About the Department
The Department of Philosophy at CSUN has well-trained faculty dedicated to nurturing the inner philosopher in each undergraduate. Small class sizes, generally ranging from 20 to 34 students, allows for a superior learning environment, where each student can explore his or her own philosophical views. It also allows the instructor to dedicate time to help each student strengthen his or her critical-thinking, reading and writing skills.
There are several things that make the department distinctive. Courses are offered regularly in sex, gender and sexuality; American Indian philosophy; and Latin American and Latino philosophy. The Department of Philosophy also has strong ties to the Department of Biology, where faculty from both departments jointly teach courses on the intersection of biology and philosophy. Since 2010, the department has hosted an annual student philosophy conference, giving students the opportunity to present a paper in a professional setting. Additionally, the student-run organization, the Student Philosophy Society, invites students and faculty to discuss a wide range of issues in a fun and relaxed setting.
The Department of Philosophy helps students select the program and courses that best satisfy their individual needs and interests. Contact Academic Advisor Julie Yoo, Department Chair Tim Black or Associate Chair Kristina Meshelski at (818) 677-2757 to schedule an appointment. The College of Humanities Student Services Center/EOP reviews students’ progress to ensure that the requirements of a major or minor in Philosophy are fulfilled. Call (818) 677-4784 or (818) 677-4767 to schedule an appointment with the Student Services Center/EOP.
The skills and training one receives in philosophy are valuable in many careers. A degree in Philosophy can be evidence to prospective employers that one is capable of creative and analytic thinking and is proficient in reasoning, problem solving, and written and oral communication.
Philosophy students have successfully transferred their philosophic backgrounds and skills to many fields, including business, law, politics, theology, secondary education, social work and counseling, the health professions, computer technology, journalism, editing and publishing, and government service.
A major or minor in Philosophy can be especially useful to students seeking entry into professional programs in these areas and many others. Philosophy majors tend to do well on such pre-professional tests as the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) and the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT). The study of philosophy also can be intensely satisfying for its own sake: It enhances one’s ability to enjoy and pursue a lifetime of learning, self-expression, and exchange and debate of ideas concerning ourselves and the meaning of our existence.
The purpose of the Honors in the Philosophy Program is to identify exceptional philosophy students and to encourage and recognize the development of their potential.
To be eligible to participate in the program, a student must:
- Be a declared Philosophy major.
- Have completed a minimum of 9 units of upper division Philosophy courses at CSUN.
- Maintain a GPA of 3.5 or above in courses counting toward completion of the major and a GPA of 3.3 or above in all courses taken at CSUN.
- Obtain the recommendation of a full-time faculty member.
To graduate with Honors in Philosophy, a student must:
- Complete a minimum of 45 units in letter-graded courses taken at CSUN.
- Complete the requirements for a B.A. degree in Philosophy with a GPA of 3.5 or above in courses counting toward completion of the major and a GPA of 3.3 or above in all courses taken at CSUN.
- Complete successfully an Honors Thesis consisting of a minimum of 5,000 words. To undertake an Honors Thesis, students must enroll in either PHIL 497 (Senior Research Seminar) or PHIL 499 (Independent Study) during their senior year and declare to their instructor by the end of the second week of instruction their intention to undertake an Honors Thesis. (Those who choose to write an Honors Thesis in PHIL 499 are not exempt from PHIL 497.) The thesis must earn a grade of “A” or “A-” from the instructor of record in order to count as satisfactorily completed.
Students who successfully complete the above requirements are graduated with Honors in Philosophy and receive a special certificate from the department. The designation “Honors in Philosophy” is noted on the student’s transcript and academic record.
The Sidney A. Luckenbach Memorial Award, established by the family and friends of former philosophy professor Sidney A. Luckenbach Sr., is a cash award presented each year to one or more academically outstanding Philosophy majors. Recipients are selected by a faculty committee, with preference given to students who are interested in logic and philosophy of science and to students with need.
Department of Philosophy
Chair: Tim Black
Associate Chair: Kristina Meshelski
Sierra Tower (ST) 522