College of Arts and Letters2013-2014

Department of Philosophy

Philosophy, Bachelor of Arts

In the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, “One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes... and the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility.”

This degree provides students with experiences and stimulations that generate thinking, feeling, questioning, and wondering. This degree is often seen as evidence of the ability to think in a disciplined manner and has served as a springboard for a surprising number of careers in business, law, education, art, and government.


What Can I Do with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy?

Philosophy is concerned with the fundamental questions of human existence. Plato sets part of the agenda for the history of Western thought by arguing that the basic ideas needed to address these questions are truth, beauty, and goodness. Here, you will study the history of ideas to gain a deeper understanding of how contemporary problems stem from these age-old questions. At the same time, you will study contemporary issues in physics, biology, psychology, religion, art, law, and government. In each case, philosophy probes the limits of these areas of inquiry and examines methods used to improve our understanding.

You will also learn to read more carefully, think more reflectively, and write more clearly. These skills are vital to many different career paths. A degree in philosophy will give you the skills to enter traditional professions like medicine, law, the clergy, teaching, and business. Philosophy majors also perform significantly better, on average, than other students on entrance exams to law school, medical school, and MBA programs. In the final analysis, the study of philosophy will prepare you for a thoughtful life.

Career opportunities that might be pursued:
  • Public policy
  • Medicine and medical ethics
  • Religion
  • Business

With further education, one of these paths is possible:
  • Librarian
  • Attorney
  • Counselor
  • University professor

University Requirements

  • To receive a bachelor's degree at Northern Arizona University, you must complete at least 120 units of credit that minimally includes a major, the liberal studies requirements, and university requirements as listed below.

    • All of Northern Arizona University's liberal studies, diversity, junior-level writing, and capstone requirements.
    • All requirements for your specific academic plan(s).
    • At least 30 units of upper-division courses, which may include transfer work.
    • At least 30 units of coursework taken through Northern Arizona University, of which at least 18 must be upper-division courses (300-level or above). This requirement is not met by credit-by-exam, retro-credits, transfer coursework, etc.
    • A cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0 on all work attempted at Northern Arizona University.
    The full policy can be viewed here.



In addition to University Requirements:

  • At least 36 units of major requirements
  • Fourth-semester proficiency in a modern language
  • Be aware that you may not use courses with a PHI prefix to satisfy liberal studies requirements
  • Elective courses, if needed, to reach an overall total of at least 120 units

Please note that you may be able to use some courses to meet more than one requirement. Contact your advisor for details.

Minimum Units for Completion 120
Highest Mathematics Required MAT 114
Foreign Language Required
University Honors Program Optional
Progression Plan Link View Progression Plan


Major Requirements
  • Take the following 36 units:

    • PHI 203 or PHI 223 (3 units)
    • PHI 240, PHI 241 (6 units)
    • Select one course from: PHI 320, PHI 321, PHI 322, PHI 323 (3 units)
    • Select one course from: PHI 325, PHI 347, PHI 357 (3 units)
    • Select one course from: PHI 340W, PHI 341W, PHI 343W, or PHI 345W each of which meets Northern Arizona University's junior writing requirement. (3 units)
    • PHI 414C which meets Northern Arizona University's senior capstone requirement. (3 units)
    • Additional PHI coursework, of which at least 9 must be in upper-division courses (courses numbered from 300 to 599). If you are considering graduate education in philosophy, we recommend that you take PHI 301. (15 units)
    Advisors in the Department of Philosophy will work with you to prepare for any specific career you might have in mind. Where it is reasonable to do so and with the advisor's and chair's approval, it is possible to substitute or supplement courses from outside philosophy to count in the philosophy major. These substitutions may not exceed a total of 6 units.
Foreign Language Requirement
  • You must demonstrate proficiency in a language other than English that is equivalent to four terms of university coursework in the same language. You may satisfy this requirement by taking language courses or by testing out of all or part of it by taking CLEP exams. 

General Electives
  • Additional coursework is required, if, after you have met the previously described requirements, you have not yet completed a total of 120 units of credit. 

    You may take these remaining courses from any academic areas, using these courses to pursue your specific interests and goals. We encourage you to consult with your advisor to select the courses that will be most advantageous to you. (Please note that you may also use prerequisites or transfer credits as electives if they weren't used to meet major, minor, or liberal studies requirements.)

Additional Information
  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also take. For prerequisite information click on the course or see your advisor.

Campus Availability

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