2016-2017 Undergraduate Bulletin

Philosophy Minor

Description.The Philosophy minor is designed to give students interested in philosophy the opportunity to do intensive work in the field and have that work recognized. Philosophy — a term derived from the ancient Greek philosophia — means "love of wisdom." As a discipline, philosophy strives to seek thoughtful and rigorous responses to the most fundamental "Why?" questions about ourselves, the universe and our place in the universe. Areas of study include being or existence, knowledge, ethics, political philosophy and various "philosophy of . . ." issues (e.g., philosophy of law, philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, etc.). Some core questions that philosophers ask range from "What is the nature of justice?" and "How should I live my life?" to "Do humans have free will?" and "What sort of justification is required for me to have knowledge?"

Learning Outcomes. Students will: 

  • Recognize and reconstruct arguments. 
  • Critically evaluate arguments. 
  • Appreciate different responses to a given philosophical question. 
  • Offer a thoughtfully defended thesis on a given philosophical question. 
  • Entertain and respond to challenges to one’s thesis.

Rationale. A Philosophy minor, which is noted on the student's final transcript, is extremely beneficial for students planning careers in law school or various graduate programs. A liberal arts and humanities education, according to some of the top law schools, is the best preparation for understanding, synthesizing, and evaluating the legal theory and moral reasoning employed in legal judgments. Both law schools and graduate schools place a premium on the sort of critical thinking and conceptual analysis that philosophy uniquely provides. In addition, there is statistical evidence that those who major in philosophy consistently score higher than those in nearly every other major on standardized exams such as the LSAT and the GRE.

Minor coordinator. Professor Mary Ann McClure, Department of Philosophy (212.237.8340, mmcclure@jjay.cuny.edu)

Credits required.18


  • A student must complete 18 credits (six courses) in philosophy.
  • PHI 231 is required (also fulfills the general education requirement for the Flexible Core: Individual & Society area).
  • Any Philosophy course (PHI) can satisfy elective credits in the minor.
  • At least two courses must be at the 300-level or higher.
  • Independent study courses, arranged between the student and a supervising faculty member, and experimental courses can be used to fill the 18-credit requirement.
  • A maximum of two courses can overlap with a student's major, other minor or program.

Additional information. Students who selected this minor in September 2015 or thereafter must complete the minor in the form presented here. Students who declared the minor prior to that date may choose either the form shown here or the earlier version presented in the 2014-15 Undergraduate Bulletin.

Part One: Required Courses

PHI 231Big Questions: Intro to Philosophy (was Knowing, Being & Doing)


Total Credit Hours: 3

Part Two: Elective Courses

Select any five philosophy courses (PHI) or HJS 250 Justice in Western Traditions. At least two of the five courses must be at the 300 level or higher.

Note: Credit toward the minor may be given for courses taken elsewhere at the College if they include substantial philosophical content. Please contact the Philosophy minor coordinator.

Total Credit Hours: 15

Total Credit Hours: 18