Philosophy (BA)

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Program Description

Philosophy poses general questions about reality, knowledge, reasoning, language, and conduct. Some areas include metaphysics (What is the ultimate nature of reality? What really exists and what is mere appearance?), epistemology (What, if anything, can be known and how?), logic (What are the principles of correct reasoning?), and ethics (What is moral value? And what moral values should we adopt?). Other areas address questions concerning the nature of art, law, medicine, mind, politics, religion, and the sciences.

Everyone tends to have or assume answers to these questions. The aim of the department is to enable students to identify, clarify, and assess these answers, both ancient and modern. Philosophy prepares students for a more reflective life, for advanced studies in the subject, and for professions that emphasize analytic thinking and argumentation, such as law, business, and programming.

Honors Program

Students majoring in philosophy may apply to the director of undergraduate studies (DUS) for admission to the departmental honors program. Eligibility criteria are listed below. Honors in philosophy will be awarded to philosophy majors who successfully complete the honors program with a GPA of 3.65 or higher both in philosophy and overall. The honors program requires at least eleven courses in philosophy (44 credits). These courses must (1) satisfy the requirements for the major and (2) include both PHIL-UA 201 Junior Honors Proseminar and PHIL-UA 202 Senior Honors Thesis Workshop. (For purposes of the major requirements, one of these two courses may be counted as an elective.) Together, the two honors courses constitute a two-semester honors thesis capstone experience. Students must be accepted into the honors program before taking PHIL-UA 201 Junior Honors Proseminar in the spring of the junior year; PHIL-UA 202 Senior Honors Thesis Workshop is then taken in the fall of the senior year. Students who wish to join the honors program and to study away from New York in their junior year should consult early on with the DUS to find a suitable arrangement.

Eligibility Criteria for admission to PHIL-UA 201 Junior Honors Proseminar:

  • Minimum 3.65 GPA in the philosophy major and overall
  • At least five courses in philosophy, including at least two straight A's in philosophy courses above intro level not including PHIL-UA 70 Logic
  • A writing sample: a paper written for a class, with the instructor’s grade and comments
  • A list of the professors and TA's who have taught your courses
  • Applications are due by email to the DUS two weeks before registration for the Spring semester of Junior Year

Eligibility Criteria for admission to PHIL-UA 202 Senior Honors Thesis Workshop:

  • Enrollment in PHIL-UA 201 Junior Honors Proseminar
  • A one page thesis proposal
  • A note from a professor in the philosophy department who has reviewed your proposal and agreed to supervise your thesis
  • Applications are due to the DUS one week before registration for the Fall semester of Senior Year


New York University's Office of Undergraduate Admissions supports the application process for all undergraduate programs at NYU.  For additional information about undergraduate admissions, including application requirements, see How to Apply