Cal State LA Department of Philosophy B.A. Degrees

Two options are offered for the Bachelor of Arts degree: the General Option and the Prelaw Option. The 39-unit General Option is designed for students who desire a well-rounded philosophical education including those considering graduate study in philosophy, medicine, or theology. The Prelaw Option combines 39 units of philosophy courses with 9 units of courses from other disciplines to form a sound basis for the study of law. This option emphasizes development of the analytical thinking skills needed for the study of law as well as critical understanding of the human institutions and values with which the law deals. Current Degree Requirement Worksheets are available online:

All students who began before Fall 2016 have the option of completing under the Quarter or Semester System. Students who begin Fall 2016 are under Semesters.

For further information, contact one of the department's advisors.

Expected Outcomes for the Undergraduate Program

Expected learning outcomes for undergraduate programs focus on (a) knowledge of philosophy, and (b) acquisition of the interpretive, analytic and critical skills of philosophical inquiry, including the ability to construct and evaluate arguments.

Knowledge Outcomes:

  • Knowledge of some of the major philosophical texts in the history of Western philosophy.
  • Knowledge of contemporary philosophical methods.
  • Knowledge of some of the main currents and issues in contemporary philosophy—for example, in metaphysics, epistemology, logic, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, philosophy of science, philosophy of law, ethics, political philosophy, and aesthetics.
  • Knowledge of the fundamentals of logic and critical thinking.

Ability Outcomes:

  • The ability to understand, analyze, and critically evaluate complex arguments and theories.
  • The ability to identify and critically evaluate the underlying presuppositions of methodologies, theories, and arguments in various areas, e.g., science, law, religion, and public policy.
  • The ability to develop reasoned support for one's own opinions on theoretical and practical matters.
  • The ability to interpret and explicate texts from different cultural and intellectual contexts.
  • The ability to explain, both orally and in writing, difficult ideas in a clear, informed, effective, and coherent manner.
  • The ability to write an essay satisfying the terms of the assignment, with a recognizable thesis and a coherent supporting argument.
  • The ability to apply the above philosophical skills in new contexts.
  • The ability to apply some of the philosophical skills listed above to one's own life, in self-reflection and life-long learning.

Undergraduates may select either the General Option or the Prelaw Option. Although the knowledge and learning outcomes stated above are common to both options, prelaw students can have a slightly different focus in their knowledge outcomes. Prelaw students emphasize evaluative processes, and study in more detail contemporary methods and currents in ethics, political, and legal philosophy. The Department has not set knowledge outcomes for the interdisciplinary section of the Prelaw Option, since students' programs are tailored to their various specific needs and interests.