Major Requirements for Philosophy Majors

Major Program. Beginning with the class 2026, to major in philosophy students must pass nine courses in philosophy. PHIL 499: Senior Honors does not count toward these nine. Among these nine courses, majors are required to take:

  1. (H) Two courses in the History of Philosophy, including at least one course in our Western history sequence (217,  218, and 219) or the equivalent.
  2. (L) PHIL 213: Logic or the equivalent. 
  3. (V) Two courses in Philosophy of Value including Ethics or the equivalent. 
  4. (T) Two courses in Theoretical Philosophy 
  5. (S) One Seminar 
  6. (C) PHIL 497: Senior Capstone Seminar. This course satisfies the comprehensive requirement for the Philosophy major. Students who plan to graduate in January (rather than May/June) can elect to take this course in the second semester of their Junior or Senior years. 

No course can count toward more than one requirement.  Ordinarily, no more than three of these courses can be taken outside the Amherst College Department of Philosophy.

Philosophy majors who graduate before Spring 2026 can elect to satisfy either the requirements for the major when they declared their major in Philosophy or the current major requirements. Please consult your major advisor for advice. 

Department Honors Program. Candidates for Honors in Philosophy must complete PHIL 497 and PHIL 499. Admission to PHIL 499 will be contingent on the ability to write an acceptable honors thesis as demonstrated, in part, by performance in PHIL 497 and by a research paper on the thesis topic (due in mid-January). The due date for the thesis usually falls in the middle of April.

Five College Certificate in Logic. The Logic Certificate Program brings together aspects of logic from different regions of the curriculum: Philosophy, Mathematics, Computer Science, and Linguistics. The program is designed to acquaint students with the uses of logic and initiate them into the profound mysteries and discoveries of modern logic. For further information about the relevant courses, faculty, requirements, and special events, see

Tags:  Philosophy Major