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Degree Awarded: Bachelor of Arts (Honours)
Program Website: ryerson.ca/philosophy
Administered by: Department of Philosophy
Program Format: Full-time, four-year program.

Philosophy explores some of the most fundamental and perennial questions such as: How should we act? What is truth? What is beauty? What can we know? Are we free? In this program students attempt to answer these and other basic questions by considering the contributions of some of history's most inventive and critical minds.

Admission Information

O.S.S.D. with six Grade 12 U/M courses, including Grade 12 U English.

Notes:
  1. ENG4U/EAE4U is the preferred English. 
  2. A grade of 70 percent or higher will be required in Grade 12 U English.
  3. Subject to competition, candidates may be required to present averages/grades above the minimum.
Program Overview/Curriculum Information

Spanning much of the period of recorded culture, courses in this program offer students a well-rounded understanding of philosophy's central debates. The program focuses on the history of philosophical ideas and develops students' critical argumentation skills. It also provides students with the chance to examine the practical applications of philosophical theories and methods.

By studying the great ideas of the past and present, along with their applications to the real world, students in this unique program acquire the analytical skills that will help prepare them for exciting careers in the future.

The core goals of the program are to:

  • Develop students' analytical reasoning skills;
  • Develop students' understanding of the broad intellectual contours and social relevance of our shared philosophical heritage
  • Develop oral and written and communication skill
  • Develop a sophisticated understanding of how philosophical theories and methods are applicable to contemporary political and social issues

The critical thinking, oral and written communication skills, and analytical reasoning competencies that students of philosophy amass during their studies make them ideal candidates for a variety of positions in a diverse range of fields. They go on to pursue opportunities with employers in the public, private and nonprofit sectors that value critical analysis and problem-solving skills. They can also choose to further their studies by pursuing a Master of Arts in Philosophy, a two-year program that offers a thesis stream and a major research paper stream. Popular choices for further studies among philosophy graduates include law school and teachers college.

The discipline of Philosophy draws on the theories, methods, and practices of a broad range of humanities and social sciences. Therefore, the Philosophy program builds on a common first-year platform shared with other programs in the Faculty of Arts, with specialization in Philosophy occurring in years two through four of the degree.

Semesters One and Two:  In the first year, which is shared with the programs in Criminology, English, Environment and Urban Sustainability, Geographic Analysis, History, Language and Intercultural Relations, Politics and Governance, Psychology, and Sociology, students take their first two university-level Philosophy courses from a number of options that explore the subject across a range of themes, time periods, and geographical contexts. In addition to taking further electives in a broad range of areas, students will also acquire skills and knowledge in two foundational courses: Academic Writing and Research and Critical Thinking.

Semesters Three through Six: In second year, students take their third foundational course, Research Design and Qualitative Methods. They will also take a number of Required Philosophy courses including Introduction to Modern Philosophy, Ancient and Modern Ethics, and senior seminars in the Analytic and Continental traditions of philosophical thought. Students will have the opportunity to choose from a wide variety of Philosophy electives as well as electives from outside the discipline.

Semesters Seven and Eight: In the last year of the program, as students consider the opportunities they will pursue after graduation, they solidify their philosophical expertise and sharpen their professional competence by taking a senior seminar in Metaphilosophy or in one of two seminars dedicated to the social applications and relevance of philosophy. Other Philosophy and non-Philosophy electives are also taken to complete the 40 courses of the degree (of which 20 are in Philosophy).

Students admitted to the Bachelor of Arts programs in Criminology, English, Environment and Urban Sustainability, Geographic Analysis, History, Language and Intercultural Relations, Philosophy, Politics and Governance, Psychology or Sociology may transfer to any one of the other nine programs or to any one of the three approved double major programs (English and History; English and Philosophy; History and Philosophy) for the fall term of their second year of studies. Applications are available through the Program Office and must be submitted by February 2nd. Transfer applications are considered on a competitive basis subject to program capacity, and therefore, program choice cannot be guaranteed.

