College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences

Programs & Advising

Thinking of changing your major to philosophy? Read about Andres Elvira, who changed his major from Physics to Philosophy. Monique Allard, executive director of Student Support and Equity Programs at Cal Poly Pomona, says that students should spend time in their first year of college exploring their interests and abilities. Many students change majors after discovering new disciplines through general education--as Andres did. Andres found that he has an "affinity for language and ideas" and that Philosophy better suits him.


The Philosophy Department offers both major and minor programs.

The Major fosters the critical thinking skills involved in careful analysis and reasoning, as well as the synthetic skills involved in attempting to achieve the best broad view possible within a distinct area of inquiry (for example, in the natural sciences or in cognitive science) or in general. Such skills in reasoning and synthesis are crucial in a wide range of professions; in fact, such high level cognitive skills are often precisely what employers value most.

The Law and Society Option, in addition to providing a solid background in philosophy, includes courses which apply critical thinking skills to moral, social, and political issues in the law, medicine, the environment, and education. The study of moral and political philosophy, especially, equips students with the tools needed to analyze legal or moral concepts and arguments, and to work toward reasonable solutions to societal problems. This Option offers excellent preparation for those planning careers in law, business, urban planning, and human services.

Philosophy as a Second Major. Having a double major has real advantages. Employers frequently say that they look for graduates with energy, creativity, and commitment. Employers and professional schools invariably are impressed with double majors. The flexibility of its options make Philosophy an ideal second major. Those who combine a degree in Philosophy with a major in business, science, or engineering will give themselves a distinct competitive edge. Not only will their analytical, communication, and writing skills set them apart from those with only the technical training of the first major, they will also be more marketable should demand in their technical field change.

Philosophy and Religious Studies Minors. The Philosophy Minor enables students majoring in other disciplines to gain critical insight with respect to the perspectives, assumptions, and values underlying their primary discipline. The flexibility of the minor makes it adaptable to a variety of specific vocational and professional interests. The Religious Studies Minor serves students interested in deepening their awareness of the historical and multicultural dimensions of religious traditions as these affect the contemporary world.

Curriculum Sheets, Road Maps, and Advisors

Philosophy Major

Advisors for the Major:

  • Dale Turner (for students with last names starting A-I)

Law & Society Option

Advisors for Law & Society Option:

Other Advising Information

Philosophy General Education Synthesis courses (DOC)

For additional advising information (for example, for at-risk advising for students with gpa under 2.2) see Dale Turner, Chair of the Philosophy Department, or Dale Turner. Also, general advising information is available at the University Advising website and at the College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences student section.

Instructional goals for the Philosophy Major

Related documents:
Mapping of Philosophy instructional goals to Philosophy courses;
Mapping of Philosophy instructional goals to University instructional goals