Philosophy: Emphasis in Philosophy and Law

Major department advisors answered a few questions to assist you with your first-semester class selection. 

General Information

What are some of the highlights and features to know about this major?

The Philosophy Department is pleased to welcome you to San Francisco State. Your major – Philosophy (including Philosophy and Law) or Philosophy and Religion – will encourage you to take some of the most exciting and enriching courses available.  Our SF State Department is one of the most dynamic in the country, with a great variety of specializations – including science, law and justice, medicine, and the arts  – and some of the leading teachers and thinkers in philosophy in the country. We also count well-known scholars in religious studies, knowledgeable about a diverse array of spiritual traditions, among our faculty. In addition to a wide-ranging and enriching curriculum we also offer practical internships, a mentorship program that pairs you with a graduate student mentor, an active philosophy club, and many other opportunities.

Advice to all incoming students:

  • The Philosophy Department offers an orientation session for new students at the end of Welcome Days. We ask you to watch your sfsu email account for an announcement about the particular time and place. The orientation session will be your first chance to get in-depth advice on choosing courses, planning for a career, meeting other students with similar interests, and the various opportunities described above.
  • The director of undergraduate advising is Professor Justin Tiwald (jtiwald@sfsu.edu). He will lead the orientation session and will be the faculty member to contact if you have questions about your program of study.
When should I first meet with my major department? We look forward to meeting you at the Philosophy Department orientation session in August!
How will I be assigned to a major advisor and how do I contact them? The director of undergraduate advising is Professor Justin Tiwald (jtiwald@sfsu.edu). He will lead the orientation session and will be the faculty member to contact if you have questions about your program of study.
Where can I find information about major advising? http://philosophy.sfsu.edu/page/department-advisors
Is there anything else I need to know about starting in this major? If you are interested in continuing to SFSU’s prestigious Master’s degree program after your BA degree, please mention this to Professor Justin Tiwald, Director of Undergraduate Advising, by emailing him or when you next meet with him. He can help you devise a plan to start your M.A. coursework while still finishing your B.A. (and that also means that you can take some of your M.A. courses at the more economical undergraduate rate)
 

Transfer Student Info

What should I know as a transfer student? You will be studying a wide array of specializations in philosophy (including philosophy and law or philosophy and religion), taking some of the most interesting and rewarding courses in your time at SF State. We encourage you to speak to an advisor to help you choose courses that best fit your interests and keep you on track to finish your degree. Until you do that, however, we can make some recommendations for course selection.

We recommend taking PHIL 320 (GWAR) Philosophical Analysis in your first semester. If you still need to take English 214, you can take this concurrently with Philosophical Analysis. You don’t need to wait until after you’ve completed ENG 214 to take Philosophical Analysis.

  • Philosophical Analysis is important as it will provide you with specialized tools for philosophical writing and argument.

Other courses that are good to take in your first semester as a third-year student are PHIL 301 Ancient Philosophy, PHIL 303 Modern Philosophy, PHIL 321 Being & Knowing and PHIL 450 Ethics.

Many upper-division Philosophy courses also fulfill GE requirements. You can double-count these courses toward both GE and your major!

  • UD-B Science: PHIL 350 Philosophy of Science, PHIL 351 Philosophy of Risk, PHIL 395 Ethical Issues: Science and Technology, PHIL 621 Minds, Brains and Computers
  • UD-D Social Sciences: PHIL 335 Law & Society, PHIL 375 Peace Law & Human Rights
  • UD-E Lifelong Learning Development: PHIL 383 Ethics in Medicine, PHIL 383 Research Ethics, PHIL 494 Phil & Personal Development, PHIL 520 Mysticism, PHIL 525 Religious Experience   
  • UD-C Arts/Humanities: Nearly every upper division Philosophy course not mentioned above.

We also have Philosophy courses in some of the hard-to-find areas of SF State Studies:

  • American Ethnic and Racial Minorities (AERM): PHIL 130 Political & Social, PHIL 335 Law & Society, PHIL 451 Feminist Moral Issues.
  • Environmental Sustainability: PHIL 315 Intro to Global Peace Studies, PHIL 351 Philosophy of Risk, PHIL 470 Environmental Ethics
  • And of course a wide array of upper division Philosophy courses satisfy the SF Studies Social Justice and Global Perspectives requirements
Does this major have an approved Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT) roadmap? [Yes.]

Freshmen Student Info

What should I know as a Freshman?

Your first year is devoted primarily to fulfilling general education (GE) requirements, but this does not mean that you should avoid taking philosophy classes. Nearly all lower-division Philosophy courses also fulfill GE requirements, which gives you a chance to both complete GE and undertake some of the stimulating and engaging studies that inspired you to major in Philosophy or Philosophy & Religion in the first place. Consider this a way of getting some intellectual and spiritual sustenance in the process of working on GE, while also better preparing yourself for advanced study of philosophy.

We recommend taking the following general education courses in your first year:

  1. For A-3  – PHIL 110 Introduction to Critical Thinking
  2. For C1 Arts – PHIL 160 Introduction to Philosophy of the Arts
  3. For C2 Humanities – PHIL 105 Intro to Philosophy & Religion, and/or PHIL 150 Contemporary Moral/Political Issues (Social Justice), and/or PHIL 210 Great Thinkers: East & West (Global Perspectives)
  4. For C3 Humanities: Literature – PHIL 101 Introduction to Philosophy
  5. For D1 Social Sciences – PHIL 130 Social and Political Philosophy (AERM, Social Justice)

And in your first or second year: PHIL 205 Formal Logic (required for the PHIL major but not the PHIL & RELIGION major)
 

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