The word "philosophy" is derived from the Greek words for "love of wisdom" where wisdom was taken to mean living with an understanding of the ultimate nature of things. Such understanding emerges from grappling with enduring and fundamental questions about truth and knowledge, about the nature of goodness and what is right to do, and about beauty and human purposes and meaning. These questions cannot be answered once and for all but reappear in every age and for every person. By engaging in a rigorous intellectual investigation of such fundamental questions students in philosophy develop analytical and problem-solving skills and the capacity for critical thinking and the clear expression of ideas. By encountering the historical attempts to answer these questions, students in philosophy gain a greater awareness of the richness and power of human ideas. By these two paths students cultivate their abilities to reason logically and to assess the assumptions underlying the sciences and humanities, as well as developing capacities to reflect on important questions involving moral, political and aesthetic values. While the problems of philosophy are valuable for their own sake, the skills and mental discipline which their study produce have broad application in many areas of endeavour in business, public service, and political life. It is an especially suitable background for professions such as law, medicine, politics, journalism, and theology.

There are two departments of Philosophy at the U of S, one housed in the College of Arts and Science and the other in St. Thomas More College, sharing a common curriculum but each having its own program stream. The two programs have broad overlap as they reflect general agreement about the preparation needed for graduate study, but they differ somewhat in emphasis and orientation. The Department in Arts and Science tends to focus on the analysis of philosophical problems as they appear in contemporary discussions, whereas the STM department tends to present problems as they emerge and develop historically. The STM department also places a special emphasis on promoting a dialogue between reason and faith, reflecting the special role played by philosophy in the history of Catholic thought. These two themes come together in the department’s expertise in Ancient and Medieval Philosophy as well as in its contributions to interdisciplinary minors at STM (Catholic Studies and Social Justice and the Common Good) and to the Classical, Medieval and Renaissance Studies program (CMRS).

Students may take three year, four year and honours programs through either department or a minor in either Philosophy or Philosophy, Science and Technology. Students interested in either a major or minor in philosophy are encouraged to talk to either Department’s undergraduate director for advising. Majors, especially those who are thinking of graduate research, are recommended to take a wide variety of 2nd year courses from the central areas of philosophy in order to build a strong foundation for upper division courses in the discipline.

Senior Philosophy Courses

200-level: Many 200-level courses require only second year standing in University (24 credit units) or PHIL 120. Check the prerequisites to make sure. Students lacking the prerequisites for a course may seek departmental permission to have the requirement waived.

300- and 400-level: Unless otherwise specified philosophy courses at the 300- and 400-level require at least 12 credit units in philosophy.

Major Average

The major average in Philosophy programs includes the grades earned in:

  • All PHIL courses

Residency Requirements in the Major

To receive a degree in Philosophy, students must complete at least two-thirds of the following coursework (to the nearest highest multiple of 3 credit units) from the University of Saskatchewan.

  • Minimum requirements in Major Requirement A4.

See Residency for additional details.