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Major Requirements

As a philosophy major, you’ll sharpen your communication and critical-thinking skills while diving into life’s most persistent questions.

In addition to the general philosophy track, you may also concentrate in ethics and political philosophy. Your exposure to a range of concepts and academic skills will prepare you for a career in law, medicine, business or education.

Meet Your Major

In the philosophy program, you will:

  • Learn how to think logically, critically and independently.
  • Improve your ability to communicate ideas and arguments clearly and effectively.
  • Review many ideas pioneered by the most influential philosophers of the last 2,500 years.
  • Discover ancient and modern theories of the nature of reality, knowledge, ethics and politics.
  • Gain the problem-solving and analytical skills to thrive in whichever career you choose.

Hands-On Learning

Contemplate with your contemporaries in the Philosophy Club, Merrimack’s home for philosophical discussion, debate and film events. Plus, if you maintain a GPA of 3.5 in all philosophy courses (and a 3.0 overall), you may be eligible to join Phi Sigma Tau, the philosophy international honor society.

Career Options

Upon successful completion of the philosophy program, you’ll be well-equipped to pursue a variety of careers in business, government or academia. Positions may include:

  • Doctor
  • Historian
  • Journalist
  • Lawyer
  • Political Adviser
  • Professor
  • Teacher

What You’ll Take

All philosophy majors take a combination of required and elective courses to satisfy the 34-credit, nine-course requirement. You may elect to take the general philosophy track or concentrate in ethics and political philosophy.

General Track

PHL 1000

Introduction to Philosophy
Two courses in:    Ethics and/or Political Philosophy
Two courses in: History of Philosophy
One course in: Metaphysics
One course in: Epistemology
Two: Philosophy electives

Ethics and Political Philosophy Concentration

PHL 1000 Introduction to Philosophy
PHL 2040 Introduction to Political Philosophy 
One course in: History of Philosophy
One course in: Metaphysics or Epistemology
One elective in: any 3000-4000 level philosophy course
Select four:                    
  • PHL 2020 (W): Perspectives on the Good Life
  • PHL 2030: Contemporary Moral Problems
  • PHL 2050: Ethics in the Professions
  • PHL 2060: Biomedical Ethics
  • PHL 2070: Environmental Ethics
  • PHL 2080: Approaches to Ethics
  • PHL 2090: Values in a Tech Culture
  • PHL 2100: Women, Ethics & Society
  • PHL 2110: Environmental Philosophy
  • PHL 2120: Ethics, Ecology and the Beauty of Nature
  • PHL 2250: Philosophy of Happiness
  • PHL 2310: Socrates and the Examined Life
  • PHL 2500: Theories of Justice
  • PHL 3010: Human Rights: Theory and Practice
  • PHL 3020: Philosophy of Law
  • PHL 3030: Global Justice
  • PHL 3180: Existentialism

Interested in a Career in Law?

Philosophy majors have consistently performed extremely well on the LSAT and have high rates of admission into law schools.

Philosophy develops skills that are recommended by the American Bar Association for pre-law students, including problem-solving; critical reading; writing and editing; oral communication and listening; and promotion of justice.

Many philosophy courses also expose students to the law by critically examining laws, proposed legal reforms and court cases. These include Philosophy of Law; Global Justice; Human Rights: Theory and Practice; Biomedical Ethics,; and Contemporary Moral Problems.

Associate Professor of Philosophy Sandra Raponi, adviser for the law, ethics and society minor, has a law degree in addition to a Ph.D. in philosophy. Please contact her at for more information about how a degree in philosophy can help prepare you for law school.

Additional Resources


More Info 

Arthur Ledoux

Professor and Chair, Philosophy