Mathematics and philosophy have a deep connection, as evidenced by philosophy’s use of tools from mathematical logic and by the role of philosophy in the foundations of mathematics. The joint major in Mathematics & Philosophy allows students to explore the rich connection between the two subjects. It is particularly appropriate for students interested in the foundations of mathematics and logic.

Learning Outcomes

Students graduating with a joint major in Mathematics & Philosophy will:

  • Demonstrate an ability to engage in the foundational reasoning necessary for a variety of philosophical texts and traditions.
  • Demonstrate a mature understanding of single and multivariable calculus up through and including differential equations and of linear algebra.
  • Demonstrate a clear understanding of the concept of mathematical proof and be able to present a rigorous proof of basic theorems.
  • Utilize their philosophical and mathematical abilities in order to grasp work at the intersection of philosophy and mathematics.
  • Demonstrate depth of understanding of core areas of mathematics that are particularly relevant to foundations and the philosophy of mathematics.


All first-year, first-time students will pursue coursework in the BU Hub, a general education program that is integrated into the entire undergraduate experience. BU Hub requirements are flexible and can be satisfied in many different ways, through coursework in and beyond the major and, in some cases, through cocurricular activities. Students majoring in Mathematics & Philosophy will ordinarily, through coursework in the major, satisfy BU Hub requirements in Philosophical, Aesthetic, and Historical Interpretation, Quantitative Reasoning, and some elements of the Intellectual Toolkit. Remaining BU Hub requirements will be satisfied by selecting from a wide range of available courses outside the major or, in some cases, cocurricular experiences.


  • CAS MA 123 and MA 124, or equivalent (CAS MA 127 or MA 129 or advanced placement)
  • CAS MA 225 or MA 230
  • CAS MA 293
  • CAS PH 100 or PH 110

Principal Courses

At least six 4-credit courses in mathematics and six 4-credit courses in philosophy, all completed with a grade of C or higher are required.

Required Mathematics Courses

  • CAS MA 242 or MA 442
  • CAS MA 531 and MA 532
  • CAS MA 411 & 412, or CAS MA 511 & 512
  • Any one of the following: CAS MA 294 or MA 341; or any course numbered 400 or higher

Required Philosophy Courses

  • CAS PH 468
  • Three courses in philosophy, 200 level and above
  • Any two of the following: CAS PH 422, PH 443, PH 460

Students in this major should have advisors in both the Mathematics & Statistics Department and the Philosophy Department.

Honors in the Major

Students may earn the distinction of departmental Honors in the Major by achieving a GPA of 3.3 or greater in their major courses and successfully completing a senior work-for-distinction research project under the supervision of a faculty member. This project culminates in a written thesis and oral defense before a committee of three faculty (including the project supervisor). Students may complete their thesis project as part of the CAS MA 401–402 honors thesis sequence. Qualified students interested in pursuing a work-for-distinction project should contact the director of undergraduate studies no later than the second semester of their junior year.