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Undergraduate Overview

Philosophy is a field with a tradition reaching back many thousands of years but is also an area of very active current research. The study of philosophy at Syracuse University covers both its historical and contemporary aspects.

The study of philosophy is perhaps the most liberal of the liberal arts, an ideal way to participate in the life of the mind. It expands one's imagination and deepens one's understanding of our culture and its history.

Philosophy develops skills for many careers and professions: the careful analytical reading of texts, the construction and evaluation of arguments, and the writing of clear, effective prose. An undergraduate philosophy major is excellent preparation for law school, for government service, for a career in publishing, and even for a successful career in business and finance (Philosophy majors include J. Paul Getty, Carl Icahn, Gerald Levin, George Soros, Carly Fiorina, and many others).

Philosophy majors at Syracuse University often combine their study with a major or minor in another discipline either within or outside the College of Arts and Sciences.

Majors are required to take a standard course in introductory logic, a seminar for majors, and courses in each of the following core areas of philosophy: History (Ancient and Early Modern), Metaphysics and Epistemology, Value theory (including aesthetics), Logic, Language, and the Philosophy of Science. Majors also typically take one or more courses that focus on the philosophical examination of some other area of knowledge: the philosophy of social science, the philosophy of psychology, the philosophy of art, the philosophy of religion, and so on.

The Philosophy Department has an active program of visiting speakers throughout the year that is open to all members of the University community; majors are more than welcome to attend. The Philosophy Seminar Room and Library is located in 538 Hall of Languages next to the Philosophy Department Office (541 HL) and is available to Philosophy students for quiet study when not in use for a scheduled seminar or meeting. The common room, HL 539, is open for all who are interested in informal philosophical discussion.

For all inquiries about course registration, please call the philosophy department at 443-2245, or visit 541 Hall of Languages. Students wishing to discuss majoring or minoring in philosophy should contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies, Kara Richardson, 537 Hall of Languages, kricha03@syr.edu.