Undergraduate Program

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The study of philosophy is essential to the mission of the University of Notre Dame, which seeks to produce liberally educated women and men who possess basic cultural literacy, who are capable of articulate and logical reflection on the fundamental problems of human existence and who can take their place as citizens capable of critically evaluating arguments which bear on public affairs.

Because Notre Dame is a Catholic university, its purposes also include the preservation, extension and transmission of Catholic thought. Notre Dame students learn to think in depth about the problems posed by a life of faith. They have the opportunity to learn how the great thinkers of the Catholic tradition approached those problems in the past, and what Catholicism has to say about those problems as they arise in the contemporary world.

University Requirement

The University requires that every student complete a two course requirement in Philosophy—one an introductory courses and one a more focused, advanced course. The Department of Philosophy offers a number of exciting and challenging courses by which undergraduates can satisfy the University’s two-course requirement in philosophy. 

The Major, the Honors Major, the Joint Major and the Minor

Many students will be intrigued or captivated by their first experience in philosophy. Unable to resist the tug of the big questions and taken with the rigor and elegance with which philosophers pursue them, these students will want to deepen their knowledge of the subject. The Philosophy Department offers interested students a number of opportunities to do so by going beyond the two courses the University requires: the major, honors major, and minor in philosophy, and the joint major in philosophy and theology.

The Notre Dame philosophy major reflects both the Catholic tradition’s commitments to philosophy as a foundational discipline in the liberal arts and the department’s own commitments to excellence in its discipline. The department’s curriculum has managed to maintain this commitment to excellence while striking a balance between the rigors of current research and the breadth of topics of traditional humanistic inquiry; it offers students the opportunity to study the riches of traditional Catholic philosophy.

Interdisciplinary Minors

Recent trends toward interdisciplinary studies allow majors to broaden the scope of their studies while still deepening their understanding of philosophy. Three interdisciplinary minors are offered in conjunction with the Department of Philosophy: the minors in  Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, Philosophy, Religion and Literature, and Philosophy within the Catholic Tradition. Each minor provides excellent preparation for graduate work.

Advising

Undergraduate advising is the primary function of the Director of Undergraduate Studies, who assists students with the development of their curriculum within the requirements set forth by the Department of Philosophy.

Questions about our undergrad programs? Contact Director of Undergraduate Studies, Jeff Speaks, at jspeaks@nd.edu or (574) 631-4279.

View the Department of Philosophy Plagarism Guidelines  (PDF).

Philosophy Club

The Philosophy Club's main purpose is to provide an informal atmosphere for Notre Dame students with an interest in philosophy to come together, share ideas, challenge themselves and one another intellectually on their positions and worldviews, and hopefully arrive at some fruitful discoveries in the realm of truth. The club consists of students studying philosophy as well as students studying other disciplines. If you wish to be added to their listserv please email philo.philo1@nd.edu.