Queries in truth, knowledge, ethics, logic

Philosophy is for the intellectually curious. We like to analyse the concepts that underpin our world views. For example: What is justice, morality, love, knowledge, nature, freedom, identity? To help you explore these questions, we offer courses in epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, logic, political philosophy, environmental philosophy, the philosophy of religion, and the history of philosophy, among others. Our goal is to provide a nurturing, respectful, and engaging environment to help you craft well-articulated, well-defended, autonomous thought.

Apart from a major and a minor in philosophy, we also offer an honour’s program for select students. Our majors have gone on to graduate programs in philosophy at Concordia, Dalhousie, McGill, McMaster, Queen’s, Simon Fraser, Toronto, UBC, Victoria, Waterloo, and York, to name a few. Many others pursue successful law degrees. Others have pursued careers in health research, journalism, education, and business. Having a BA in philosophy tells potential employers that you are a reliable, intelligent, and effective problem solver who can work independently. Of course, the intrinsic benefit from philosophy resides in being an autonomous, authentic human – no matter where life takes you.

As with anything, the more you put into philosophy, the more you will get out of it. We love voracious readers of primary texts. We love critical, creative, and reflective thinkers. We love those who recognize that philosophical argumentation requires careful support. We especially love those who can write clearly, succinctly, and offer poignant illustrations. If these are traits you love as well, it may be time to give philosophy a whirl.

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Course Structure

Note: Current UPEI students should refer to Student Planning in myUPEI and the UPEI Academic Calendar governing their entry year, and speak to an academic advisor about course requirements. The course structure presented for this program is a recommended, unofficial progression for prospective students.

Note: As per Academic Regulation 1h, all undergraduate degree programs require successful completion of IKE-1040; one of UPEI-1010, UPEI-1020, or UPEI-1030, and a Writing Intensive Course. 



Honours Program - Admission

To be admitted to the honours program, the student must submit a letter of application to the chair of the department. The letter must include a brief proposal of the intended research, the name of the student’s potential supervisor, a note from the potential supervisor confirming prior consultation, and a copy of the student’s updated transcripts. Applicants must have registered in, or have completed, the major program in philosophy.

Normally, students should submit their applications during their fifth semester. The department, acting as a committee, will determine who is admitted based on the following considerations:

  • The student has an average of at least 75% in all Philosophy courses
  • The student has an overall average of at least 70% in all academic courses
  • The student has shown the ability of, or has the potential for, completing independent philosophical research
  • Availability of suitable supervisors

Since the demand for the program may exceed the resources available, meeting the minimum entry requirements does not guarantee admission.

Honours Program - Requirements

To receive an honours in Philosophy, a student must satisfy the following requirements while maintaining a minimum average of 75% in all Philosophy courses:

  • At least 126 semester hours of academic credit (42 courses).
  • At least 54 semester hours of credit (18 courses) in Philosophy, as listed:
    • PHIL 1110 (Critical Thinking);
    • PHIL 2210 (Social Philosophy);
    • PHIL 2220 (Political Philosophy);
    • PHIL 2510 (Formal Logic);
    • PHIL 2620 (Plato and Aristotle);
    • PHIL 3010 (Philosophy of Science);
    • PHIL 3020 (Environmental Philosophy);
    • PHIL 3030 (Ethical Theory);
    • PHIL 3540 (Philosophy of Mind);
    • PHIL 3730 (Philosophy of Language);
    • PHIL 3840 (Rationalists and Empiricists);
    • PHIL 3850 (The Philosophy of Kant);
    • PHIL 4800 (Research Seminar), AND
    • PHIL 4900 (Honours Thesis)
  • Of the remaining four Philosophy courses, at least three courses must be completed at the 3000 or 4000 level.




Major Program - Requirements

To complete a Major in Philosophy, a student must satisfy the following requirements:

any of the six areas A to F

  • At least 120 semester hours of academic credit (40 courses).
  • At least 42 semester hours of academic credit (14 courses) in Philosophy, as listed:
  • At least 6 Philosophy courses (18 semester hours) must be at the 3000 or 4000 level.
    • Required courses:PHIL 2510 (Formal Logic) From Group B: PHIL 3030 (Ethical Theory)
    • From Group C: PHIL 2220 (Political Philosophy)
    • From Group D: PHIL 3020 (Environmental Philosophy)
    • From Group E: PHIL 2620 (Plato and Aristotle),
    • From Group F: PHIL 3540 (Philosophy of Mind) OR PHIL 3850 (The Philosophy of Kant)
    • Six (6) additional Philosophy courses – one course from each of the six areas A to F (as listed below)
    • Two (2) Additional Philosophy courses from any of the six areas A to F.

Recommended courses for students intending to pursue graduate studies in Philosophy:

  • PHIL 2210 (Social Philosophy);
  • PHIL 3730 (Philosophy of Language);
  • PHIL 3840 (Rationalists and Empiricists);
  • PHIL 3540 (Philosophy of Mind) or PHIL 3850 (The Philosophy of Kant) – if not taken as a required course.




Minor Program - Requirements

A minor in Philosophy consists of twenty-one 21 semester hours (7 courses) in Philosophy.

  • At least three courses 2 courses (6 semester hours) must be at the 3000 or 4000 level.

Required course:

  • PHIL 1110 (Critical Thinking)

Recommended courses:

The Department strongly recommends that Philosophy minors complete the following courses to ensure development of basic Philosophical knowledge.

  • PHIL 1110 (Critical Thinking)
  • PHIL 1010 (Introduction to Philosophy)
  • At least one course from each of the other five areas (B, C, D, E and F below)

List of courses categorized into areas:

Group A: Introductory Courses
1010 - Introduction to Philosophy
1020 - Introduction to Ethics and Social Philosophy
1050 - Technology, Values, and Science
1110 - Critical Thinking

Group B: Ethics
2020 - Contemporary Moral Issues
2040 - Bio-Medical Ethics
2050 - Business Ethics
2060 - Animal Ethics
3220 - Religious Ethics East and West
3710 - Community-Based Ethical Inquiry I
4030 - Metaethics

Group C: Political Philosophy
2070 - Philosophies of War and Peace
2210 - Social Philosophy
2220 - Political Philosophy
3510 - Philosophy of Law
3830 - Radical Philosophy
4270 - Theories of Justice

Group D: Philosophy of Nature and Metaphysics
2030 - Environmental Philosophy
2350 - Skepticism, Agnosticism, Atheism, Belief
3010 - Philosophy of Science
3620 - Philosophy of Religion
3630 - Philosophy of Biology

Group E: History of Philosophy
2110 - Origins of Western Philosophy
2130 - Existentialism
2620 - Plato and Aristotle
2840 - Introduction to Medieval Theology and Philosophy
3030 - History of Ethical Theory
3840 - Rationalist and Empiricists
3850 - The Philosophy of Kant
4220 - 20th Century British and American Philosophy
4280 - 20th Century French and German Philosophy

Group F: Philosophy Of Human Nature
2140 - Philosophy of Humour
2420 - Philosophies of Love And Sexuality
3530 - Philosophies of Communication
3540 - Philosophy of Mind
3610 - Philosophy and Literature
3730 - Philosophy of Language

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