BS in Philosophy

Degree Program Description

Philosophy is the search for reasoned answers to certain fundamental questions about the nature of the universe and the place of humans in it, questions that science seems unable to answer.  To do philosophy is to construct and evaluate the best arguments for and against the various answers to the questions that philosophy seeks to answer.  The Bachelor of Science emphasizes the formal aspects of philosophy and its many connections with the sciences.  It may be a better choice for those wishing to double major in philosophy and a science.  The practical value of studying philosophy lies in the intellectual training that it provides.  Successful study of philosophy requires, and helps develop, several intellectual abilities:  the ability to grasp the big picture as well as fine details; the ability to think, speak, and write about highly abstract and conceptually demanding questions; the ability to identify key assumptions made in arguments; the ability to make relevant conceptual distinctions; and the ability to assess the pros and cons of proposed solutions.  These abilities are highly prized in a wide variety of careers, and philosophy majors go on to successful careers in a wide range of fields, including law, medicine, and business.

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Major Program Requirements

Undergraduates pursuing a BS degree in philosophy must meet all the non-philosophy requirements for a BS degree in the College of Arts and Science, including university general education requirements and graduation requirements.  In addition, they are recommended, but not required, to pursue a minor in another field.  Finally, they must earn 42 credits in philosophy, with a grade of "C-" or above in every course, distributed as follows:

Required Courses12
All of the following four courses:
Elementary Logic
Ancient Western Philosophy
Modern Philosophy
Senior Seminar in Philosophy
3000-Level/4000-Level Requirement9
Any three semester-based courses at the 3000-level or 4000-level not taken to meet other major requirements, except for 4998 and 4999.
Further BS Requirement12
Any four semester-based courses from the following list:
Rational Decisions
Introduction to Cognitive Science
Philosophy of Language
Advanced Logic
Selected Topics in Logic
Probability and Induction
Formal Semantics
Philosophy of Mind
Philosophy of Science
Philosophy of Biology
Philosophy Electives9
Nine philosophy credits in any classes (excluding 4998 and 4999) not taken to meet other major requirements; but no more than three 1000-level courses may be used as philosophy electives.
Total Credits42

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Semester Plan

Below is a sample plan of study, semester by semester.  A student's actual plan may vary, depending on his or her course choices and whether options are available.

First Year
Introductory Philosophy course (e.g., PHIL 1000, PHIL 1100, or PHIL 1200)3General elective3
ENGLSH 10003Foreign Language or general elective5-6
Social Science3MATH 11003
Foreign Language or general elelective5-6Philosophy Course3
 14-15 14-15
Second Year
Behavioral or Social Science3Philosophy Course3
Natural Science3Humanities/Fine Arts course (writing intensive)3
PHIL 27003Behavioral or Social Science3
Foreign Language or general elective3Natural Science3
Writing Intensive 1000+3Diversity Intensive Course3
 15 15
Third Year
PHIL 30003PHIL 32003
Philosophy Course, 3000 or 4000-level3Humanities/Fine Arts course3
Natural Science with lab3Foreign Language or general elective3
General electives8Philosophy Course, 3000 or 4000-level3
 Philosophy Course, 3000 or 4000-level3
 17 15
Fourth Year
Philosophy Course3PHIL 49503
Philosophy Course3Philosophy Course3
Philosophy Course3Humanities/Fine Arts Course3
Foreign Language or general elective3Foreign Language or General Elective3
Foreign Language or general elective3General Elective3
 15 15
Total Credits: 120-122

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Degree Audit

The degree audit is an automated report reflecting a student’s academic progress toward the completion of a degree.  Degree Audits are not available for all programs; however, please consult with the appropriate college or school for audit information.

MU students can request a degree audit by logging in to myDegreePlanner.  Students may also access myDegreePlanner via myZou, in the Student Center, by clicking on the Request Degree Audit link. The audit automatically pulls in the student’s MU course work, transfer courses and courses in progress.  This is available to current students, admitted students, and those who last attended less than three terms ago.

Past MU students can request a degree audit by contacting the Academic Advising Unit of the division in which they were last enrolled at MU. For contact information, go to

Prospective students, can access a preliminary MU degree audit via Information on the college credits already earned will have to be manually entered before it can be evaluated against current degree requirements.

For additional details on degree audits, go to

Major and Career Explorations

The University of Missouri has many resources to assist you in exploring majors and career possibilities.  For guidance, visit the Majors and Careers website or view specific resources below.

  • If you would like to learn more about your career interests, abilities, values and talents, visit the MU Career Center in the lower level of the Student Success Center.  No appointment is necessary to explore career options with one of our staff members.

For additional major and career exploration resources, visit Major & Career Exploration in the catalog.

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