The study of Philosophy can be challenging because it asks students to critically examine very fundamental questions about what it means to be human - behavior, values, ethics, logic, aesthetics. Some describe it as "thinking in slow motion" because of the way it explores in depth the human experience.
Students choose philosophy because it instills a lifelong love and quest for knowledge, it imparts a disciplined and systematic way of thinking, and it enhances critical and analytical capacities. Most graduates of philosophy describe the great personal reward that comes from exploring the great thinkers of the past in the context of modern issues. But, they also passionately value the career skills that they developed - how to read and comprehend difficult text;, how to understand different interpretations of information and assess opposing viewpoints; how to craft a clear and logical position on an issue in writing and orally; and how to make connections between smaller, seemingly disparate details and the big picture.
By mid-career, philosophy majors out earn business majors on average because their knowledge and skills make them excellent leaders in business, nonprofit, law, government work, education, and more.
The undergraduate program is relatively small, resulting in more one-on-one attention from faculty than might be found at another university.
Complete 120 credits including 90 credits in the College of Letters & Science and with 36 of the 90 credits in L&S upper-level (numbered above 300) courses. The College requires that students must complete in residence at UWM at least 15 credits in upper-division (numbered 300 or above) courses in their major. Students are also required to complete University-wide General Education Requirements and the specific L&S requirements listed below.
To complete a major, students must satisfy all the requirements of the major as stated in this catalog. Students who declare their majors within five years of entering the UW System as a degree candidate may satisfy the requirements outlined in any catalog issued since the time they entered. Credits used to satisfy the major also may be used to satisfy other degree requirements.
University General Education Requirements (GER)
|Oral and Written Communication|
|ENGLISH 102||College Writing and Research (or equivalent)|
|Course designated as OWC-B; may be completed through a major-specific course requirement|
|Select one of the following:|
|Contemporary Applications of Mathematics|
|Introduction to College Algebra|
|Algebraic Literacy II|
Or equivalent course
|Course designated as QL-B; may be completed through a major-specific course requirement|
|Select 3 credits||3|
|Select 6 credits||6|
|Select 6 credits||6|
|Select 6 credits (at least two courses including one lab)||6|
|UWM Foreign Language Requirement|
|Complete Foreign Language Requirement through:|
Two years (high school) of a single foreign language
Two semesters (college) of a single foreign language
|UWM Cultural Diversity Requirement|
|One course from the Arts, Humanities, or Social Sciences must also satisfy UWM's Cultural Diversity requirement|
College of Letters & Science Requirements
I. English Writing Requirement
Note: This requirement is the same as the University General Education Requirement for Oral and Written Communication Part A. The College of Letters & Science does not have a specific requirement for a writing course beyond English 102, but students must complete the university-wide requirement for Oral and Written Communication Part B listed above.
II. Mathematics and Formal Reasoning
To satisfy the Mathematics and Formal Reasoning Requirement, students must satisfy the following two requirements:
1. Achieve a Math Placement score of at least 30 or earn at least 3 credits with a grade of C or higher in one of the following courses or an equivalent course:
|MATH 102||Mathematical Literacy for College Students II||3|
|MATH 103||Contemporary Applications of Mathematics||3|
|MATH 105||Introduction to College Algebra||3|
|MATH 108||Algebraic Literacy II||3|
|MATH 175||Mathematical Explorations for Elementary Teachers I||3|
Note: This requirement is the same as the University General Education Requirement for Quantitative Literacy Part A, listed above.
2. Complete one course (at least 3 credits) at the 200 level or above chosen from courses in Mathematics, PHILOS 211, or Letters and Science statistics courses:
|Complete one of the following:|
3 or more credits in any 200-level or above Math course
|Introduction to Statistics in African and African Diaspora Studies|
|Introduction to Anthropological Statistics|
|Statistical Methods in Atmospheric Sciences|
|Quantitative Analysis in Geography|
|The Quantitative Analysis of Historical Data|
|Elementary Statistical Analysis|
|Political Data Analysis|
|Introduction to Statistical Thinking in Sociology|
Note: This requirement is NOT the same as the University General Education Requirement for Quantitative Literacy Part B. To complete the BA, students must take one of the L&S approved courses. The courses listed here will satisfy the QL-B requirement.
