At UMass, you’ll get broad exposure to all areas of philosophy, from ancient to contemporary.

You'll study areas of philosophical inquiry like logic, value theory (ethics, social and political philosophy, and philosophical perspectives on gender), metaphysics (the study of what there is), epistemology (the study of knowledge), philosophy of mind, and philosophy of language.


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How to Declare

Students who wish to declare philosophy as a major are invited to:


Students majoring in philosophy are required to complete a minimum of 10 courses offered by the department, including at least seven upper-division courses (300 or above). With the exception of courses taken during periods in which all restrictions on pass/fail courses were removed, only courses numbered 501 or above may be taken pass/fail to count for the major. At least 6 of the 10 courses must be taken at UMass Amherst or the Five Colleges.

Philosophy majors must also take courses in the following areas:

One course in logic, e.g.:

  • 110 Introduction to Logic
  • 310 Intermediate Logic

One course in value theory, e.g.:

  • 160 Introduction to Ethics
  • 163 Business Ethics
  • 164 Medical Ethics
  • 170 Problems in Social Thought
  • 343 Philosophy of Art
  • 360 Intermediate Ethics
  • 370 Social-Political Philosophy
  • 371 Philosophical Perspectives on Gender

One course in history of philosophy (A): ancient and medieval, e.g.:

  • 320 History of Ancient Philosophy
  • 328 Plato and Aristotle
  • 329 Medieval Philosophy

One course in history of philosophy (B): 17th and 18th century, e.g.:

  • 321 History of Modern Philosophy
  • 330 Continental Rationalism
  • 331 British Empiricism

Two courses in metaphysics and epistemology (broadly construed), e.g.:

  • 335 20th Century Analytic Philosophy
  • 341 Metaphysics
  • 342 Epistemology
  • 346 Philosophy of Language
  • 353 Philosophy of Science
  • 355 Philosophy of Mind
  • 383 Philosophy of Religion

Consult the undergraduate course webpage for specific courses each semester and what fields they satisfy .

Admission to the major is open to everyone.

students and teacher sitting in a classroom

Departmental Honors

You can find information on the requirements for obtaining Departmental Honors in Philosophy on the Commonwealth Honors College website.