Philosophy Program Learning Outcomes


Minors: Upon graduation, we expect students minoring in Philosophy to demonstrate all four of the following program learning outcomes at the Introductory Level. In addition, we expect students minoring in philosophy to demonstrate at least two of the following program learning outcomes at the Developmental Level.

Majors: Upon graduation, we expect students majoring in Philosophy to demonstrate all four of the following program learning outcomes at the Developmental Level. In addition, we expect students majoring in philosophy to demonstrate at least two of the following program learning outcomes at the Mastery Level.


Logic: Identify and assess the logic of arguments

  • Introductory: Identify arguments, distinguish premises from conclusions, distinguish validity from soundness, assess validity, and identify mistakes in reasoning.
  • Developmental: Introductory level skills together with an ability to identify and engage in well-known patterns of inference and reasoning, such as modus tollens, modus ponens, process of elimination, disjunctive syllogism, and refutation by counterexample.
  • Mastery: Ability to apply the introductory and developmental level skills to the analysis of philosophical problems. This could include detailed analysis of patterns of reasoning in written texts, or translations between ordinary language and symbolic language and the use of proof techniques in sentential and predicate logic.

Topics: Identify and explain the central questions within major areas of philosophical research

  • Introductory: Identify and explain at least one central question within at least three areas of philosophical research. These include metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, philosophy of action, philosophy of religion, philosophy of science, philosophy of mathematics, political philosophy, or philosophy of law.
  • Developmental: Describe one or more standard answers for these questions from within each of three areas of philosophical research (listed above).
  • Mastery: Describe two or more standard answers for these questions from within each of five central areas of philosophical research (listed above) and provide some critical analysis of these answers

Ideas: Describe the contributions of major thinkers in the history of philosophy

  • Introductory: Describe at least one contribution for each of three major thinkers in the history of philosophy. Major figures include Plato, Aristotle, Avicenna, Anselm, Averroes, Maimonides, Thomas Aquinas, Thomas Hobbes, Rene Descartes, Elisabeth Stuart, John Locke, Gottfried Leibniz, David Hume, Immanuel Kant, Mary Wollstonecraft, Georg Hegel, John Stuart Mill, Soren Kierkegaard, Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche, Gottlob Frege, Edmund Husserl, José Ortega y Gasset, Bertrand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Jean-Paul Sartre, Hannah Arendt, Simone de Beauvoir, Willard Quine, Elizabeth Anscombe, John Rawls, Ruth Marcus, Frantz Fanon, Judith Thomson, Robert Nozick, Saul Kripke, David Lewis, Nancy Cartwright, and Peter Singer. One of these three thinkers may come from outside this list.
  • Developmental: Explain and assess at least one argument associated with three of the major thinkers (listed above).
  • Mastery: Explain and assess at least one argument associated with at least five of the major thinkers (listed above).

Application: Apply philosophical knowledge (from logic, topics, or ideas) to a subject in another discipline, and/or apply knowledge from another discipline to a subject in philosophy

  • Introductory: Explain how the application of philosophical knowledge facilitates progress on the subject of their choice, or vice versa. .
  • Developmental: Discuss a subject in philosophy (from logic, topics, or ideas) from the perspective of another discipline or vice versa, showing multiple ways in which the disciplines can benefit from one another.
  • Mastery: Discuss at least two subjects in philosophy (from logic, topics, or ideas) from the perspective of another discipline or vice versa, showing multiple ways in which the disciplines can benefit from one another.