Success Maps

Philosophy Success Map


All Pillars | All Years
1st Year (0-30 Credit Hours)
BUILD Knowledge & Expertise

The Philosophy Department's website has information for students. If you want to know a bit about philosophy, go to the department’s "Programs" page

All students are strongly encouraged to complete the Basic Arts Requirements and take PHIL 1200 Critical Thinking.

Students may count no more than 12 credit hours at 1000-level Philosophy courses toward their Philosophy major or minor.

Need extra help? The peer mentors in the SMarts Advantage Program program can help (Room MM214A).

Classes fill early, so it's wise to register as soon as registration opens.

The Philosophy Department Chair or the Philosophy Undergraduate Advisor would be delighted to meet with you to discuss your program. 

Your Academic Advisor can help you make sure you have the right courses.

DEVELOP Essential Skills

Philosophy courses help students to develop these skills:

  • To analyse and evaluate arguments
  • To make explicit the presuppositions within arguments
  • To read philosophy and other intellectual writing with understanding
  • To focus on the problem at hand
  • To hold complex chains of thought in mind
  • To generate promising solutions to problems

Philosophy courses help students to acquire these habits of mind:

  • To be analytical and critical toward both one’s own thoughts and those of others
  • To be good tempered and civil even while being analytical and critical
  • To be concerned to find and evaluate the unreasoned elements in one’s beliefs and other attitudes
  • To remain undaunted by the (seeming) endlessness of intellectual reflection and discussion
  • To be concerned to know the truth even while being aware of the difficulty of coming to know it
  • To be without dogmatism
  • To love reasoning
  • To be passionate about seeing things dispassionately
  • To be disdainful of authority in matters of thought and taste
  • To be cheerful and easy of mind

The Writing Centre offers comments that you can incorporate into your work.

The Patrick Power Library provides a virtual tour.

Résumé Seminar would be helpful in preparing for internships, scholarships, and summer jobs.

PARTICIPATE in Campus Life

Welcome Week includes a session about a culture of safety and respect at Saint Mary’s.

The Societies Fair and student societies, including the SMU Philosophy Society, are worth exploring, before deciding which to join.

Speak Up! is a program where international students practice speaking English.

SMUfit offers activities to help you to stay active. 

There are more than 260 scholarships available!

Need help with time management, organizational, or presentation skills? Book an Academic & Life Skills Coaching session.

You can learn to budget your money by attending a Financial Literacy workshop or getting advice from Financial Aid and Awards.

Check in with Career Services to start discussing your career goals related to your program. 

When facing a personal crisis, you might want to get help from the Counselling Centre.

CONNECT Locally & Globally

Available jobs can be accesses after you create a HireSMU account.

Not from Halifax? Explore and discover all our cultural opportunities and have fun.

Local events can be viewed in Pride in Your Shared Neighbourhood newsletter.

The office of International Activities provides study options beyond Canada after 1st year. International travel requires a passport.

The Services for International Students provide supports to international students.

The International Night is an annual banquet showcasing SMU’s many cultures.

2nd Year (30-60 Credit Hours)
BUILD Knowledge & Expertise

In second year, philosophy students should take three or four philosophy courses (9 or 12 credit hours) at the 2000 or 3000 level. They should take courses in a variety of areas (ethics, theory of knowledge, metaphysics, and logic) so that they might acquire a sense of the discipline as a whole.

Philosophy students should see either the department chair or the undergraduate advisor to discuss their program and their progress.  Advice to philosophy students is also available online.

The philosophy society provides students with an opportunity to discuss philosophy with their peers.

Visit your Academic Advisor to be sure you have the right courses and to declare your major this year.

DEVELOP Essential Skills

Strengthen the skills and attitudes that you have acquired since the first year.

You can receive one-on-one tutorials at the Writing Centre or through online resources.

You can learn advanced researching techniques at the Library.

The Co-Curricular Record helps you keep track of your accomplishments and set new goals.

PARTICIPATE in Campus Life

LEAP Peer Mentor positions will give you good experience helping others.

There are many student societies to try.

Participation in intramurals can be fun and a good way to meet new people.

The Scholarship List is available to you to review. Applications are generally due between February and May.

Personal Counselling or Academic & Life Skills Coaching are available to students.

Career Counselling is helpful even at this early stage.

CONNECT Locally & Globally

The Volunteer Fair is held every September. You can also speak to a Career and Employment Coach at Career Services.

There is a LinkedIn photo shoot and a LinkedIn Seminar with Career Services. 