III. Foreign Language Requirement
Placement testing may be used to satisfy all or part of this requirement. Language courses (including American Sign Language) other than English taken in high school may be used to satisfy all or part of this requirement. One year of high school language equates to one semester of college work.
Completion of the L&S Language Requirement also satisfies the university-wide Foreign Language GER, but not vice versa.
|Completed in one of the following ways: 1||0-18|
Successful completion of the 4th semester of college work or equivalent in one language other than English (including American Sign Language)
Successful completion of the 3rd semester of college work or equivalent in one language other than English (including American Sign Language) PLUS the 2nd semester of college work or equivalent in another language other than English (including American Sign Language)
IV. International Requirement
See Approved Courses for the L&S International Requirement for course options.
|Completed in one of the following ways: 1||9|
Complete 3 courses (min. 9 cr) in a single foreign language (not including literature-in-translation or American Sign Language) at the 3rd semester level and above
Complete 3 non-language courses (min. 9 credits) with an international content chosen from at least 2 curricular areas.
Complete 9 credits in combination of the two options above.
V. Breadth Requirement
Along with completing the University General Education Requirements of 3 credits in the Arts (A); 6 credits in the Humanities (HU), Social Sciences (SS), and Natural Sciences (NS/NS+); and a course with the Cultural Diversity (CD/+) designation, L&S students must complete the Breadth requirement.
|Select 3 credits||3|
|Complete 12 credits of L&S courses with Humanities Breadth designation; no more than 6 credits from a single subject area. *||12|
|Complete 12 credits of L&S Courses with Social Science Breadth designation; no more than 6 credits from a single curricular area. *||12|
|Complete 12 credits of L&S Courses with Natural Sciences Breadth designation, including at least one laboratory or field course; no more than 6 credits from a single curricular area. *||12|
|Complete 3 credits in a course with Cultural Diversity (CD) designation. **||3|
Students should check their course selections carefully with the list of approved L&S Breadth Courses. Students are advised to select at least 6 credits worth of courses in each of the Humanities, Social Science, and Natural Sciences areas that can satisfy both the campus-wide General Education Requirements and the L&S Breadth requirement.
Students are advised to select a course that satisfies the Cultural Diversity requirement as well as a Humanities or Social Science breadth/GER requirement.
VI. The Major
The College of Letters and Science requires that students attain at least a 2.5 GPA in all credits in the major attempted at UWM. In addition, students must attain a 2.5 GPA on all major credits attempted, including any transfer work. Individual departments or programs may require higher GPAs for graduation. Some departmental majors require courses from other departments. Contact your major department for information on whether those credits will count as part of the major GPA. The College requires that students must complete in residence at UWM at least 15 credits in upper-division (numbered 300 or above) courses in their major.
Within their majors, students must complete a research experience approved by the L&S faculty. A list of courses satisfying the research requirement in each major can be found here.
At UWM, incoming freshmen interested in studying philosophy are advised to begin with the general introductory course, PHILOS 101, though there are several courses, especially at the 200 level, that are open to students without a background in philosophy. The 300 level includes courses designed to provide more in-depth treatments of traditional philosophical areas. Courses at the 400 level are devoted to the history of philosophy. Courses at the 500 level deal with specific issues and problems.
The College of Letters & Science requires that students complete at least 15 upper-division (numbered 300 and above) credits in the major in residence at UWM. Students also must attain at least a 2.500 GPA on all credits in the major attempted at UWM. In addition, they must attain a 2.500 GPA on all major credits attempted, including any transfer work.
