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Website: School of Humanities and Global Studies



About the Major

According to the ancient Greeks, philosophers are ‘lovers of wisdom.’  Loving wisdom means asking life’s “big questions” and daringly trying to answer those questions with one’s own reasons.  In philosophy classes at Ramapo we all become philosophers.  And as philosophers, some questions we ask ourselves are:  What is an argument, and why make one?  Does God exist?  What is the connection between my mind and body?  How do we know we exist?  What do we know for sure?  How should we treat ourselves or other people?  Are we free or determined?  Several classes at Ramapo have a particularly practical emphasis.  In these classes we might ask:  Is globalization good for humankind?  What are the arguments in favor of or against capitalism?  Is euthanasia morally permissible?  Should art ever be censored?

Students of philosophy study the classic answers to these questions, as well as formulate their own answers.  In doing so, philosophy students develop excellent reading, writing, and critical thinking skills.

The best reason to be a philosophy major is because one is curious about these “big questions.”  Yet there are more practical reasons, as well.  Philosophical study is excellent preparation for graduate school.  It has been well documented that those who study philosophy do better on graduate admissions tests (for law, medical, and graduate school) than those who did not.

More generally employers are looking for employees who have good critical thinking skills.  Philosophy majors have been specially trained in how to think through long-standing problems in original ways.  It is unlikely that anyone ever got a job because he could recite Plato’s Allegory of the Cave.  However, a skills-based background in philosophy can develop proficiency in communication, analysis, argumentation, and reflection, necessary for any position of responsibility.  Philosophy has proved to be a good preparation for jobs in business, the helping professions, as well as public service.

Outcomes for the Major

Goal 1: Understand metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics by closely reading the major figures and problems of those subjects.

Outcome 1.1 Students should be able to describe the major figures and problems of ethics, metaphysics, and/or epistemology.

Outcome 1.2 Students should be able contextualize a particular philosophical reading as rooted in the intersecting South Asian, East Asian, Abrahamic, and/or Greco-Roman traditions.

Outcome 1.3 Students should be able to relate these figures, problems, and traditions to real-world concerns, viz., in the social sciences, politics, and/or art.

Goal 2: Employ the diverse methods of philosophical argument, including logic, observation, contemplation, dialogue, academic research, and/or formal writing.

Outcome 2.1 Students should be able to understand and use induction and deduction in formal and informal logical analysis.

Outcome 2.2 Students should be able to practice observation, contemplation, dialogue, academic research, and/or formal writing.

Requirements of the Major
  1. Students are required to take 11 courses (44 credits) to complete this major.
  2. Transfer students who have 48 or more credits accepted at the time of transfer are waived from the courses marked with a (W) below.  Waivers do not apply to Major Requirements.
  3. Double counting between General Education, School Core, and Major may be possible.  Check with your advisor to see if any apply.
  4. Writing Intensive Requirement (five courses):  Two writing intensive courses in the general education curriculum are required: Critical Reading and Writing and Studies in the Arts and Humanities; the other three courses are taken in the major.

Not all courses are offered each semester.  Please click here for the current Schedule of classes for semester course offerings located under “Current Students” on our webpage.




Requirements of the Minor
  1. Students are required to take 5 courses (20 credits) to complete this minor.
  2. At least 1/2 of the courses fulfilling a minor must be distinct from the student’s major. That is, three of the five courses required for a minor cannot be used towards fulfillment of major requirements. A school core does not need to be completed for a minor. Minors are open to students regardless of school affiliation.