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Philosophy Major Guide for 2008-2009

What is Philosophy

Philosophy probes every aspect of human life. It examines questions of the meaning, value, and purpose of human life and studies how human beings conceive of themselves, their place in the universe, and their relation to their gods, to other human begins, and to the world on which they live. The sort of questions philosophers ask are intended to be explored, developed, clarified, and transformed; few of them (perhaps none of them) are straightforwardly answer able.

Career Opportunities in Philosophy

Students graduating with a Philosophy from UT have found careers in a multitude of fields. Examples of these careers include: Law, journalism, theology, communications, several helping professions and government service.

Salary Trends in Philosophy

A degree in arts and sciences prepares students for many types of careers. Your college major is not necessarily the deciding factor in your career choice. As with any degree, pre­professional experience (for example, volunteering, work experience, and internships) increases your chances of obtaining the job you want and affects your potential salary. As a group, graduates in arts and sciences average an annual starting salary of $33,258 (

High School Preparation

Most students entering the university are unfamiliar with philosophy. Although high school students are intellectually capable of studying philosophy, they are seldom given the opportunity through high school coursework.

How to Major in Philosophy

Co-requisites: 3 hours of logic, normally Philosophy 130 or 135. Once this prerequisite is complete, a student declares their major at the philosophy department in 801 McClung Tower.

Requirements for Philosophy

24 hours of courses numbered 200 or above, including three hours of ethics, normally philosophy 340 or 440, and six hours in the history of philosophy (three in ancient, normally 320 and three in modern, normally 324). At least four of the courses for the major must be at the 300 level or above, of which one must be at the 400 level or above.  Majors are required to discuss their programs with a member of the philosophy faculty.

Honors Concentration
Co-requisites: Philosophy 135
Students must possess a 3.25 overall GPA and a PGPA of 3.50.  Students must complete at least 24 hours of philosophy courses at the 200 level or above, at least 15 hours of which are at the 300-level or above, including at least 3 hours at the 400-level or above.  At least 12 of the 24 hours must be in philosophy honors courses.  The 24 hours must include one course from each of the following three pairs (at least two of them honors courses): 320 or 327; 324 or 328; 340 or 347.  At least one hour of 407 (Honors Thesis), passed with a B or better, must be included. 

To Minor in philosophy, a student needs to complete 18 credit hours of philosophy courses numbered 200 or above. Minors should also discuss their program with a member of the philosophy faculty.

Highlights of Philosophy

While some introductory philosophy courses may take place in a large lecture format, with smaller discussion groups, most upper level courses have fewer than 25 students. This allows for close interaction with the professors as well as other students. There are frequent guest lecturers from some of the premier programs in the country. This is in addition to lectures by our own faculty and graduate students, whom provide an even greater opportunity for learning. The Philosophy Club, a gathering for undergraduates, meets weekly during the year for philosophical discussion.

Ready for the World logoReady for the World

"Ready for the World” is part of a long-range plan to transform the UTK campus into a culture of diversity that best prepares students for working and competing in the 21st century.  Thus students are encouraged to actively participate in the diverse cultural programs offered on campus.  Some of these events include the guest lecture series, cultural nights at the International House, and international film screenings.  Visit the Center for International Education website ( or the Ready for the World website ( for more information on upcoming cultural programs and activities. 
Students are also encouraged to develop a global perspective within their academic program through study abroad.  Visit the Programs Abroad Office website ( for information on study abroad opportunities.

Learn more about UT's Ready for the World initiative to help students gain the international and intercultural knowledge they need to succeed in today's world.

Sample Curriculum

Freshman Year Credit Hours
English Composition 6
Philosophy 130 or 135 3
Natural Science Lab Sequence 8
Quantitative Reasoning 6-8
Foreign Language 6
General Elective 0-1
Sophomore Year Credit Hours
Philosophy (340 or 440) 3
Humanities 6
Non-US History Sequence 6
Natural Science 3
Foreign Language or General Electives 6
Social Sciences 6
Junior Year Credit Hours
Philosophy (major 300 level or above) 12
Social Science 3
Upper Level Distribution 6
Upper Division Electives 9
Senior Year Credit Hours
Philosophy (major) 12
Upper Division Electives 12*
Social Science 3
Communicating Through Writing 3
GRAND TOTAL (minimum) 120

*Students must ensure that they complete at least 42 hours at the 300-level or above.

For More Information

John Hardwig Head
Philosophy Department
(865) 974-3255



The information on this page should be considered general information only. For more specific information on this and other programs refer to the UT catalog or contact the department and/or college directly.