You can update your HireSMU Account with accurate contact information and most recent résumés.

The Co-op Program can be applied at the beginning of 2nd year (30+ credits) to gain work experience over three terms.

The International Activities office provides information about study-abroad programs or international field study courses in 2nd - 4th years.

3rd Year (60-90 Credit Hours)
BUILD Knowledge & Expertise

In third year, Philosophy majors should take four or five philosophy courses (12 or 15 credit hours).  Although students should continue to broaden their knowledge of philosophy by taking courses in a variety of areas, they might begin to focus on the areas that most interest them.

Most of the courses a Philosophy major taken in third year will be third-year courses, as majors need to acquire at least 12 credit hours at the 3000 and 4000 levels.

Visit your Academic Advisor to be sure you’re on the right track to meet graduation requirements.

It’s a good idea to see either the Department Chair or the Undergraduate Advisor to discuss your program and your progress.

DEVELOP Essential Skills

Refine your abilities and attitudes in various areas of Philosophy.

The Research-by-Appointment service provides one-on-one help.

The Writing Centre offers workshops on Exam Writing & Preparation.

Your Co-Curricular Record should be updated.

PARTICIPATE in Campus Life

Your professors are excellent contacts for reference letters. 

The Research Expo is an opportunity to learn from the research and critical analysis of peers and professors and showcase your own research project.

On-campus jobs include a research position with faculty, a faculty assistant, or a tutor.

Leading LEAP Workshops as a Peer Facilitator to gain experience in teaching.

There are over 200 scholarship and bursary awards.

Summer or internship jobs within your major or career field of interest will help you gain specific experience and build credentials.

The Career Development Centre provides support for tactical job searches, including using social media, information interview, fine-tuning your résumé and cover letter, and practicing interview skills.

CONNECT Locally & Globally

The Halifax Career Fair takes place in September and March. It is an excellent way to help you discover career opportunities and employer expectations.

There are new internships designed to help international graduates gain experience in Nova Scotia.

4th Year (90-120 Credit Hours)
BUILD Knowledge & Expertise

In fourth year, students should take four or five Philosophy courses (12 or 15 credit hours).  At least three of their courses should be at 4000 level.

It’s a good idea to see either the Department Chair or the Undergraduate Advisor to discuss your program and your progress.

To graduate with a major in Philosophy, a student needs to have acquired 36 credit hours in philosophy, no more than 12 of which are at the 1000 level and at least 12 of which are at the 3000 level or higher.

To graduate with an honours degree in Philosophy, a student needs to have acquired 60 credit hours in Philosophy, no more than 12 of which are at the 1000 level and at least 24 of which are at the 3000 level or higher.

Your Academic Advisor can help ensure that you are on track for graduation requirements and post-graduation plan.

You will need to fill out an application for graduation form and submit it to the Service Centre. Remember to have your picture taken for the yearbook.

Final transcripts can be requested.

DEVELOP Essential Skills

Strengthen the skills and attitudes that you have acquired in previous years.

Before graduation, make sure to do a final update of your Co-Curricular Record and request an official copy.

The Career Services helps you clearly and persuasively articulate all you have learned at Saint Mary’s (in and out of class) to an employer.

PARTICIPATE in Campus Life

To serve as Department Student Rep, you would need to speak to your Department Chair.

Your best research paper can be entered for the Academic Writing Awards.

The Student Leadership Award recognizes student involvement in the classroom and in the Saint Mary’s community. 

There are other awards to consider such as the SMUFU scholarship.

Interested in brushing up on your Financial Literacy

Your degree can open the door to many types of careers. Career Counselling can help you discover where you want to go and how best to get there.

Career Services’ 4-week Job Search Seminar Series are available before or after graduation.

CONNECT Locally & Globally

If you are prepared to apply, interview, and network when school begins, you will maximize your chance of receiving some job offers before graduation.

When attending the Halifax Career Fair or some career fairs specific to your program, remember to bring your résumé and prepare for the interviews with recruiters and potential employers in advance.

The Halifax Connector program provides an opportunity to meet with a Halifax professional in a field of your interest.

If you are a co-op student, it would be helpful to arrange for your final work term placement early.

The International Centre provides support to international students interested in staying in Canada and receiving permanent resident status .

The SMU Young Alumni Association welcomes you to begin your next phase as a Santamarian.

Remember that you have access to Career Services for three years post-graduation. These services help you continue to get the most out of your degree.