Course Majors & Minors
A student will complete a course major in philosophy by registering for a single credit of Senior Course Study in the Spring term of the senior year. Senior Course Study does not count toward fulfilling the eight credit requirement for the major. Under this heading, the student will produce two independent essays, each of no more than 4,000 words, based on problems or texts considered in seminars or courses that they have already completed and in response to questions set by the department faculty. These two independent essays must fall in two different areas of philosophy from the following list:
- History of Philosophy: Ancient Philosophy; Modern Philosophy; Nineteenth Century Philosophy; Existentialism and Phenomenology; and Contemporary Philosophy;
- Value Theory: Moral Philosophy; Social and Political Philosophy; Aesthetics; Feminist Theory; Philosophy of Law;
- Logic, Metaphysics, and Epistemology: Logic, Theory of Knowledge, Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Psychology, Philosophy of Language
Students should inform the Chair about the general areas in which they wish to write their essays by the 10th week of the Fall term. The faculty of the Philosophy Department will then set questions and specify additional readings (1-3 articles or book chapters) for each area. These questions will be available to students by the end of the Fall term.
It is expected that these essays will demonstrate initiative in engaging with problems and texts and that they will develop lines of argumentation beyond what is normally expected of course or seminar papers. Conversation among students who are preparing these essays is encouraged, but each student must produce an independent, original essay. After completing these essays, each course major will be examined orally on both essays by two members of the department.
Students may complete a minor in philosophy by earning any 5 credits in philosophy courses. There is no distribution requirement for the minor.
Course Minors need at least 3 of their Philosophy credits from Swarthmore.
Student wishing to add a major or minor in Philosophy must do so by the end of the add/drop period of the Fall term of the senior year.
Philosophy students changing their program from course to honors (or honors to course) must do so by the end of the add/drop period of the fall term of the senior year.
Students wishing to drop a course major or minor after the add/drop period of the fall term of the senior year should speak to the chair of the department.