Philosophy Major Resources

Philosophy explores fundamental questions about nature, morality, science, art, justice, law, religion and more. Instead of being united by a focus on just one subject area, philosophy is united by the way it examines any subject or area of inquiry.

Philosophers prize rigorous, critical thinking and intellectual creativity. They clarify the assumptions made in other disciplines; examine ideas across cultural boundaries; illuminate historical predecessors of contemporary concerns; and explain relations between scientific knowledge and the common sense view of the world. Ultimately, philosophy seeks to enlarge our understanding of the world and ourselves and therefore help us better understand how to live.

Here you will find:

  • Key information about your major
  • How and when to meet with your major advisor
  • Planning tools that will help you track your progress in the major
  • Ways to explore career opportunities related to the Philosophy major

Take a few moments to look at the information below. It will help you plan effectively and avoid surprises during your studies at John Jay. Please visit the Department of Philosophy's website for information, resources, and opportunities!

Philosophy Requirements

You are responsible for the major requirements that were in effect when you declared the major. To confirm the requirements you should be following, go to the Undergraduate Bulletin for that academic year. For example, if you declared the Philosophy major in Fall 2015 or Spring 2016, you would click on the 2015-2016 Undergraduate Bulletin. If you declared the major and then left the College for more than one full semester, you’re responsible for the major requirements in effect when you return, if they have changed. Not sure when you declared the major? Find out here.

Below, find the Undergraduate Bulletin that was in effect when you declared the major.

Each of the following PHI courses can count toward your major requirements and toward your General Education requirements:

U.S. Experience: PHI 202

Creative Expression: PHI 201

Individual & Society: PHI 210, PHI 231

College Option 300 level justice: PHI 302, PHI 317

Major Advising

Philosophy major advising is being done remotely in Fall 2024. Please email Professor Amie Macdonald ( if you have any questions.

When you request an advising appointment, please include your EMPL ID number

We encourage you to talk with Professor Macdonald whether you have decided to major in philosophy or are simply curious about the major or the minor. This meeting will help you develop better strategies for success in the major and prevent you from taking unnecessary courses. Transfer students should also meet with Professor Macdonald, ideally before registering for first semester. 


Summer 2024 advising information for Philosophy majors coming soon!

Sophomores with 45-59 credits may have a hold on their registration. The hold will be removed when they have a major advising appointment with Professor Macdonald. This meeting will encourage wise planning and allow students to ask any questions they may have about the major. How do you know if you have a major hold? Go to CUNYfirst and complete the following steps:

  1. Check the Holds box of your CUNYfirst Student Center. If "Advisement Required" appears, click on “details.”
  1. Click on “Advisement Required.”
  1. See which type of advisement you need. If you must see a major advisor, then make a major advising appointment following the steps preferred by this department.

Plan Ahead: Graduate on Time

The Philosophy major has several courses that build on each other in a sequence, so it is important to plan accordingly. Keep the following guidelines in mind:

  • Enroll in PHI 105 and PHI 231 as soon as possible, followed by PHI 210 the next semester and PHI 330 soon afterwards. Note that you do not need to take PHI 105 and PHI 231 in the same semester, but you should take both during your freshman year.
  • PHI 231 is a prerequisite for many courses in the major.
  • If you choose to take the PHI 204 Logic course (an option in Part Four of your major requirements), complete PHI 105 first. PHI 105 is not a formal prerequisite for PHI 204, but will make you better prepared for it.
  • If possible, avoid taking more than three courses in the major within the same semester.
  • Consider the many courses in Philosophy that fulfill general education requirements as well as major requirements. Taking courses that fulfill both types of requirements will allow you to progress through the major more efficiently.  
  • Though students can choose 200 level course options throughout the Philosophy major, we encourage you to challenge yourself by selecting 300 level courses whenever possible.
  • Remember that you will need at least a 2.0 in the major and at least an overall 2.0 GPA to graduate.
  • DegreeWorks degree audit - Use this online planning tool to track your overall progress toward graduation. You will see which of your general education and major requirements are completed, in progress, or still needed.  Refer to the DegreeWorks FAQs to better understand how to use this helpful tool. Note: be sure to confirm the accuracy of your degree audit with a general advisor and major advisor.
  • Philosophy Major Checklist - Fill out this printable worksheet to keep track of which major requirements you have completed and which ones you still need.
  • Sample Four Year Plan - See an example of how you could complete all your degree requirements (major, general education, electives) and graduate in four years! Remember that this sample plan shows just one possible way to combine your requirements. Transfer students in particular should work with advisors to determine a plan that works best for them.

A General Academic Advisor will confirm what general academic requirements you still need, make suggestions about smart course planning that will help you graduate without delays, discuss your interest in adding a minor or second major, inform you about opportunities such as study abroad, discuss general questions and concerns, and make helpful referrals. Visit the Academic Advisement Center's webpage for more information.

Philosophy and Careers

Listen to Professor Amie Macdonald talk about all the ways Philosophy prepares students for a range of great professions, whatever their career goals may be!


“I picked Philosophy as my major because it challenges me and it makes me think and question myself in ways that other disciplines do not. Also, the professors are amazing and they’re just excited to learn as you are.” Kathlyn Salazar, Class of 2015

“Philosophy is a unique field, in that it encompasses an individual’s ability to understand and examine life’s questions.” - Nataniel Arabov, Class of 2016

“I loved studying philosophy because it gave me time to mature and develop a richer understanding of myself.” – Peter Kowalewska, class of 2014

“My minor enriched my educational experience and has stayed with me long after graduation. . . I would not be the person I am today without philosophy.” Lucy Delaney, Class of 2014

See more testimonials from Philosophy alums.

To find out how Philosophy students perform on graduate school exams, see The Power of Philosophy.
Philosophy majors are well-prepared for Law School. If you are interested in guidance regarding Law School, reach out to John Jay's excellent Pre-Law Institute.

Visit Philosophy is a Great Major to learn about the many career opportunities related to the Philosophy major.

For personalized guidance concerning internships, jobs, and careers, visit John Jay’s Center for Career and Professional Development. CCPD staff are available to meet individually with students and alumni in L72.00 New Building. To request an appointment with a CCPD advisor, log on to John Jay Careers Online. 15-minute drop-in sessions are also available Mon-Fri 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. in New Building 72.00. Stop by in person earlier the same day to make a drop-in appointment.