Philosophy Majors & Minors

For course descriptions, visit the online Class Search.

Many students choose philosophy in conjunction with another major. If your primary major is outside of philosophy, we will assign you an advisor in philosophy to make sure you satisfy major requirements and to help you choose courses that complement work in your other major.

NOTE: Degree requirements for incoming students may not reflect the actual degree requirements of current students.

As a Philosophy major, you’ll take required courses in the history of philosophy, logic, ethics and analytic philosophy. Electives allow you delve deeper and to explore connections between philosophy and politics, law, art, literature, and science. Philosophy majors have the option of completing their degree in three years.

  • One course (3 hours) in logic:
    • PL 310, Logic
  • Two courses (6 hours) in history of philosophy:
    • PL 311, History of Ancient Philosophy
    • PL 313, History of Modern Philosophy
    • PL 314, History of 19th Century Philosophy
    • PL 323, History of 19th Century Philosophy
    • PL 347, Existentialism
    • OR any other course so designated
  • One course (3 hours) in metaphysics, epistemology, and philosophy of science:
    • PL 320, Theory of Knowledge
    • PL 343, Philosophy of Science
    • PL 346, Philosophy of Mind
    • OR any course so designated
  • One course (3 hours) in value theory:
    • PL 344, Philosophy of Law
    • PL 345, Social and Political Philosophy
    • PL 348, Philosophy of Feminism
    • PL 360, Ethics
    • PL 363, Biomedical Ethics
    • OR any course so designated
  • Two offerings (6 hours) of PL 410, Seminar in Philosophy
    • Students may request a substitute for 3 hours of this seminar requirement if PL 410 is offered when they are studying abroad.
    • Students may also substitute PL 499, Honors Thesis, for 3 hours of PL 410
  • Plus 12 hours of additional philosophy courses for a Total Requirement of 33 hours.
    • No more than 12 hours of 100- and 200-level courses may be applied to the 33 hours required for the major. NOTE: While TI courses offered by the Philosophy program may count as electives, AR 231-PL (Principles of Reasoning) does not.

Requirements for the Major (42 hours)*

As a combined major, you’ll ground yourself in both disciplines, exploring the relation between philosophical and religious conceptions of knowledge, self, community and world.

1.Two History of Philosophy courses from the following list(6 credits):

  • PL 311 – History of Ancient Philosophy
  • PL 313 – History of Modern Philosophy
  • PL 300-level courses surveying 19th-20th C. philosophy

2. One Value Theory course form the following list (3 credits):

  • PL 345 – Contemporary Social and Political Philosophy
  • PL 348 – Philosophy of Feminism
  • PL 360 – Ethics
  • PL 363 – Biomedical Ethics
  • PL 380 – Topics in Ethics

3. TI 250-RL – Religions of the World (3 credits)

4. RL 381 – Theory and Method (3 credits)

5. PL 410 – Seminar in Philosophy (3 credits)

6. Courses at the intersection of philosophy & religion from the following list (12 credits):

  • PL 342 – Philosophy of Religion
  • PL 343 – Philosophy of Science
  • PL 346 – Philosophy of Mind
  • PL 347 – Existentialism
  • RL 348 – Religion, Politics, and the Marketplace
  • RL 370 – Modern Religious Thought
  • RL 372 – Mysticism
  • RL 378 – Religion and Science Fiction
  • RL 379 – Christian Concepts of God
  • RL 382 – Christian Liberation Theologies
  • RL 384 – Ecotheology
  • RL 387 – Evil in Christian and Jewish Thought

7. Additional PL and RL electives (12 credits)**

*In consultation with advisors, majors will attempt to roughly balance the number of RL and PL courses, taking a minimum of 18 credit hours in each.

**No more than 6 of these 12 credits may be satisfied with courses below the 300 level.

This combined major gives you core knowledge of both philosophy and psychology, and focuses on the relation between scientific and philosophical conceptions of mind, body, and behavior.

Philosophy (21 hours)

  • PL 310, Logic
  • PL 311, History of Ancient Philosophy
  • PL 313, History of Modern Philosophy
  • PL 343, Philosophy of Science
  • PL 346, Philosophy of Mind
  • PL 360 OR PL 345, Ethics/Value Theory course (PL 344, PL 348, PL 364, or PL 380 may fulfill this requirement with advisor approval)
  • PL 400+, A 400-level philosophy course

Psychology (27 hours)

Psychology/Required (21 hours):

  • SW250, Psychological Inquiry
  • PS210, Research Methods/Statistics I
  • PS211, Research Methods/Statistics II
  • PS 310, Statistics in Psychology
  • PS 385, Cognitive Processes
  • PS 440, Psychology of Personality
  • PS 475+, Psychology Seminar (PS 475, 476, 477, 478, 479, or 491)

