Philosophy investigates the foundations of reality, knowledge, and value. Students can expect to receive training in these areas, and also in clear thinking, inventive synthesis, and precise expression. For some, this will serve as preparation for graduate studies in philosophy. However, philosophical skills are useful in professions such as law, medicine, government, business management, and in any field that demands intellectual rigor. The department offers a wide range of courses, including courses on historical figures, such as Plato and Kant, traditional philosophical topics, such as the nature of the human mind, free will, and the just society, and several that deal with the philosophy of various disciplines outside philosophy itself, such as philosophy of physics and philosophy of law.
All philosophy programs aim to:
- equip students with an understanding of a range of philosophers and philosophical problems, while encouraging as deep a critical engagement with those philosophers and problems as is feasible in the time available;
- promote respect for the norms of: clarity; careful analysis; critical reflection; rational argument; sympathetic interpretation and understanding; and impartial pursuit of truth;
- promote independence of thought and a critical and analytical approach, not only to theories and concepts, but also to the assumptions on which they are based;
- equip students with the core skills involved in: careful reading, comprehension and compression of textual material; clear thinking; sound argumentation; and the clear and well-organized expression of ideas;
- provide excellent teaching which is informed and invigorated by the research activities of faculty;
- facilitate an awareness of the application of philosophical thought to other academic disciplines or to matters of public interest, encouraging students to apply philosophical skills more widely where appropriate.
Program Learning Outcomes
By the end of the program of study:
- Students should be competent in formal techniques, including, but not limited to, formal logic.
- Students should be able to provide an exegesis of a philosophical argument.
- Students should be able to articulate a clear, coherent thesis on a philosophical issue and place it in the context of the relevant literature.
- Students should be able to present a reasoned defense of a philosophical thesis
|Select 12 courses in philosophy distributed as follows:||36|
Four courses at 3xx-level or above
Two courses at 4xx-level or above
One course in logic at any level
Two or more courses at 2xx-level or above in the history of pre-twentieth century philosophy
Two or more courses at 2xx-level or above in value theory (including aesthetics and political philosophy as well as ethics)
Two or more courses at 2xx-level or above in metaphysics or epistemology (including philosophy of science, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of religion, as well as metaphysics and theory of knowledge)
|Supporting courses 1||15|
Fifteen hours in a supporting area; the courses do not all have to be in the same department, but they should reflect a coherent program of study. The supporting area must be chosen in consultation with a departmental advisor. For further information, students should consult the undergraduate handbook on the Philosophy Department website (http://www.philosophy.umd.edu/).
A total of at least 36 hours (twelve courses) in philosophy, not counting internship courses (PHIL386). For a course to count toward a student's major, the grade in the course must be "C-" or above. For students who matriculated in September 2012 or later, the average of all grades counted toward the major must be 2.0 or greater. Therefore, grades of "C-" will have to be balanced with higher grades. (C- counts as 1.7 toward the GPA.)