Philosophy Degree students working on a project

Philosophy

  • Program Length 
    4 Years
  • Credential 
    Bachelor Degree
  • Options 
    Honours, Major, Minor
  • Location Offered 
    Nanaimo

Do you enjoy uncovering, analyzing and critiquing the essential facts and questions that confront us as human beings? VIU’s Bachelor of Arts, Major in Philosophy program focuses on developing analytical and critical thinking skills while exploring historical and modern philosophical concepts. A Philosophy degree helps students understand the significance of the growing body of facts available, and the wisdom to deal with them at the highest human level. In VIU’s Philosophy program, small class sizes allow for in-depth discussions, while students can apply their learning and gain work experience in a new internship program. Bachelor of Philosophy graduates leave the program with clear writing, abstract reasoning, and problem-solving skills that ease them into a variety of careers and further academic study.

The Philosophy Degree Program

Philosophy - Program requirements prior to November 2015

Philosophy is the critical and systematic study of the fundamental assumptions at play in the entire range of human activity. It concerns itself with explorations into the nature of reality, human knowledge, moral and scientific reasoning, art and society. The study of philosophy fosters the ability to think critically and innovatively, to communicate in a logical manner, to interpret and evaluate core concepts and theories in a number of disciplines and to articulate well-reasoned arguments. These competencies are vital to public discourse in a flourishing democracy and are particularly useful in such professions as law, medicine, business and public administration. Recent studies have demonstrated that students who have completed a program in philosophy score significantly higher than all other humanities and social sciences students on standardized tests for admission to graduate and professional study.

The program’s first-year courses are designed to introduce students to philosophy and to assist them in the development of analytical skills. Second-year courses apply these skills to historical and contemporary issues. Upper-division courses allow for some narrowing of focus, either in the direction of applied ethics and political philosophy or in the direction of traditional problems of epistemology and metaphysics. Students may include specified courses from political studies or liberal studies in their program of study.

Program Outline

Requirements for a Major

Students must complete all the Institutional B.A. Degree Requirements, including Degree English Requirements*, and the courses listed below. For the rotation of required courses, students should see theTentative Course Scheduling.

Lower-Level Course Requirements

Students should take a minimum of six courses (18 credits) in lower-level** philosophy, which must include:

  • all three core introductory courses:
    • PHIL 100 - (Rhetoric and Reasoning)
    • PHIL 111 - (Intro to Philosophy: Knowledge and Reality)
    • PHIL 112 - (Intro to Philosophy: Ethics)
  • at least two historical philosophy courses (at least one must be in modern philosophy):
    • PHIL 200 - (The History of Modern Philosophy I)
    • PHIL 201 - (The History of Modern Philosophy II)
    • PHIL 240 - (Ancient Philosophy I: The Pre-Socratics to Plato)
    • PHIL 241 - (Ancient Philosophy II: Plato and Aristotle to the Roman Period)
    • PHIL 242 - (Greco-Roman Philosophy)
    • PHIL 243 - (Medieval Philosophy)
  • at least one second year logic or reasoning course:

A second "English Requirement" course isn't needed if at least a "B+" is achieved in ENGL 115. 
** Lower-level courses are 100- and 200-level courses.

Recommendations

Alternatives

In partially fulfilling the requirements of two lower-level courses in the history of philosophy (and six lower-level courses in philosophy overall), students can use:

  • PHIL 340 - (Issues in Medieval Philosophy) in place of PHIL 243 - (Medieval Philosophy).

Upper-Level Course Requirements

Students should take a minimum of ten courses (30 credits) in upper-level* philosophy**, which must include:

Upper-level courses are 300- and 400-level courses. 
** PHIL 310 and PHIL 399 cannot be used to meet the requirement of ten upper-level philosophy courses.

 Recommendations

Alternatives

In partially fulfilling the requirements of 30 upper-level credits in philosophy, students can make some substitutions for philosophy credits. As substitutes, they can use three credits from each course below to a maximum total of six credits:

  • LBST 360 - (New Worlds and New Heavens),
  • LBST 370 - (Revolutions of the Modern World), or
  • POLI 440 - (Contemporary Themes in Political Thought).

In other words, students can use a maximum of two courses from this list in partially fulfilling the requirements of ten upper-level philosophy courses.

Note: all PHIL courses are three credits each, but the above LBST courses are six credits each. However, only three credits of any of the above LBST courses can be counted towards the upper-level PHIL requirement; the other three credits will count towards upper-level general electives. The above POLI course (POLI 440) is, like the PHIL courses, three credits.

