The department offers both a major and a minor program that combine necessary structure with the freedom to follow an individually oriented course of study.


The minimum requirement for the major is ten semester courses in philosophy. Majors must complete the five requirements below. Note: only one introductory course (PHIL110 or a Montserrat seminar carrying a 'P') can count toward the major.

  1. Two Courses in the History of Philosophy: 1) either Ancient (225) or Medieval Philosophy (230); and 2) either Early Modern Philosophy (235) or Modern Philosophy (241).
  2. One Course in Theoretical Philosophy: either Metaphysics (201); Theory of Knowledge (209), Phenomenology (245); Process Philosophy (252); Philosophy of Mind (261); Philosophy of Science (271); or Philosophy of Biology (272).
  3. One Course in Practical Philosophy: either Ethics (204); Foundations of Ethics (207); Environmental Political Philosophy (247); Environmental Philosophy (249); Medical Ethics (250); Theory of Value (256); Philosophy of Art (260); Political Philosophy (265); or Contemporary Political Philosophy (267).
  4. One Course in Logic: either Symbolic Logic (215) or Logic and Language (242).
  5. In addition to these courses, students must take at least two advanced (300-level) seminars.*


The minimum requirement for the minor is six semester courses in philosophy. Minors must complete the three requirements below. Note: only one introductory course (PHIL110 or a Montserrat seminar carrying a 'P') can count toward the minor.

  1. One Course in the History of Philosophy: either Ancient (225), Medieval (230), Early Modern (235) or Modern Philosophy (241)
  2. One Course from either theoretical or practical philosophy as defined above.
  3. At least one advanced (300-level) seminar.*

First Course/Course Progression

First year students may enroll in Philosophical Inquiries (PHIL 110) as an introduction to Philosophy, and to fulfill their common area requirement in Philosophy. Or if you are enrolled in a Montserrat seminar carrying a "P" (for Philosophy), which is usually taught by a member of the Philosophy Department, you thereby also fulfill the P requirement. But do not do both! Only one of the two (110 or a Montserrat) can count toward the major or minor. 

Students past the first year may still fulfill the Philosophy common area requirement by taking any 200 level Philosophy course (except PHIL 215) that suites your interests. These courses do not require a prior Philosophy course. This would also count toward the major or minor. At the 200 level students exploring the major or minor are encouraged to take a mixture of core courses (like History of Philosophy, Theoretical Philosophy, Practical Philosophy, Logic) as well as "Philosophies of," courses that compliment your other interests, especially another major or minor. Discuss these with your advisor, philosophy professor, or the Department Chair. In your last two years, complete your required 200 level courses, and take at least two 300 level seminars in areas of interest. Also in Spring of your Junior year, if you qualify, you may want to apply for our honors program. 

*Study Abroad Students: Note that only half the required courses for the major and minor may be taken at a college other than Holy Cross, i.e. 3 for the minor, 5 for the major.