Psychology/Electives (6 hours) (The student must complete A and B):

  • A. Either PS 202 Learning and Memory OR PS 235 Biological Basis of Behavior (Prerequisite: BI 100/or BI 103/or BI 110)
  • B. Either PS 320 Life Span Developmental Psychology OR PS 350 Social Psychology

Program Elective (3 hours)

  • Any philosophy or psychology course at the 400-level


Requirements for the major (48-54 credit hours**)

Philosophy (Total – 24 credit hours):

A. Core Requirements (15 credit hours)

  • One introductory course in philosophy: TI24x-PL (TI242 or TI244 recommended)
  • PL310 Logic OR AR231 Principles of Reasoning
  • PL343 Philosophy of Science OR PL351 Philosophy of Social Science*
  • PL345 Contemporary Social and Political Philosophy OR PL360 Ethics
  • PL410 Seminar in Philosophy

B. Ethics, Social and Political Philosophy Electives (3 credit hours)

Select one courses from the following:

  • PL344 Philosophy of Law
  • PL348 Philosophy of Feminism
  • PL350 Philosophy of Race
  • PL363 Biomedical Ethics
  • PL364 Global Justice*
  • PL365 Environmental Ethics*
  • PL366 Technology Ethics*

C. History of Philosophy Electives (3 credit hours)

Select one courses from the following:

  • PL311 History of Ancient Philosophy
  • PL313 History of Modern Philosophy
  • PL314 History of 19th Century Philosophy
  • PL315 Continental Philosophy*
  • PL316 Africana Philosophy*
  • PL327 Philosophical Classics

D. Open Elective (3 credit hours)

Select one course from B or C above OR other PL elective based upon PL advisor approval

*denotes courses not yet approved (including courses currently taught as topics courses) or courses for which we are submitting title revisions.

Sociology (Total – 24 credit hours) **Requires 27-30 credit hours if completing an internship or an SL course not listed below

 A. Core Requirements (15 credit hours)

  • SW200-SW Understanding Society
  • SO293 Statistics for Social Research (OR PS210, AR210, MA162, MS 264 AND one additional SO elective)
  • SO391 Social Theory Seminar
  • SO393 Social Research Seminar
  • SO486 Senior Research Seminar

B. Sociology Electives (9 credit hours)

Select three courses from the following:

  • SO205 Contemporary Social Issues
  • SO301 Families and Society
  • SO311 Law and Society
  • SO315 Film, Media, and Society
  • SO317 Gender and Society
  • SO319 Mental illness, Culture and Society
  • SO321 Crime and Society
  • SO323 Racial and Ethnic Relations
  • SO325 Class, Status, and Power
  • SO334 Immigration
  • SO335 Global Society
  • SO341 Self and Society
  • SO343 Popular Culture
  • SO347 Urban Community (SL)
  • SO349 Social Movements
  • SO354 Aging and the Life Course (SL)
  • SO356 Health and Society
  • SO360 Special Topics in Criminology (3 credit hours)
  • SO380 Special Topics in Sociology (3 credit hours)

**Other SO electives based upon SO advisor approval

C. Community Engagement Requirement (0-6 credit hours)

Students must complete an internship (SO484, SO485) OR a service learning course (SL).

A minor in Philosophy consists of 18 hours in philosophy, which must include the Philosophy Seminar (PL410), plus 6 additional hours on the 300-level or 400-level. Minors will be strongly advised to create a suitable package of courses in consultation with a philosophy professor appointed by the chair.

The Ethics Minor is a philosophy-based minor that is administered by the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies. Since ethical issues are addressed across the curriculum, appropriate courses in other disciplines can also count toward the minor.

Ethical issues are important to many human activities, fields of inquiry, and professions.  Indeed, one of the Student Learning Outcomes of Butler University is that “students will make informed, rational and ethical choices.” Knowledge of ethics will be beneficial to students as a complement to their major in many different areas, to their post-bachelor education (law, medicine, political science, etc.), to their careers (government, business, etc.), and, more broadly, to finding their way in life.

Students are advised to create a thematic unity in their course selection, in consultation with the program director or other faculty connected to the Ethics Minor. For advising, or more information, contact the Ethics minor director, Lavender McKittrick-Sweitzer ( ).