It is expected that the required courses in the history of philosophy (PHILOS 430 and PHILOS 432) will be taken as soon as the student decides to major in philosophy (normally during the junior year). Students must fulfill the capstone/research requirement in the senior year. It is recommended strongly that students become proficient in at least one related academic discipline. Each major will be asked to submit a paper for inclusion in a portfolio that is kept in the department. Typically, this will be a paper written for PHILOS 685. It should be stressed that this is not an additional requirement for graduation as a major. Rather, it is part of the department's ongoing effort to evaluate and improve our major program.
A minimum of 30 credits in philosophy is required.
|PHILOS 211||Elementary Logic 1||3|
|PHILOS 430||Great Thinkers of the Ancient Period||3|
|PHILOS 432||Great Thinkers of the Modern Period||3|
|Select one of the following:||3|
|Modern Ethical Theories|
|Great Moral Philosophers|
|Select one of the following:||3|
|Mind and Knowledge|
|Philosophy of Science|
|Philosophy of Mind|
|Select any philosophy course numbered 500 or above (excluding the course you choose to satisfy the capstone requirement)||3|
|Select 12 credits of philosophy electives 2||12|
|Select one of the following:||3|
|Seminar in Advanced Topics: (subtitle)|
|Senior Capstone Research Seminar: (subtitle)|
At least 15 of these 30 credits must be taken at the 300 level or above in residence at UWM.
Letters & Science Advising
The College of Letters and Science provides general academic advising for all students with a major in the College, particularly as it relates to campus' general education requirements and the College's degree requirements. We also provide specialized advising for pre-professional students (pre-med, pre-dental, pre-pharmacy, etc.) regardless if their major is in Letters and Science or not. Prospective students, including high school students and students seeking to transfer to a program in Letters and Science may also receive advising from our admissions counselors.
Upon admission, students are assigned an advisor in the College advising office. Academic advising is available Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. by appointment. Appointments outside of these times may be available and phone appointments are available for online students. The advising office is located on the first floor of Holton Hall. Current students should call (414) 229-4654 to schedule an appointment or use the Student Success Collaborative website to make an appointment with your assigned advisor; online scheduling is only available if you already have a Letters & Science advisor assigned to you. Prospective students should call (414) 229-7711 or email email@example.com.
When students declare a major, they will receive an additional faculty advisor located within the major department who will assist with requirements for that major. Students should read the "Declaration of Major" information on the website of the major that they are interested in. In some cases, the student will need to choose a faculty advisor as part of the declaration process.
All students are cautioned to consult their Letters & Science academic advisor AND their major advisor prior to each registration period to ensure they understand all requirements. Do not rely on pre-printed sample plans, as they are intended to be samples only and may not be right for your particular situation.
Honors in the Major
Prior to the beginning of their senior year, philosophy majors who maintain a 3.000 GPA in all UWM courses attempted, a 3.500 GPA in courses in the major, and a 3.5 GPA in advanced courses in the major may apply to the undergraduate program coordinator for special honors work in philosophy. Upon successful completion of that work, the students are recommended by the department for graduation with honors in philosophy. The special work normally involves participation in PHILOS 681 or PHILOS 685, earning a grade of A- or above.
Honors in the College of Letters and Science
Dean's Honor List
GPA of 3.750 or above, earned on a full-time student's GPA on 12 or more graded credits in a given semester.
Honors Degree and Honors Degree with Thesis
Granted to graduating seniors who complete Honors College requirements, as listed in the Honors College section of this site.
Students with a cumulative GPA of 3.500 or above, based on a minimum of 40 graded UWM credits earned prior to the final semester, will receive all-university commencement honors and be awarded the traditional gold cord at the December or May Honors Convocation. In schools and colleges in which fewer than 15% of the traditional students have a 3.500 GPA, all-university honors will be awarded to approximately the top 15% of graduating students. A criterion GPA (not lower than 3.200) for this 15% will be calculated based on statistics from the previous comparable semester. Please note that for honors calculation, the GPA is not rounded and is truncated at the third decimal (e.g., 3.499).
Earned on a minimum of 60 graded UWM credits: Cum Laude - 3.500 or above; Magna Cum Laude - 3.650 or above; Summa Cum Laude - 3.800 or above.