The fundamental purpose of academic advising is to assist you in clarifying and meeting your educational and career goals. The academic advising works best when the student and faculty member work together as a team; the student should come to advising appointments prepared with specific questions and ideas.

The Advising Relationship

Your academic advisor has expertise in scholarly issues, especially pertaining to philosophy. You may seek advice and support on other matters, such as student health, legal issues, writing and learning skills, general career planning, lifestyle/residential issues, academic accommodations and more. Your faculty advisor's role is to give you advice on academic matters, but she can point you to other resources at UVM to address any non-academic concerns. The College of Arts and Sciences Student Services can also help you to identify the resources most likely to meet your needs.

Advising in the Philosophy Department

When you declare a philosophy major, you will be assigned to an individual faculty advisor, who will provide assistance on the following topics:

  • course selection
  • fulfilling the requirements of the major
  • general distribution and minor requirements within CAS
  • planning for off-campus studies, internships and other opportunities
  • navigating the Four-Year Plan
  • career ideas and opportunities

All advisors hold regular office hours; please check the faculty list to see your advisor's availability and contact information.

Students are responsible for

  • establishing professional relationships with their advisors, starting early in their time at UVM
  • meeting with their advisors if and when they need information and guidance; and
  • requesting that they be assigned new advisors if that is necessary or appropriate.

Faculty advisors are responsible for

  • reaching out to new advisees via email communication;
  • posting and attending regular office hours;
  • meeting with their advisees if and when information and guidance is needed
  • making themselves familiar with academic requirements and resources for their advisees.

Philosophy minors or students considering a minor/major who would like advice are welcome to make an appointment with the department chair or to reach out informally to professors they know in the department.

Advisor Changes due to Leave

If and when your advisor goes on sabbatical or other leave, you will be assigned temporarily to another faculty member until your advisor returns and resumes duties. If you are being reassigned, the department's administrator will email you to let you know who your acting advisor is.

Student-Initiated Advisor Changes

If for any reason you would like to change your advisor, please contact the department chair.

Frequently Asked Questions


How can I get an advisor in the Philosophy department?

Students who have declared a major in Philosophy will be assigned an advisor from among the department's faculty. If you would like to request a specific advisor or if you have declared a Philosophy minor and would like an advisor in the department, please email us.

Does the UVM Philosophy department have a graduate program?

No, and that is good news, all things considered, for undergraduates here. Universities with graduate programs quite often assign their graduate students to do the bulk of recitation and review sessions and course grading in very large courses taught by professors. As a consequence, the professors have little opportunity to get to know their students as persons. Put the other way around, students are acquainted with those professors only as personages who deliver lectures in a classroom holding 200+ other students.

In contrast, because we do all our own teaching, reviewing, and grading, students feel that they are not mere ciphers in our courses. If students have questions about their performance on an exam, they can consult directly with the professor and not with an intermediary. Conversely, professors get to know directly and early on whether a particular student is having difficulty in the course. In these respects the Philosophy department here compares very favorably in the attention we give to students with departments at prestigious, private liberal arts colleges.

Why does your department have so many course options at the introductory level?

That’s because we believe that there are several different, equally valuable ways of introducing students to philosophy. One of our goals from the beginning is to help students develop their analytical and critical skills. Those skills can be practiced and honed through the study of courses with different philosophical content.

Every member of the department, in addition to offering intermediate and advanced courses, is committed to offering some introductory course every year – in some cases, every semester. Why? Because many students entering college have had little or no exposure to philosophy The same is true of such academic disciplines as psychology and economics, but students are convinced antecedently that these disciplines are important components of higher education. Our job is to spread the word about philosophy – that it’s important and even fun! Students may enroll in an introductory Philosophy course because it satisfies a distribution requirement, fits their course schedule, or simply because they’re curious. It’s important to the flourishing of our department that our introductory courses are taught well: otherwise we won’t have convinced students that there is something valuable and exciting about the study of philosophy, something worth pursuing further in our upper level courses.

Can I have two majors?

Yes -- some of our majors begin with a major in another department or program – classics, English, political science, psychology, and religion are common examples – with the intention of minoring in philosophy, and then realize that they have both the desire and opportunity to convert the minor into a major. (Double majors do not need to have a minor in addition to their two majors.)

What sorts of coursework requirements might I encounter in a philosophy course?

Most of our courses lay emphasis on writing carefully focused, clearly argued essays, typically on a topic or a range of topics set by the professor. In some courses, especially at the introductory level, the essays may be written in class. In intermediate and advanced courses the essays are usually written outside of class time and submitted at a due date. These essays may range from short, expository exercises to longer, more exploratory ventures. In some courses the professor may provide the opportunity for students to rewrite an essay in the light of the professor’s criticism. Some intermediate and advanced courses require a term paper. In some courses students may be involved in oral presentations.