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Major Requirements

The following academic requirements are from the 2016/17 Vassar College Catalogue.

Requirements for Concentration

The Philosophy major requires a total of 12 units.


Majors must take PHIL 125, Logic.  They must also take two, additional 100-level courses, at least one of which must be either PHIL 101 (History of Western Philosophy: Ancient) or PHIL 102 (History of Western Philosophy: Modern).


Majors must take one course from each of the following:

Cluster 1

  • PHIL 220 - Metaphysics
  • PHIL 222 - Philosophy of Language
  • PHIL 224 - Philosophy of Mind
  • PHIL 226 - Philosophy of Science
  • PHIL 228 - Epistemology

Cluster 2

  • PHIL 205 - Nineteenth Century Philosophy
  • PHIL 215 - Phenomenology and Existential Thought
  • PHIL 240 - Philosophy of Art and Aesthetics
  • PHIL 242 - The Philosophy of Music

Cluster 3

  • PHIL 210 - Neo-Confucianism and Chinese Buddhism
  • PHIL 234 - Ethics
  • PHIL 236 - Philosophy of Law
  • PHIL 238 - Social and Political Philosophy
  • PHIL 250 - Feminist Theory


Three 300-level seminars, two of which must be differently numbered. The department will not entertain any requests to count a seminar under a number different from the one it is assigned in the curriculum.

PHIL 300 - Senior Thesis-PHIL 301 - Senior Thesis is optional. Majors will consult with their faculty advisor about opting to write a senior thesis. Students who choose not to do a senior thesis will take an upper-level course instead (i.e., a 200-level or 300-level course).

NRO Policy

After the declaration of major, no required philosophy courses may be elected NRO.


Individual programs should be designed, in consultation with a faculty advisor, to give the student a representative acquaintance with major traditions in philosophy, competence in the skills of philosophic investigation and argument, and opportunities for exploration in areas of special interest. Students considering a concentration in philosophy are advised to take PHIL 101 or PHIL 102 early in their careers. German, French, and Greek are languages of particular importance in Western philosophy; Chinese will be of special interest to those taking PHIL 110, PHIL 210, or PHIL 350.