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Philosophy and Literature Concentration

The Special Option in Philosophy and Literary Thought enables students to combine interests in philosophy and literary studies.

To complete this field of study, please download and complete the course requirements sheet here. Please check the Stanford Bulletin (ExploreDegrees) for the most up to date requirements.

I.  One introductory course numbered below 100

II. PHIL 80: Mind, Matter, and Meaning

III. The Philosophy Core:

   i. Logic (PHIL 49, 50, 150, 151, or 154)

  ii. Philosophy of science (PHIL 60, 61, or PHIL 160s)

  iii. Moral and political philosophy (PHIL 2, PHIL 170-172, or 174-176)

  iv. Contemporary theoretical philosophy (PHIL 180s)

  v. History of philosophy (PHIL 100 and 102)

Any units taken for a letter grade in fulfillment of the core requirements above must be completed with a  grade of C- or higher.

IV. PHIL 81: Philosophy and Literature

This course should be taken as early as possible in the student's career, normally in the sophomore year.

V. Three courses in a single national literature, chosen by the student in consultation with the advisor and the director of undergraduate studies.

This normally involves meeting the language proficiency requirements of the relevant literature department.

VI. Electives within Philosophy beyond the core requirements totaling at least 5 units, and drawn from courses numbered 100 or higher.

VII. Two upper division courses of special relevance to the study of philosophy and literature.

Explore approved courses here.

VIII. Capstone seminar in the PHIL 194 series.

IX. Capstone seminar of relevance to the study of philosophy and literature.

In some cases, with approval of the Philosophy Director of Undergraduate Studies and the Philosophy and Literature Director, the same course may be used to meet requirements 6 and 7 simultaneously. In any case, the student's choice of a capstone seminar must be approved in writing by the Philosophy Director of Undergraduate Studies and the Philosophy and Literature.

Past capstone seminars have included:

  • PHIL 193 Dante and Aristotle
  • PHIL 194L Montaigne
  • FRENCH 228E Getting Through Proust
  • COMPLIT 217 The Poetry of Friedrich Holderlin

Students are encouraged to consider doing honors work in a topic related to philosophy and literature through the Philosophy honors program.

The following rules also apply to the special option:

  1. Units for Honors Tutorial, Directed Reading (PHIL 196 Tutorial, Senior Year, PHIL 197 Individual Work, Undergraduate, PHIL 198 The Dualist), The Dualist (PHIL 198 The Dualist), Honors Seminar (PHIL 199 Seminar for Prospective Honors Students) may not be counted toward the 65-unit requirement. No more than 10 units with a grade of 'satisfactory' or 'credit' may be counted toward the unit requirement.
  2. A maximum of 15 transfer units may be counted toward the major, at most 10 of which may substitute for courses within Philosophy. Transfer credits may not substitute for PHIL 80 or PHIL 81, and are approved as substitutes for the five area requirements or PHIL 194 only in exceptional cases.
  3. Courses offered in other departments may be counted toward requirements 3, 5 and 7, but such courses, including affiliated courses, do not generally count toward the other requirements. In particular, such courses may not satisfy requirement 4.
  4. Units devoted to meeting the language requirement are not counted toward the 65-unit requirement.