Why Study Philosophy at New College?

One distinctive feature of our Philosophy program is that it immerses you in both analytical and European continental philosophy. That allows our students to make connections that many professional philosophers are incapable of reaching, because they lack such broad training.

Philosophy area of concentration

Pursuing philosophy means questioning — critically, intensively, passionately–our ways of living valuing, creating, and understanding. Sometimes it does this directly (as in ethics, political philosophy, and epistemology). Sometimes it does this indirectly (as in metaphysics, philosophy of language, and again epistemology), as we strive to understand the natures of the features of reality that we might want and of our fundamental cognitive and experiential relations to those features.

This makes the study of philosophy a great way to explore human values and interpersonal relations, through the critical examination of alternative conceptions of ethical, social, political, and cognitive values. The focus on critical examination, involving issues of the relations between language, logic, and the world and emphasizing analysis, clarity, and cogent reasoning, also makes the study of philosophy a great way to develop critical thinking skills. And philosophy puts the two together, applying rigorous critical thought to matters of fundamental human concern.

The philosophical study of these issues has been a major part of the Western intellectual tradition since its origin in ancient Greece, and the study of philosophy puts students in contact with this history through the exploration of classical, medieval, and modern thought. Students also engage the vital philosophical thought of the present day, working with approaches and techniques developed in the Analytic and the European Continental traditions of 20th- and 21st-century thought.

View Philosophy Academic Learning Compact

View Philosophy courses offered in last 5 years 

Area of Concentration Requirements

An Area of Concentration in philosophy normally includes the following:\

  • At least 10 undertakings in philosophy, including:
  • Competence in modern philosophy and either ancient or medieval philosophy (preferably both)
  • One course (or equivalent) in deductive logic
  • One course (or equivalent) in introduction to ethics or ethical theory plus one additional course in value theory (e.g., aesthetics, metaethics, social and political philosophy)
  • Two courses (or equivalent) in contemporary, analytic systematic areas (e.g., metaphysics, epistemology, phenomenology, philosophy of religion)
  • One course in European Continental thought
  • A senior thesis and baccalaureate examination (Specific Content Knowledge, Critical Thinking, Communication Skills).


Recent Theses

  • Transforming Ourselves, Transforming Our Society: A Virtue-Based Approach to Liberatory Education
  • The Question of the Meaning of Being
  • A Posthumanist Conception of Consent
  • Ways of Care: Developing a Social Conception of Epistemic Responsibility

Careers of Philosophy Graduates

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SAMPLE PATHWAYS to complete AOC Requirements

These pathways show how you could complete the AOC requirements within four years at New College or within two years after earning an associate’s degree. Please consult with your academic adviser to determine the most appropriate courses for your area of concentration.

A Sample Four-Year Pathway for Philosophy

YearFall Term January / ISPSpring Term
Year 1Philosophy LAC course (may satisfy specific AOC requirements depending on choice)ISP 1Classical Philosophy
LAC 2Analytic 1 (i.e., a course counting toward the two required courses in Recent Analytic Philosophy)
General college electiveGeneral college elective
Year 2Value theory 1 (ethics)ISP 2European Continental course
Formal LogicModern Philosophy
General college elective General college elective
Year 3Analytic 2ISP 3Value theory 2
Philosophy elective (may satisfy specific AOC requirement depending on choice)Tutorial in potential thesis area
General college elective
Year 4Thesis tutorialThesis tutorial; baccalaureate exam
Philosophy electivePhilosophy elective

A Sample Two-Year Pathway for Philosophy

YearFall Term January / ISPSpring Term
Year 3Value theory 1ISP 1Modern Philosophy
Analytic 1European Continental
Formal LogicTutorial in potential thesis area (may satisfy a Value Theory, Analytic, or European Continental requirement depending on the area).
Elective CourseElective Course
Year 4Thesis tutorialISP 2Thesis tutorial
Value theory 2Classical Philosophy or Medieval Philosophy
Analytic 2Elective Course