Majoring in Philosophy
The Philosophy Department at IU South Bend offers coursework leading to the B.A. degree in philosophy. A minor in philosophy is also available. Courses are offered in all major areas of philosophy, including the history of philosophy, logic, ethics, political philosophy, philosophy of science, and philosophy of religion. Courses are also offered in areas of faculty specialization (see the faculty listing for details). Finally, the department participates in interdisciplinary programs leading to minors in cognitive science and religious studies, and a B.A. degree or minor in women's and gender studies.
Members of the faculty have achieved scholarly distinction by publishing books and articles in a wide range of fields and by presenting their work at seminars, lectures, and professional meetings. The department also sponsors lectures and colloquia by well-known philosophers. Each year, the department invites a highly regarded philosopher to visit IU South Bend as speaker for Philosophy Day (follow the link at left for details).
The program in philosophy is designed not only for students who plan to attend graduate school in philosophy or related fields but also for students who want to pursue philosophy as a minor or as a concentration area to complement a major in another field.
The First Course
Students majoring in philosophy usually begin by taking a 100-level philosophy course in their freshman or sophomore year, e.g., P110 Introduction to Philosophy, P105 Critical Thinking, or P140 Elementary Ethics. P110 is our basic beginning survey course. It introduces students to basic areas, figures, terms, and problems in philosophy. Although a 100-level philosophy course is not required for the major, students planning to major in philosophy are advised to begin with a course at this level.
Coursework in the Major
Prospective majors should choose their philosophy courses so that, by graduation, they have taken at least 27 credit hours of coursework in philosophy. Of these 27 required credit hours, 24 must be in courses at the 200 level or above and 15 must be in courses from the following four required subject areas: (1) the history of philosophy (two courses required), (2) logic or the history and philosophy of science (one course required), (3) ethics or social and political philosophy (one course required), and (4) metaphysics or epistemology (one course required). (See the statement of degree requirements above for a listing of courses that satisfy these area requirements.) Because courses in the four required subject areas might not be offered every semester, it is important that students planning to major in philosophy not pass up opportunities to take these courses when they are offered.
The department requires that all philosophy majors in their senior year participate in one or the other of two graduation assessment options: a proseminar option or a portfolio option. In the proseminar option, the student enrolls in the senior proseminar (P495) to prepare a paper suitable for public presentation. The paper is to be completed under the supervision of a project committee and then presented to the IUSB Philosophy Colloquium (or to some other appropriate group or forum). In the portfolio option, the student submits a portfolio of three or more papers. These papers are read and evaluated by a committee consisting of at least two full-time department members. The point of the portfolio is not just to collect and evaluate examples of a student's best work but to help the student achieve a larger perspective on his or her work in philosophy and to provide specific guidelines for further progress.