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First Year Philosophy Students



Welcome to the Philosophy Department at Gordon College! We look forward to seeing you soon on campus and to introducing you to all the various courses and other activities we have to offer in the Department. Below you will find some information specifically aimed to help in your transition to Gordon. For more information about faculty and programs in the Department please feel free to browse our Departmental website or, for specific questions, please feel free to contact the Chair of the Department at or 978-867-4867.

Your First Year

  • All incoming philosophy majors should take our Core offering, PHI118 The Examined Life, in their first semester.
  • In the spring of your first year, there are some courses that are suitable for first year students; particularly, PHI212 Formal Logic, some of our philosophy of religion and history courses, and PHI235 Philosophy of Law (for those who are interested in the Pre-Law  Minor).
  • It is not expected that incoming students will take other, more advanced philosophy courses in their first term at Gordon, but if you have had some background in philosophy and believe that there are some courses being offered in your first term that you would like to take you may either contact the Chair of the Department before arriving or discuss it with your adviser at our initial meeting as a Department during Orientation.

Subsequent Years

The requirements for both the single and double majors are listed on the website and in the catalog, but here is a brief overview of what your four years at Gordon as a philosophy major might look like:

  • First Year: As was noted above, all philosophy majors will have taken at least PHI118 The Examined Life by the end of the first year and perhaps one other course such as Formal Logic. The rest of your first year should be aimed at taking fundamental courses in the Core that will help prepare you for your second year at Gordon: for example, COR107 The Great Conversation, BCM101 Old Testament, HIS121 History, etc. It is also a good idea to work on your language requirement. This means, first of all, ensuring that you take any placement tests available during Orientation to determine your language proficiency and the number of credits (if any) that you will need to take at Gordon to complete your language requirement. If you do need to take a language at Gordon, Latin, French or German are historically the most important for philosophy.
  • Second Year: All students take PHI230 Ethics in their second year, as well as Formal Logic (if she or he has not taken this course in the first year). It is also typical for a student to take one of our courses in the history of philosophy or in the philosophy of religion.
  • Third and Fourth years: As you progress in the major you will begin to take upper-level seminars in Metaphysics, Epistemology, Recent Philosophy, as well as completing your electives. In the senior year all majors enroll in the PHI491 Senior Seminar: Research Methods. Single majors move on in their final semester to write and defend a major research essay in PHI492 Senior Seminar: Writing and Defense.
Once again we welcome you to the Philosophy Department and look forward to meeting you at the departmental information session during Orientation.


Dr. Mark Gedney
Frost 312
Gordon College
[email protected]

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