Philosophy is concerned with the underlying assumptions and broad implications of human knowledge and values. The curriculum in philosophy contains a wide range of courses that explore diverse topics through the writings of important philosophers of the past and present. Emphasis is placed on understanding different solutions to questions about such topics as the role of emotion in film, the moral questions surrounding medicine and bioethics, the importance of the environment and animals, the origin of life, the nature of consciousness, etc., and on analyzing and criticizing them.

The Bachelor of Art in Philosophy has traditionally served as a basis for further study in philosophy, law, religion, or related fields. It may also be used as background training for government, business, writing, information management, or any field that depends upon a strong liberal arts education. The department has traditionally encouraged taking a double major and has restricted the number of required courses in philosophy so that this may be possible.

The department also encourages students to engage in independent study through the departmental honors option. This option has the following requirements:

  1. Students must have a minimum 3.5 grade-point average in their major and a 3.0 GPA overall.
  2. Students must present an acceptable, bound senior thesis, and an oral defense of the thesis.

Students may attain 3-6 undergraduate independent study credits while working for their thesis. Qualified students may enroll in the honors option through their departmental advisors.

The Department of History and Philosophy does not currently offer Graduate Studies in Philosophy.