Bachelor of Arts | College of Arts and Science

What is Philosophy?

Philosophy is the study of the most basic ideas and ideals through which we understand ourselves and our world. As the pursuit of truth or, in its original Greek meaning, the love of wisdom, philosophy asks about who we are, the nature of the universe, and what it means to lead a good life. The philosophy major provides students with the opportunity to study some of the most important texts and arguments of human thought, and to reflect on the nature of such values as truth, beauty, justice, and freedom. Students of philosophy gain insight into the origin and development of fundamental concepts, and they learn to think and argue well, negotiate diverse perspectives, evaluate conflicting claims to truth, analyze ideas, and reason clearly. Because the major emphasizes effective communication, especially understanding and developing arguments, and writing meaningfully and with clarity, philosophy majors are well prepared with skills that are not only essential to most careers, but also the foundation of engaged and responsible citizenship. Philosophy is an ideal major for any student interested in examining, responding to, and being challenged by ideas, arguments, and theories concerning the fundamental questions of human meaning.

What are the features of Miami’s program?

Small classes and flexibility

Most classes are small, with upper-level classes averaging 15-25 students. The faculty encourage students to develop independent research projects and classroom you'll have many opportunities to interact closely with faculty and your peers. We also have only 4 required courses, so students have flexibility in designing their own individualized course of study.

Interdisciplinary approach

Miami's philosophy department is diverse, providing students with access to different approaches and interests. Our faculty's specialties are widespread, including history of philosophy, ethics, political philosophy, epistemology, metaphysics, aesthetics, and feminist theory. You will be able to take courses that explore issues relating to the sciences, the social sciences, the arts, and social justice. An annual colloquium series presents scholars from around the country on topics of current interest and debate, and the department periodically hosts major conferences.

What are the special admission requirements, if any?

There are no additional admission requirements for this program.

What courses would I take?

The philosophy major is designed for flexibility so you can develop your own course of study. In your first year, you should begin with an introductory philosophy course of your choice. During this time you will also concentrate on the Global Miami Plan, a well-rounded course of study that provides you with an excellent liberal arts education. Through the Global Miami Plan, you will get a solid base in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, fine arts, and formal reasoning.

During your sophomore and junior year, you will concentrate on more advanced philosophy courses related to your chosen course of study. You will also take 3 of the required courses for the major: Writing Philosophy (245); Ancient Philosophy (301); and Modern Philosophy (302). And you will continue with the Global Miami Plan.

In your senior year, you will take the required philosophy Capstone (404), which rounds out your Global Miami Plan liberal education. You should also take two 400-level seminars. You will have time to explore other areas of interest and complete more advanced philosophy courses.

What can I do with this major?

The short answer is anything! Studying philosophy provides students with valuable skills that prepares them for success in a variety of careers. Philosophy majors have gone on to further study or careers in law, government, medicine, education, administration, business, social work, public service, the military, public relations, library work, publishing, and systems analysis. Students who major in philosophy tend to score higher than their peers on the GMAT, the GRE, the MCAT, and the LSAT. Because philosophy is so useful in developing analytic powers and a capacity for clear and critical thinking, it is excellent background for any job that requires problem-solving or decision-making. Because it makes a person sensitive to questions of value and competent to deal intelligently with them, it is excellent training for anyone responsible for personal or group relations or who has to deal with issues in the social or political arena.

The vocational value of a field of study goes beyond its contribution to obtaining one's first job after graduation. You want to think not only about getting your first job but developing your potential for success and advancement once hired. Recent studies show employers want, and reward, many of the capacities which the study of philosophy develops: the ability to solve problems, to communicate, to organize ideas and issues, to assess pros and cons, and to understand complex data. These are skills transferable from philosophy to other areas. People trained in philosophy are not only prepared to do many kinds of tasks; they can also cope with change, or even move into new careers, more readily than many others.

Who can I contact for more information?

Department of Philosophy
212 Hall Auditorium
Oxford, OH 45056