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CSUN Philosophy Major Requirements

The curriculum for the Philosophy Major is both sufficiently comprehensive and flexible enough to prepare each student to pursue further graduate work in philosophy; or a professional degree in medicine, law, business; or a unique journey off the beaten track. Many of our courses are online, making them accessible to students with busy schedules.

The CSUN Philosophy Major trains students to become rigorous analytical thinkers with a solid grasp of both historically significant works and ongoing state-of-the-art research. The Required Courses ensure that students are grounded in the basic elements of logic and critical thinking, the classic texts, and philosophical writing. At the same time, they are sufficiently flexible to allow each student to pursue a path of his or her own, whether it is the Social Justice and Pre-Law Paththe Health and Sciences Path, or the History of Philosophy Path. With the diversity of options given with the Electives, students can pursue other disciplines that complement or are complemented by their background in philosophy – an opportunity that facilitates an impressive second major. The Philosophy major culminates in a senior thesis, where each student gets the opportunity to work closely with faculty to explore an issue in depth.

Philosophy Major Worksheet (.docx)


General Path Through the Major 

I. REQUIRED COURSES (21-22 units) 

To fulfill the Core Historical (Hist.) requirement, majors must take:

  • PHIL 201: Ancient Western Philosophy (3)

    • and

  • PHIL 202: Modern Philosophy (3)

To fulfill the Critical Thinking (CT) requirement, majors can choose one of the following courses:

  • PHIL 100: Introduction to Critical Reasoning (4)

  • PHIL 200: Critical Reasoning (3)
  • PHIL 210: Reasoning in the Sciences (3)

  • PHIL 225: Evolutionary Reasoning (3)
  • PHIL 230: Introduction to Formal Logic (3)

To fulfill the Value Theory (V) requirement, majors can choose one of the following courses:

  • PHIL 360: Ethical Theory (3)

  • PHIL 365: Social and Political Philosophy (3)

  • PHIL 380: Aesthetics (3)

To fulfill the Core Analytic requirement (CA), majors can choose one of the following courses:

  • PHIL 350: Philosophy of Knowledge (3)

  • PHIL 352: Philosophy of Reality (3)

  • PHIL 355: Philosophy of Mind (3)

Majors must also choose one of the following 300-level courses (*300):

  • PHIL 333: American Indian Philosophy (3)

  • PHIL 354: Kierkegaard and Nietzsche (3)

  • PHIL 353: Existentialism (3)

  • PHIL 343: Indian Philosophy (3)

  • PHIL 344: Chinese Philosophy (3)

  • PHIL 348: Feminist Philosophy (3)


Advanced students must enroll in the following capstone course: 

* PHIL 497: Senior Research Seminar (3)

 II. ELECTIVES (21-22 units)

a. At least four courses (12 units) must be 400-level Philosophy courses (other than PHIL 497 and PHIL 499).

b. At least two courses (6 units) must be Philosophy courses numbered 230 and higher, excluding those taken as requirements for the major.

c. Up to one elective course (3-4 units) can be satisfied at the 100-level, in addition to those taken as requirements for the major.

d. Up to 3 units of electives may be in closely related upper division courses outside of the department (subject to the approval of the department chair).