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Majoring in Philosophy at URI

Degree: Bachelor of Arts

The Field

Philosophy is concerned with teaching you the methodology of clear and logical thinking. In addition, it deals with ultimate questions of human existence, such as the nature of morality, the purpose of human life, the place of humans in the universe, the problem of evil, the nature of scientific theorizing, and other, similar problems. By taking various courses in systematic philosophy and in the history of philosophy, students will encounter various options on how these questions have been answered, and are invited to do their own critical thinking about them.


Students who have shown ability for philosophical thinking by doing well in a course not having prerequisites are admitted to the program upon transfer from University College.


Students selecting this field must complete no less than 33 credits (maximum 45 credits) in philosophy. Students must take: (1) 205; (2) at least one of 101 or 451 (logic); (3) at least one of 212, 314 (ethics); (4) at least one of 341, 342, 452 (metaphysics, epistemology and science); (5) both 321 and 323 (history); (6) at least one of 204, 318, 324, 346 (European philosophy); and (7) 490 (senior seminar). The remaining nine credits may be chosen freely from the list of PHL courses offered by the department. Further, at least 18 credits of course work used to satisfy major requirements must be at the 300 level or above.

In addition to meeting with your advisor, you may download a worksheet that will help you organize your program.

To declare a major in philosophy, students in University College will need a UC Change of Major form. Students who are out of UC need a A&S Change of Major form

To move from UC to your degree granting college (Arts and Sciences for PHL Majors) you will need to fill out  a Transfer to the College of Arts & Sciences form.

Before graduation, students will be required to download and fill out an Undergraduate File for Degree form.


There are no formal program options within the philosophy major. However, students may, in consultation with their advisors, informally choose a specialization. Possible specializations are applied and theoretical ethics, law and public policy, logic and epistemology, social philosophy, aesthetics and environmental philosophy, the philosophy of science, philosophy of mind, and the history of philosophy. In addition to directed studies courses directed around students' areas of special interest, the Philosophy Department currently offers a variety of service learning opportunities in the form of internships. These include participation in the "Pre-trial Project" at the Women's Adult Correctional Facility where students serve as liaisons between inmates and the public defender's office, training in the Rhode Island Ethics Commission Office in conjunction with the White Center for Ethics and Public Service, and shadowing administrators in both public and private institutions though our Administration Internship Program.

Career Opportunities

A B.A. in philosophy is a liberal arts degree; it is, therefore, not a preparation for any one career. However, the study of philosophy, either by majoring in the field or by taking courses in it, is an excellent preparation for any career in which logical thinking, an ability to organize and present complex information, and the faculty to assemble reasons that back up solutions proposed are desirable. Examples of such careers are teaching, law, public administration, religious ministries, counseling, and related health services.

Further Studies

URI's undergraduate program in philosophy provides excellent preparation for M.A. programs and Ph.D. programs in philosophy. These programs are, however, to a much larger extent career oriented than the B.A. program. For this reason, students contemplating entering an M.A. program or a Ph.D. program in philosophy should clearly be aware of the fact that university professorships in philosophy are very limited.

For More Information, Contact Us

Department of Philosophy
University of Rhode Island
230 Chafee Social Science Center
Kingston, RI 02881
Phone: 401-874-2207

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