Requirements for a Minor

Students must complete all the Institutional B.A. Degree Requirements, including Degree English Requirements*, and the courses listed below. For the rotation of required courses, students should see theTentative Course Scheduling.

Lower-Level Course Requirements

Students should take a minimum of four courses (12 credits) in lower-level** philosophy, which must include:

  • all three core introductory courses:
    • PHIL 100 - (Rhetoric and Reasoning)
    • PHIL 111 - (Intro to Philosophy: Knowledge and Reality)
    • PHIL 112 - (Intro to Philosophy: Ethics)
  • at least one second-year course

A second "English Requirement" course isn't needed if at least a "B+" is achieved in ENGL 115. 
** Lower-level courses are 100- and 200-level courses.

Recommendations

Upper-Level Course Requirements

Students should take a minimum of six courses (18 credits) in upper-level* philosophy**.

Upper-level courses are 300- and 400-level courses. 
** PHIL 310 and PHIL 399 cannot be used to meet the requirement of six upper-level philosophy courses.

Recommendations

Alternatives

In partially fulfilling the requirements of 18 upper-level credits in philosophy, students can make some substitutes for philosophy credits. As substitutes, they can use three credits from any one course below:

  • LBST 360 - (New Worlds and New Heavens),
  • LBST 370 - (Revolutions of the Modern World), or
  • POLI 440 - (Contemporary Themes in Political Thought).

In other words, students can use a maximum of one course from this list in partially fulfilling the requirements of six upper-level philosophy courses.

Note: all PHIL courses are three credits each, but the above LBST courses are six credits each. However, only three credits of any of the above LBST courses can be counted towards the upper-level PHIL requirement; the other three credits will count towards upper-level general electives. The above POLI course (POLI 440) is, like the PHIL courses, three credits.

Updated 
Friday, March 2, 2018
Domestic Fees | International Fees

Domestic Fees

Tuition Fee Schedule

When applying to the program, applicants will be charged a non-refundable application fee.

When applying to graduate, students will be charged a non-refundable graduation and alumni fee.

Some courses have additional fees to pay for extraordinary class–related expenses.

Fees for One Year*

Amount

Tuition (30 credits x $147.76 per credit)

4,432.80

Student Activity fee (4% of tuition)

177.31

Student Services fee (30 credits x $6.53 per credit)

195.90

VIU Students' Union fee (8 months x $19.43 per month)

155.44

Health and Dental Plan fee ($275 per year)

275.00

Approximate cost for books and supplies for one year

1,500.00

Total

6,736.45

Notes

The Health and Dental Plan fee is in effect only for full–time students at the Nanaimo Campus.  

All fees are subject to change without prior notice.

International Fees

Tuition Fee Schedule

When applying to the program, applicants will be charged a non-refundable application fee.

When applying to graduate, students will be charged a non-refundable graduation and alumni fee.

Some courses have additional fees to pay for extraordinary class–related expenses.

Fees for One Year*

Amount

Tuition (2 semesters x $7620 per semester)

15,240.00

Ancillary Fee (2 semesters x $374.4 per semester)

748.80

VIU Students' Union fee (8 months x $19.43 per month)

155.44

Health and Dental Plan fee ($275 per year)

275.00

Approximate cost for books and supplies for one year

1,500.00

Total

17,919.24

Notes

The above table is based on 15 credits or less per semester. Additional fees of $635.00 per credit will be applied if taking more than 15 credits per semester.

The Health and Dental Plan fee is in effect only for full–time students at the Nanaimo Campus.  

All fees are subject to change without prior notice.

Updated
Sunday, April 1, 2018

The Program

Philosophy is all about reasoning. It’s about analyzing core issues and concepts, even basic assumptions, defending a position with arguments. Students develop many important skills in studying philosophy, including an ability:

  • to think critically,
  • to express ideas clearly and logically,
  • to interpret and evaluate concepts and arguments, and
  • to reflect carefully and deeply on important issues.

Philosophy majors have been able to use their skills in various fields, including law, business, and writing. They also achieve high scores on graduate entrance exams (GRE, GMAT, and LSAT).

An honours program will offer students more breadth in the field of philosophy, and will further strengthen the philosophical skills that the major already promotes. PHIL 490: Supervised Honours Thesis will tend to foster deeper analysis and greater engagement with a philosophical question in a longer, supervised paper.

