College of Arts and Letters2021-2022

Department of Philosophy

Philosophy, Minor

To paraphrase English thinker, Dr. Walter Pater, ”What philosophy does is rouse the human spirit and startle it to a life of constant and eager observation.” 
This minor is intended to stimulate students to think about issues and assertions, not just in the realm of philosophy and personal code of conduct, but also in contemporary issues such as genetics, governance, ethics, behavior, and technology.


What Can I Do with a Minor in Philosophy?

Philosophy is concerned with the fundamental questions of human existence. 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, allowing you to meld philosophy with your major. 
You will also learn to read more carefully, think more reflectively, and write more clearly. These skills are vital to many different career paths. In the final analysis, the study of philosophy will prepare you for a thoughtful life.

University Requirements

  • A minor is earned in conjunction with a bachelor's degree.

    To receive a minor (18 to 24 units) at Northern Arizona University, you must complete a planned group of courses from one or more subject matter areas with a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0. At least 12 units of the minor must be unique to that minor and not applied to any other minor.


In addition to University Requirements:

  • Complete individual plan requirements.

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

No more than 50% of the units used to satisfy minor requirements may be used to satisfy major requirements.

Minimum Units for Completion 18

Purpose Statement
The Philosophy Minor program is intended for students (1) to cultivate an educated sense of major conceptual developments in the history of Western Philosophy, and (2) to build on this sense to study other philosophically significant matters or cultivate and refine their analytic skills.
Student Learning Outcomes
Those completing the minor in Philosophy must be able to articulate the central philosophical insights of the major philosophical figures of the Ancient period, primarily (I) Ancient Greece & Rome and (II) the Early Modem period. 

  • All students completing the minor in Philosophy must have direct engagement with the original works of Plato and Aristotle in the Ancient period, and some of the original works of at least Descartes, Hume, and Kant, in the Early Modern period [PHI 240: Ancient Philosophy; PHI 241: Modern Philosophy]
  • All students completing the minor in Philosophy must be able to articulate the characteristic ideas and philosophical styles of these historical figures.  That is, they must be able to explicate with insight a Platonic or Aristotelian or Cartesian (for examples) argument and conclusion on an issue. [PHI 240: Ancient Philosophy; PHI 241: Modern Philosophy]
  • All students completing the minor in Philosophy must be able to make connections
  • between historical ideas and arguments and contemporary philosophical issues. [PHI Elective courses]
Those completing the minor in Philosophy must be able to critically examine other philosophical subject matters, cultivating and refining their analytic skills by building, where appropriate, on ideas, methods or theories from the Ancient or early Modem Period
  • to articulate in clear prose the central ideas in contemporary (or other historical)
  • philosophical work; [PHI Elective courses] and
  • to identify and evaluate the structure of the reasoning under examination, [PHI Elective courses] and
  • to evaluate the cogency of the lines of reasoning under examination. [PHI Elective courses


Minor Requirements
  • Take the following 18 units:

    • PHI 240, PHI 241 (6 units)
    • Additional PHI courses, at least 9 units must be upper-division courses (12 units)
  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also take. For prerequisite information click on the course or see your advisor.

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