses will count toward the minor.

Courses in the minor may not be counted toward the major, but may be used to satisfy preparation for the major and general education requirements, if applicable. A minimum of six upper division units must be completed in residence at San Diego State University.

SDSU Philosophy Department