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Philosophy & Religion

Philosophy (BA)

Offered by the Department of Philosophy and Religion, College of Arts and Sciences.

Admission to the Program

Admission is through a formal declaration of major.

  • 120 credit hours with a cumulative GPA of 2.00 or better
  • Completion of college writing requirement
  • Completion of university mathematics requirement

General Education Requirements

  • A total of ten courses, consisting of two courses from each of the five foundational areas
  • At least one course from Area Five: The Natural and Mathematical Sciences must include a laboratory science component
  • No more than two courses may be taken in the same discipline

Major Requirements

  • 39 credit hours with grades of C or better including 15 credit hours at the 300-level or above, and up to 6 credit hours in religion

Course Requirements

History of Philosophy (9 credit hours)

Moral and Political Philosophy (9 credit hours)

Critical Perspectives (6 credit hours)

6 credit hours from the following:

Concentration (9 credit hours)

  • 9 credit hours in a subspecialty in philosophy, such as applied ethics or aesthetics, which may include courses outside the department with approval of the department's director of undergraduate studies.

Electives (6 credit hours)

  • 6 credit hours in approved coursework

Combined BA and MA in Philosophy

American University offers students the opportunity to earn both undergraduate and graduate degrees through its combined bachelor's/master's programs. See Combined Bachelor's and Master's Degrees for more information.

This program enables qualified students to earn, in a continuous plan of study, both the BA and the MA in Philosophy.


  • Undergraduate philosophy majors should apply for admission to the BA/MA program by the end of the junior year. Admission is open to undergraduates with a minimum grade point average of 3.00 overall and in philosophy courses. Applications must be accompanied by two letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and an academic writing sample. Students should discuss their interest in the program with members of the faculty before submitting a formal application.
  • All requirements for the BA in Philosophy
    • Undergraduate students may apply up to 9 credit hours of approved graduate-level coursework to satisfy the requirements for both degrees.
  • All requirements for the MA in Philosophy, including a minimum of 18 credit hours completed in residence in graduate status after the undergraduate degree has been awarded. Students must finish the master's degree requirements within three years from the date of first enrollment in the master's program.

Please see also

Please refer to the Undergraduate Student Handbook for detailed information about the program. Information about the combined BA/MA in philosophy can be found on the BA/MA page.

Credit Restrictions

Keep in mind the various credit restrictions for majoring and double majoring:

---18 credits of the major must be earned in residence
---For double majors, 18 credits must be unique to each major