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UC Davis Department of Philosophy

The Major in Philosophy

Philosophy Department

1240 Social Sciences and Humanities
University of California, Davis
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616

Phone: (530) 752-0607

Fax: (530) 752-8964

Picture of 2007 Departmental Citation winners

2007 Department Citation winners Justin Khoo and Ora Sraboyants

Recent News

  • Philosophy 17, Language, Thought, and World, has been added as an option for partial satisfaction of the Preparatory Subject Matter requirements.

The Philosophy department offers a Bachelor of Arts with a major in philosophy. This page describes the major requirements and includes a FAQ that answers a number of questions about these requirements.

Major Adviser: (530) 554-4950, Dr. G. J. Mattey

Staff Adviser: (530) 752-0607, Heidi Williams

Major Requirements

Preparatory Subject Matter (16 units)

1.Philosophy 12, Introduction to Symbolic Logic (Fall 10, Spring 11)
2.Three courses (12 units) from the following:

  • Philosophy 1, Introduction to Philosophy (Fall 10, Winter 11, Spring 11)
  • Philosophy 13, Minds, Brains, and Computers (Winter 11)
  • Philosophy 14, Ethical and Social Problems in Contemporary Society (Spring 11) OR
    Philosophy 15, Bioethics OR
    Philosophy 24, Introduction to Ethics and Political Philosophy (Spring 11)
  • Philosophy 21, History of Philosophy: Ancient (Winter 11)
  • Philosophy 22, History of Philosophy: Early Modern (Spring 11)
  • Philosophy 30, Introduction to Philosophy of Science (Spring 11) OR
    Philosophy 31, Appraising Scientific Reasoning (Fall 10) OR
    Philosophy 32, Understanding Scientific Change OR
    Philosophy 38, Introduction to Philosophy of Biology (Fall 10)
  • Philosophy 17, Language, Mind, and World (Spring, 11)
  • Philosophy 101, Metaphysics (Winter 11)
  • Philosophy 102, Theory of Knowledge (Fall 10)

Note: Courses 101 and 102 may be used to satisfy Preparatory Subject Matter requirements only if they are not used to satisfy Depth Subject Matter requirements.

Depth Subject Matter (36 units)

Upper-division units in philosophy (36 units).

Note: Philosophy 101 and 102 may not be counted toward both preparatory and depth subject matter units.

Total Units for the Major: 52

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do my community college courses satisfy the UCD philosophy major requirements?
Some do and some do not. Do not assume that since your course has transferred and has the same name as a UCD course, it counts toward the Philosophy major. The courses you took must be evaluated by the philosophy major adviser. For a course to be equivalent to Philosophy 12, Introduction to Symbolic Logic, the community college course must have covered truth-tables and all the inference rules of sentential (propositional) logic. For history of philosophy (Philosophy 21, 22N), the key issue is whether the CC course used primary sources. See the ASSIST Web page to find UCD courses equivalent to your community college courses.

2. Can upper-division courses I took at another university be used to satisfy the UCD major requirements?
Yes, if the course is substantially similar to a UCD philosophy course. See the philosophy major adviser for approval.

3. Do I need to satisfy the Preparatory Subject Matter (lower-division courses) before I can take upper-division philosophy courses?
Courses may be taken in any order, but be sure to check for prerequisites. For most people, Philosophy 12 should be taken before any other logic course. Philosophy 21 should be taken before any course in ancient philosophy (160, 161, 162). Philosophy 22 should be taken before any course in modern philosophy (151, 157, 168, 169, 170, 172, 174, 175).

4. Do graduate courses count toward the major?
Yes. But see the instructor before signing up, to determine whether you are prepared for the course. Also, be aware that graduate courses do not count toward the College of Letters and Science unit requirements for upper-division courses. These are: 1) 64 units of upper-division overall, 2) 27 upper-division units, including 18 upper-division units in the major, completed on the Davis campus, 3) 36 upper-division units in the major. These requirements are especially crucial for community college transfer students with 100+ transferred units. In general, it is best to petition to receive upper-division credit for the course.

5. Can I substitute courses from other departments or programs for philosophy units?
No. The unit requirement for the philosophy major is already quite low.

6. Do courses used to satisfy the GE requirements count toward the major?

7. Can I take courses for the major pass/non-pass?
Yes, up to the limits set by the college of Letters and Science, i.e., one-fourth of your total units taken at UC Davis (except for courses such as 199 which are graded on a pass/non-pass basis only) and the limits set for the campus, i.e., one-third of your total units taken at UC Davis. If you are thinking about taking a course on this basis, please see the major adviser about how it will look on your transcript.

8. Do my Education Abroad Program courses count toward the major?
They may or may not, depending on how close they are to courses offered by the UC Davis philosophy department. You should consult with the major advisor to determine in advance of your leaving which EAP courses would be suitable for your major at UC Davis.

9. What happens if major requirements change while I am a student?
You have the right to complete the requirements listed in the General Catalog at the time you entered the University. If, however, you choose to complete the revised requirements instead, you may do so.

10. Other questions?
Send your questions to