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Course Program

One can major in philosophy in either the course program or the Honors program. Internal distribution requirements are the same for both programs. Only students who will have satisfactorily completed two philosophy courses by the end of their sophomore year will be considered for acceptance as majors.

Normally, applications to complete a major in philosophy will not be accepted after the add/drop period  in the Fall term of a student's senior year.

Transfer students will be deferred until they have obtained at least 1 Philosophy credit from Swarthmore.

In addition to having completed two courses, majors must meet the general requirements for remaining in good standing at the College and have the ability to satisfy the Department's comprehensive requirements. They must further normally have at least a B- average in all philosophy courses taken at Swarthmore. For double majors, the standard is somewhat higher, and the philosophy faculty determines whether the student has the ability to complete the comprehensive requirements of two departments satisfactorily.

Students majoring in philosophy must earn a total of eight credits, exclusive of senior work and complete at least

  • One course in Logic and

  • Two credits in history: of these 2 credits, at least 1 must be in either Ancient or Modern (17th and 18th century) Philosophy and

  • Two credits in at least one course covering one or more of the following areas: Advanced Logic, Philosophy of Science, Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophy of Language, Philosophy of Mind and

  • Two credits in at least one course covering one or more of the following areas: Moral Philosophy, Social and Political Philosophy, Philosophy of Law, Feminism, Aesthetics.

    (For courses that complete these requirements, see our distribution list.)

Note:  With the exception of Logic (PHIL 12) - introductory level courses and First Year Seminars (PHIL 1 - 10) do not count toward the distribution requirements.  Distribution requirements can be taken pass/fall (C/NC).   But, students cannot use a pass/fail (C/NC) course/seminar as an honors preparation.

In addition, students majoring in philosophy are urged to take courses and seminars in diverse fields of philosophy. Prospective majors should complete the logic requirements as early as possible. Course majors are encouraged to enroll in seminars. Mastery of at least one foreign language is recommended.

Majors, both Honors and Course, need at least 4 of their Philosophy credits from Swarthmore.

Starting with the class of 2026 - There is a limit to the number of cross-listed courses that students can count toward the major and minor-
- Majors (honors and course) can only count two cross-listed courses
- Honors minors can only count one
- Course minors have no restrictions