Major in Philosophy

Every major in Philosophy at Notre Dame picks his or her own intellectual path, choosing each semester from the wide range of small, discussion-based seminars offered on topics ranging from ethics to the philosophy of science to feminism to the history of philosophy. 

The major is organized around a core of three classes which all of our majors take:

  • Ancient & Medieval Philosophy
  • Modern Philosophy
  • Formal Logic

These courses, which are taught every semester, give students a grounding in the history of philosophy and give them the logical tools needed to think about and assess philosophical arguments.

Seminars

Beyond this core, the major consists of five other seminars, which each student can choose based on his or her interests. These upper-level courses are all taught by faculty members and are rarely larger than 10 or 12 students. As a result, each of our majors has multiple chances to work closely with members of the faculty. Because of the size of Notre Dame's department, we are able to offer an unusually broad range of classes every semester. To give you a sense of the courses we offer, you can find this semester's course offerings. Some students take a broad range of courses; others focus their seminar choices on a particular area of interest. That is up to you.

Senior Thesis

In the course of their time in the department, many of our students end up finding a topic or question which they want to pursue in more depth than is possible in an ordinary course. These students have the opportunity to write a year-long senior thesis on a topic of their choosing, which gives students the opportunity for individual work with their faculty advisor.

Other Ways to Major in Philosophy

The program just described is only one way to major in philosophy. Students especially interested in philosophical questions to do with science and mathematics may wish to look at the interdisciplinary major in Philosophy, Science, and Mathematics, while students especially interested in questions at the intersection of philosophy and theology may wish to look at the joint major.

Our majors are a cohesive intellectual community, with shared work space in Malloy Hall. If you're interested in joining us, or would like to hear more, send an email to our Director of Undergraduate Studies, Alex Jech, or book a time to meet and talk about your options in person.