Philosophy and English-Philosophy

Philosophy is a fundamental academic discipline which is related to all areas of human concern and consists of reflection on some of the deepest issues of human life and existence. It is the study of ideas and reality itself - and how we justify those beliefs - and philosophers seek to understand truths about existence and the world in which we live, asking questions and aruging the answers to basic, but essential, questions about life. Because it touches all parts of humanity and knowledge, it relates to most of the disciplines at UNM.

The University of New Mexico Department of Philosophy is a community of faculty and students who are actively engaged in a wide range of philosophical projects. The Department combines research strengths in both Western and Asian philosophy, which allows us to offer our students a unique training that spans different historical periods and different philosophical traditions.

Our department offers B.A. degrees in Philosophy, Philosophy with a Pre-Law concentration, and English-Philosophy.

Philosophy courses are helpful to students in A&S, as well as in professional fields of study. In philosophy, you take courses that require you to develop reading and writing skills that are valuable in any profession. In terms of reading, you’ll learn how to effectively understand the reasoning that is presented in a text, and you’ll sharpen your ability to identify and critique the assumptions that an author uses to support a position. In regard to writing, you’ll develop the invaluable skill of writing in a clear and structured way, and you’ll be pushed to explicitly state and persuasively defend your own evaluation of a text or argument. It’s no surprise that the skills gained by completing a Philosophy major turn out to be incredibly valuable when taking the standardized tests that are commonly required for entrance into graduate programs and law schools. In both the Verbal Reasoning and the Analytic Writing sections of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), Philosophy majors earned higher average scores than students from any other major.  

The major and minor programs in philosophy are designed to serve several different functions. It might be your central area of study, or a key component in an interdisciplinary program. Additionally, the critical thinking, reasoning, logic, and argumentation skills required in philosophy make it a solid preparatory program for any field of graduate work, in addition to fields such a Law, Education, Medicine, Entrepreneurship, Public Service, Politics, and Theology. This sort of critical reading and analytic writing is the hallmark of doing Philosophy, and students who complete the major put these skills to good use. We invite you to discuss with the Departmental Undergraduate Advisor the role of philosophy in specific programs of study.

Our department participates fully in the following interdisciplinary programs, demonstrating the wide applicability of philosophy: International Studies, Latin American Studies, Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies, Peace Studies, and Religious Studies, and many other interdisciplinary programs like Sustainability Studies include Philosophy courses as options.

Pre-Law Concentration

The Pre-Law concentration is recommended for students considering law school and for those interested in a focus in ethics, legal and social philosophy. This concentration focuses on logic and reasoning, foundational philosophical texts of European and Western society, human nature and philosophies of governance, ethics, and philosophy of law and morals.  


The combined major in English and philosophy is an interdepartmental major administered jointly by the two departments. The purpose of the interdepartmental major is to develop an understanding of the history of ideas, ideals, and values; their expression in literature and philosophy; and the relation of these fields. The major serves the interests of general education and is also useful to many pre-professional students. The celebrated environmentalist Edward Abbey received his degree from UNM in English-Philosophy, and you can see the influence of philosophy in his writing.

The specific goal for our students pursuing a philosophy degree with an English-Philosophy concentration is to acquire an appreciation of the relationship between English literature and Philosophy. Thus, in addition to the general outcomes for all Philosophy majors emphasized in the Philosophy courses recommended for the English-Philosophy major, English-Philosophy majors should be able to articulate how philosophy and literature have mutually informed and influenced each other.

The B.A. in English-Philosophy does not require a minor, and there is no minor offered for English-Philosophy.

Undergraduate Program

Departmental Honors

UNM Catalog

Programs of Study


  • B.A. Philosophy
  • B.A. Philosophy - Pre-Law
  • B.A. English-Philosophy
  • Philosophy
Shared Undergraduate/Graduate Credit Programs Available: 
  • B.A. and M.A. in Philosophy

Contact Information

Undergraduate Academic Advisor(s): 
Advisor office locations vary. Please click on your advisor's name below to learn more.
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Department Location:
Humanities (Bldg 81), Suite 513

Department/Program Website