Published annually, the Course Catalog sets out the requirements of the academic programs--the majors, minors, and concentrations. Each Bryn Mawr student must declare her major before the end of her sophomore year. Students may also declare a minor or a concentration, but neither is required for the A.B. degree. Students must comply with the requirements published in the Course Catalog at the time when they declare the major, minor and/or concentration.

The Course Catalog also sets out the College requirements. Students must comply with the College requirements published at the time they enter Bryn Mawr College.

For more information, visit the Catalog Homepage to view the current content. To view Catalogs from previous academic years, visit the Catalog Archives page.

Students may complete a major or minor in Philosophy.

The Department of Philosophy introduces students to some of the most compelling answers to questions of human existence and knowledge. It also grooms students for a variety of fields that require analysis, conceptual precision, argumentative skill, and clarity of thought and expression. These include administration, the arts, business, computer science, health professions, law, and social services. The major in Philosophy also prepares students for graduate-level study leading to careers in teaching and research in the discipline.

The curriculum focuses on three major areas: the systematic areas of philosophy, such as logic, theory of knowledge, metaphysics, ethics, and aesthetics; the history of philosophy through the study of key philosophers and philosophical periods; and the philosophical explication of methods in such domains as art, history, religion, and science.

The department is a member of the Greater Philadelphia Philosophy Consortium comprising 13 member institutions in the Delaware Valley. It sponsors conferences on various topics in philosophy and an annual undergraduate student philosophy conference.

Major Requirements

Students majoring in Philosophy must take a minimum of 11 semester courses in the discipline and attend the monthly noncredit departmental colloquia which feature leading visiting scholars. The following six courses are required for the major:

  • the two-semester Historical Introduction (PHIL 101 and 102);
  • Ethics (PHIL 221);
  • Theory of Knowledge (PHIL 211), Metaphysics (PHIL 212), or Logic (PHIL 103);
  • and Senior Conference (PHIL 398 and PHIL 399).
  • At least three other courses at the 300 level are required, one of which must concentrate on the work of a single philosopher or a period of philosophy.

All majors will be required to complete two writing attentive courses prior to the start of their senior year.

Philosophy majors are encouraged to supplement their philosophical interests by taking advantage of courses offered in related areas, such as anthropology, history, history of art, languages, literature, mathematics, political science, psychology, and sociology.


Honors will be awarded by the department based on the senior thesis and other work completed in the department. The Milton C. Nahm Prize in Philosophy is a cash award presented to the graduating senior major whose senior thesis the department judges to be of outstanding caliber. This prize need not be granted every year.

Minor Requirements

Students may minor in Philosophy by taking six courses in the discipline at any level. They must also attend the noncredit department colloquia.


Students may take advantage of cross-registration arrangements with Haverford College, Swarthmore College, and the University of Pennsylvania. Courses at these institutions may satisfy Bryn Mawr requirements, but students should check with the major advisor to make sure specific courses meet requirements.


No introductory-level course carries a prerequisite. However, most courses at both the intermediate and advanced levels carry prerequisites. Unless stated otherwise in the course description, any introductory course satisfies the prerequisite for an intermediate-level course, and any intermediate course satisfies the prerequisite for an advanced-level course.