The honours program is especially recommended for students going on to graduate school. Some graduate programs require an honours or equivalent of their applicants. Even where they do not, an honours designation gives students an edge in competing for limited spots. Furthermore, PHIL 490 is good preparation for graduate studies where students will write long course papers and theses. PHIL 490 gets students to explore a philosophical question in more depth, delving more into the research and analysis, and taking direction from a supervisor.

For students not going on to graduate studies, the honours designation still stands out on a resume, demonstrating high levels of achievement, as well as independent study and perseverance. The more in-depth approach of PHIL 490 can prepare students for tackling professional analytic reports, especially where they need to incorporate critical feedback or present work in draft stages.

Program Outline

Requirements for an Honours

To obtain an honours philosophy degree, students must complete all the Institutional B.A. degree requirements, including Degree English Requirements, and the courses listed below. They also need to have an average GPA of 3.33 ("B+") on all third and fourth year courses in philosophy by the time they graduate. For the rotation of required courses, students should see the Tentative Course Scheduling.

Lower-Level Course Requirements

Students should take a minimum of eight courses (24 credits) in lower-level* philosophy, which must include:

  • all three core introductory courses:
  • at least two historical philosophy courses (at least one must be in modern philosophy):
    • PHIL 200 - (The History of Modern Philosophy I)
    • PHIL 201 - (The History of Modern Philosophy II)
    • PHIL 240 - (Ancient Philosophy I: The Pre-Socratics to Plato)
    • PHIL 241 - (Ancient Philosophy II: Plato and Aristotle to the Roman Period)
    • PHIL 242 - (Greco-Roman Philosophy)
    • PHIL 243 - (Medieval Philosophy)
  • both second year logic/reasoning courses: 

* Lower-level courses are 100- and 200-level courses.

Recommendations:

Alternatives:

In partially fulfilling the requirements of two lower-level courses in the history of philosophy (and eight lower-level courses in philosophy overall), students can use: 

In partially fulfilling the requirements of eight lower-level courses (24 credits) in philosophy, students should normally take one lower-level philosophy course of their choice. However, they can instead use one upper-level philosophy course of their choice — if it is not being used to meet the requirement of twelve upper-level courses (36 credits) in philosophy. However, PHIL 310 and PHIL 399 cannot be used towards either the lower-level or upper-level philosophy requirements, merely counting as electives.

Upper-Level Course Requirements

Students should take a minimum of twelve courses (36 credits) in upper-level* philosophy, which must include:

* Upper-level courses are 300- and 400-level courses.

Note: PHIL 310 and PHIL 399 cannot be used to meet the requirement of twelve upper-level philosophy courses.

Alternatives:

In partially fulfilling the requirements of 36 upper-level credits in philosophy, students can make some substitutions for philosophy credits. As substitutes, they can use three credits from each course below to a maximum total of six credits:

  • LBST 360 - (New Worlds and New Heavens),
  • LBST 370 - (Revolutions of the Modern World), or
  • POLI 440 - (Contemporary Themes in Political Thought).

In other words, students can use a maximum of two courses from this list in partially fulfilling the requirements of twelve upper-level philosophy courses.

Note: all PHIL courses are three credits each, but the above LBST courses are six credits each. However, only three credits of any of the above LBST courses can be counted towards the upper-level PHIL requirement; the other three credits will count towards upper-level general electives. The above POLI course (POLI 440) is, like the PHIL courses, worth three credits.

Completion Requirements

To graduate with an honours philosophy degree, students need to have completed all above-listed requirements. They also need a GPA of 3.33 ("B+") or higher on all third and fourth year philosophy courses. Students who do not meet the "B+" average requirement, or fall short of any other honours requirement, can still graduate with a philosophy major.

Residency Requirement

Students are expected to complete at least half of their 36 upper level credits (12 courses) in philosophy at Vancouver Island University, including PHIL 490, PHIl 363, and PHIL 364. 

Admission Requirements

To apply to the honours program, students must fill out the Honours Application Form and submit it to the chair at a scheduled appointment. To enter the honours program, students need to have:

  • declared philosophy as their major
  • completed at least 45 credits of academic study (3 full-time semesters)
  • completed at least 15 credits (5 courses) in philosophy
  • completed at least 6 credits (2 courses) in philosophy at the 200-level or above.

Note: the same courses can count towards different, overlapping requirements. Meeting all above criteria does not guarantee admission, which is also subject to the availability of supervisors for PHIL 490.

Start Date and Application Deadline

There are no application deadlines. Students can apply to the Department Chair at any time by submitting an application and setting up an appointment. 

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