In order to transfer to Philosophy from any of Criminology, English, Environment and Urban Sustainability, Geographic Analysis, Language and Intercultural Relations, Politics and Governance, Psychology, or Sociology, students must:

  1. have a CLEAR Academic Standing at the end of the Winter term of their second semester of studies; and
  2. have successfully completed one of PHL 101, PHL 201, PHL 333, or PHL 366. It is strongly recommended that students complete two of PHL 101, PHL 201, PHL 333, and PHL 366 in first year.

Students must take two lower level liberal studies courses and four upper level liberal studies courses to graduate. Students must not choose courses that are restricted for their program or major.

Please refer to the liberal studies chapter of this calendar for more information on the Liberal Studies Policy. Further information on liberal studies can also be found at the Faculty of Arts' Liberal Studies website.

Table A - Lower Level Restrictions

Philosophy courses are not available for credit.

Table B - Upper Level Restrictions

Philosophy courses are not available for credit.

Students may pursue any Minor offered by Ryerson (with some exceptions). Please refer to the Minors chapter of this calendar for further information on individual Minor requirements and exclusions.

Undergraduate students wishing to pursue a continuing education certificate program should be aware of possible program exclusions. Please refer to the Certificate Registration section of the Curriculum Advising website for complete details.

Full-Time, Four-Year Program

REQUIRED:

SSH 105 Critical Thinking I
SSH 205 Academic Writing and Research

REQUIRED GROUP 1: Two courses from the following:

PHL 101 Plato and the Roots of Western Philosophy
PHL 201 Problems in Philosophy
PHL 333 Philosophy of Human Nature
PHL 366 Existentialism and Art and Culture

REQUIRED GROUP 2: Four courses from Table I.

PROFESSIONALLY-RELATED: One course from Table I or Table III.

PROFESSIONALLY-RELATED: One course from Table III.

REQUIRED:

PHL 503 Ancient and Modern Ethics
PHL 708 Introduction to Modern Philosophy
SSH 301 Research Design and Qualitative Methods

PROFESSIONAL: Four courses from Table II.

PROFESSIONALLY-RELATED: One course from Table I, Table III, or Table IV.

LIBERAL STUDIES: Two courses from Table A - Lower Level Liberal Studies.

REQUIRED GROUP 1: One of the following *:

PHL 600 Seminar in Analytic Philosophy
PHL 601 Seminar in Continental Philosophy

PROFESSIONAL: One of the following:

PHL 900 Senior Philosophy Seminar
PHL 910 Senior Philosophy Seminar

PROFESSIONAL: Four courses from Table II.

PROFESSIONALLY-RELATED: Two courses from Table III or Table IV.

LIBERAL STUDIES: Two courses from Table B - Upper Level Liberal Studies.

* Students will complete both PHL 600 and PHL 601. One in 5th & 6th Semester, and the other in 7th & 8th Semester.

REQUIRED GROUP 1: One of the following:

PHL 600 Seminar in Analytic Philosophy
PHL 601 Seminar in Continental Philosophy

PROFESSIONAL: One of the following:

PHL 802 Project in Applied Philosophy
PHL 803 Philosophy Engaging Communities
PHL 700 Meta-Philosophy

PROFESSIONAL: Four courses from Table II.

PROFESSIONALLY-RELATED: Two courses from Table III or Table IV.

LIBERAL STUDIES: Two courses from Table B - Upper Level Liberal Studies.

Program Advisory Council

A Program Advisory Council (PAC) is a group of volunteers that provides expert advice to a school or department on program related matters such as curriculum, program review, technology and trends in the industry, discipline or profession. For more information, see Senate Policy #158 (Program Advisory Councils).

Gwen Burrows
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Doug Carr
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Joseph Longo
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Joseph Manion
Director of Strategic Program Development

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Trevor Norris
Assistant Professor of Philosophy of Education
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education  

Lois Pineau
Criminal Defense Lawyer