Course Sequence - Honours BA with Major in Philosophy

Since it deals mainly with issues that have no simple solutions, philosophy emphasizes the exchange of ideas and debate, and thus cultivates an appetite for deep and serious reflection. By reading and discussing the works of the world’s great thinkers on fundamental topics like truth, justice, morality and existence, students sharpen their ability to think clearly, critically and independently. The Department of Philosophy programs take both a historical and analytical approach, covering political and social philosophy, ethics and logic, as well as the philosophy of science, of language and of mind.


The Philosophy program at the University of Ottawa leads to an honours bachelor’s degree, which requires the equivalent of four years of university studies and 120 credits (40 courses).


  • Honours BA with Specialization in Philosophy FI
  • Honours BA with Major in Philosophy FI
  • Joint Honours BA in Philosophy and Political Science


  • Minor in Philosophy

FI French Immersion stream available.

Language of instruction

All programs are offered in English and in French.


Employers often look for the sound analytical skills and capacity for synthesis found in philosophy graduates, many of whom go on to hold positions such as discourse analyst, research officer, press attaché, teacher and public servant.

What can I do with my studies? ( is a tool that provides information on career opportunities in philosophy.




1 This course has variable topics.  Students may take this course twice
2 A minimum of 6 optional course credits in philosophy (PHI) at the 3000 or 4000 level and a minimum of 6 optional course credits in philosophy (PHI) at the 4000 level are required.    
3 A minimum of 6 optional course credits in philosophy (PHI) at the 3000 or 4000 level and a minimum of 3 optional course credits in philosophy (PHI) at the 4000 level are required.    

3 credits = 1 course

  Total 1st year 2nd year 3rd year 4th year

120 credits 

(40 courses)

30 credits

(10 courses)

30 credits

(10 courses)

30 credits

(10 courses)

30 credits

(10 courses)

Core courses

6 credits

(2 courses)

ENG1100  Workshop in Essay Writing

3 credits from: 
AHL1100 Introduction to  interdisciplinary study in the Arts1
AHL1900 Initiation aux études interdisciplinaires en Arts / Introduction to interdisciplinary study in the Arts1
ENG1120  Literature and Composition I: Prose Fiction 
ENG1121  Literature and Composition II: Drama and Poetry  





42 credits

(14 courses)

3 credits from:
PHI1101 Reasoning and Critical Thinking
PHI1301 Philosophy: Ideas and Arguments

3 credits from:
PHI1102 Moral Reasoning
PHI1103 Fundamental Philosophical Questions
PHI1104 Great Philosophers
PHI1302 Philosophy: Themes and Texts

PHI2170 Logic I
PHI2380 Greek Philosophy  or the Birth of Philosophy
PHI2382 Philosophy in the Middle Ages
PHI2383 Modern Philosophy



24 course credits in one of the two profiles:

Metaphysics  and theory of knowledge
PHI3377 Contemporary Continental Philosophy

3 credits from:
PHI3397 Origins of Analytic Philosophy
PHI3398 Contemporary Analytic Philosophy

6 optional course credits in philosophy (PHI)2         
9 optional course credits in philosophy (PHI) from list B2        
3 optional course credits in philosophy (PHI) from list C2    

Ethics and politics    
PHI2174    Ethics
PHI2183    Political Philosophy

3 course credits from:    
PHI4164    Seminar in Ethics
PHI4311    Problems in Contemporary Political Philosophy
PHI4312    Problems in Contemporary Ethics

6 optional course credits in philosophy (PHI)3          
3 optional course credits in philosophy (PHI) from list B3        
6 optional course credits in philosophy (PHI) from list C3

Minor or major

42 credits (14 courses)

30 credits (10 courses)

Mandatory major or minor added after first year.
Students have the option of adding a minor (30 credits) in any of a number of disciplines offered at the Telfer School of Management or at the faculties of Arts, Engineering, Science, Health Sciences or Social Sciences.
Note that secondary school prerequisite courses may be required for the second program.


30 or 42 credits 

(10 or 14 courses)

The number of elective courses varies according to the second program:

  • In the major option, students must take 24 elective credits (8 courses).
  • In the minor option, students must take 36 elective credits (12 courses).


List A - History of philosophy

PHI2122 Greek Wisdom
PHI2381 Arab Philosophy
PHI2386 Existentialism
PHI2389 Asian Philosophy
PHI3108 Texts in Modern Philosophy
PHI3370 Plato.  The Philosopher as Poet, Lover, Dialectician and King
PHI3380 Aristotle. The Pursuit of Wisdom for its Own Sake
PHI3382 Kant and critical philosophy
PHI3386 Topics in 19th Century Philosophy
PHI3387 Philosophy of the Enlightenment
PHI4160 Greek Philosophical Texts
PHI4307 Texts in French Philosophy
PHI4385 Hegel and German Idealism


List B - Metaphysics and theory of knowledge

PHI2172 Philosophy of the Mind
PHI2197 Philosophy of History
PHI2391 Philosophy of Science
PHI3105 Phenomenology
PHI3125 Philosophy of Cognitive Science
PHI3170 Topics in Theory of Knowledge
PHI3171 Logic II
PHI3174 Topics in Metaphysics
PHI3390 Philosophical Logic
PHI3391 Philosophy of Language
PHI3393 Philosophy of Religion
PHI4308 Texts in American Philosophy
PHI4309 Wittgenstein


List C - Ethics

PHI2390 Philosophical Issues in Women’s Studies
PHI2392 Esthetics and Philosophy of Art
PHI2393 Philosophy of Culture
PHI2394 Scientific Thought and Social Values
PHI2396 Bioethics
PHI2397 Business Ethics
PHI2398 Environmental Ethics
PHI3164 Contemporary Ethical Theories
PHI3395 Philosophy of Law
PHI3396 Philosophy of the Social Sciences
PHI4164 Seminar in Ethics
PHI4311 Problems in Contemporary Political Philosophy
PHI4312 Problems in Contemporary Ethics
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