Ethical Foundations – 3 credit hours required:

  • TI-244PL, Ethics, the Good Life, and Society
  • PL360, Ethics

Normative Theorizing – 6 credit hours required; at least 3 credit hours on the 300-or 400-level:

  • PL 245, Classics of Social and Political Philosophy
  • PL 344, Philosophy of Law
  • PL 345, Contemporary Social and Political Philosophy
  • PL 348, Philosophy of Feminism
  • PL 350, Philosophy of Race
  • PL 364, Ethics and International relations
  • PL 380, Topics in Ethics
  • PL 403, Independent Study with Research Paper in Ethics

Applying Normative Theory – 3 credit hours required:

  • TI 240-PL, Ethics of War and Peace
  • TI 242-PL, Marginalized in America
  • PL 363, Biomedical Ethics
  • PL 365, Environmental Ethics
  • PL 380, Topics in Ethics
  • PL 403, Independent Study with research paper in Applied Ethics
  • PL 407, Internship in Ethics
  • LE 264, Business Ethics
  • PX 325, Ethical Issues in Health Care
  • BSHS 360, Healthcare Ethics
  • ORG 358, Communication and Social Responsibility
  • JR 420, Media Ethics
  • CS 485, Computer Ethics (1 credit hour)
  • DD 262ME/DD262EEN, Design, Ethics, and Entrepreneurship (2 credit hours)
  • DD 401ME/DD 401ECE, Engineering Ethics and Professionalism (1 credit hour)
  • DD 404BME, Ethics for Biomedical Engineers (1 credit hour)

Electives  – 6 credit hours required (any courses listed above may qualify):

  • ART 320, Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Contemporary Art
  • ART 352, Nature’s Nation: Art, Environment, and Sustainability
  • CLA 324, Law and Orator: A Study of Ancient Law Through Legal Speeches
  • RGSS 201, Intersections of Identity
  • RGSS 202, Resistance for Social Change
  • HST 305, Topics in History (at program director’s discretion)
  • LE 263, Legal Environment of Business
  • PO 220, Community Mediation
  • PO 354, Environmental Justice
  • PO 372, Role of Protest in U.S. Politics
  • PO 377, Constitutional Law
  • RL 341, Islam, Gender, and Sexuality
  • RL 359, Race and Religion in America
  • RL 363, Religion, Politics, and Conflict in South Asia
  • RL 382, Liberation Theologies
  • RL 384, Ecotheology
  • RL 387, Evil in Christian and Jewish Thought
  • SO 205, Contemporary Social Issues
  • SO 317, Gender and Society
  • SO 323, Racial and Ethnic Relations
  • SO 325, Class, Status, and Power
  • SO 334, Immigration
  • SO 347, Urban Community
  • SO 349, Social Movements


  • The program director may approve additional courses as electives, on a semester-by-semester basis.
  • No more than 6 credit hours of the Ethics Minor may be “double-counted” toward any other minor or major.

A significant number of students choose philosophy or religion in conjunction with another major. If the primary major (i.e., the major in the department where one’s advisor resides) is outside of philosophy and religion, the student should seek an informal advisor in the philosophy and religion department to make sure that he or she satisfies the departmental requirements. The departmental advisor will also work with the student to find a selection of courses which complements the work in their other majors.

  • TI 241-PL, Classics of Social and Political Thought
  • TI 240-PL, Ethics of War and Peace
  • TI 242-PL, Marginalized in America
  • TI 243-PL, Knowledge and Reality
  • TI 244-PL, Ethics, The Good Life, and Society
  • AR 231-PL, Principles of Reasoning
  • PL 310, Logic (U) (3)
  • PL 245, Classics of Social and Political Philosophy (U) (3)
  • PL 311, History of Ancient Philosophy (U-G) (3)
  • PL 312, History of Medieval Philosophy (U-G) (3)
  • PL 313, History of Modern Philosophy (U-G) (3)
  • PL 314, History of 19th-Century Philosophy through Nietzsche (U-G) (3)
  • PL 320, Theory of Knowledge (U-G) (3)
  • PL 323, Introduction to Analytic Philosophy (U-G) (3)
  • PL 327, Philosophical Classics (U-G) (3)
  • PL 340, Philosophy of Art (U-G) (3)
  • PL 342, Philosophy of Religion (U-G) (3)
  • PL 343, Philosophy of Science (U-G) (3)
  • PL 344, Philosophy of Law (U-G) (3)
  • PL 345, Contemporary Social and Political Philosophy (U-G) (3)
  • PL 346, Philosophy of Mind (U-G) (3)
  • PL 347, Existentialism (U-G) (3)
  • PL 348, Philosophy of Feminism (U-G) (3)
  • PL 349, Philosophy of Biology (U-G) (3)
  • PL 360, Ethics (U-G) (3)
  • PL 363, Biomedical Ethics (U) (3)
  • PL 364, Ethics & International Relations
  • PL 375, Topics in Philosophy (U-G) (3)
  • PL 401, 402, 403, Independent Study (U-G) (1, 2, 3)
  • PL 410, Seminar in Philosophy (U) (3)
  • PL 499, Honors Thesis (U) (3)

Current students should consult their own academic advisement report in to see their individual requirements and progress toward degree completion.