Program assessment

The philosophy department engages in an ongoing assessment that aims at ensuring the quality of our programs while also finding ways to enhance our programs in light of our stated learning outcomes. The following are some of the changes to our programs that were instituted during the 2014-15 academic year as part of this process.

Bachelor of Arts program

We instituted new guidelines for our Writing Intensive course (PHI 5993). The new guidelines provide a timetable for completing a semester-long research paper, and they aim at advancing our students' research skills while also deepening their content knowledge in the area of their Writing Intensive project.

Master of Arts program

We've instituted new distribution requirements for the Master of Arts program so that all students will now need courses in metaphysics and epistemology, ethics, and the history of philosophy (in addition to logic, which was already required). The new requirements aim at increasing the breadth of our students' content knowledge.

Ph.D. program

We've eliminated the cognate requirement for the Ph.D. (which required students to take graduate courses outside of the philosophy department) and also reduced the Logic requirement for the Ph.D. from three courses to two. These changes to our requirements aim at increasing the flexibility of the program and thereby making it easier for students to acquire greater depth in their chosen subfields.

Learning outcomes

Content knowledge

  • Students will demonstrate knowledge of important themes, figures, problems, and methods in the major areas of philosophy.
  • Analytical reasoning.
  • Students will demonstrate skill in identifying, constructing, evaluating, and reconstructing arguments.

Clarity of thought and expression

  • Students will demonstrate skill at writing (or speaking) in an organized, informed, and precise manner.

Research skill

  • Students will demonstrate identifying and evaluating relevant sources for the philosophical themes, figures, and problems they explore.