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Philosophy (B.A.)

B.A., Philosophy

College of Humanities and Social Sciences

What You’ll Do

The practice of philosophy encourages debate, open mindedness, clear thinking and writing, and critical engagement with some of the deepest questions human beings ask, questions about the nature of reality, thought and consciousness, the scope and limits of human knowledge, the value and essence of art, and the foundations of ethics and justice. Philosophy distinguishes itself by its methods: unpacking concepts, questioning beliefs, evaluating arguments, and examining the methods and assumptions of other disciplines, including natural science, social science, law, and fine arts.

Students of philosophy learn to read carefully, think independently, communicate clearly, argue cogently, spot fallacies, clarify muddled reasoning, and identify questionable assumptions. Surveys show that critical reasoning and analytical writing skills are those most sought by potential employers. Standardized exams for graduate, business, and law school test for such skills, and the data demonstrate that philosophy majors do extraordinarily well on them.

The Philosophy major has a generous number of free electives, providing students with the scheduling freedom to incorporate a double major.

What You’ll Become

Most of you will change careers multiple times in your life. The study of philosophy develops skills that will serve you throughout your life in any chosen career. A recent survey of employers conducted by the Association of American Colleges and Universities found that of all the practical and intellectual skills that employers are looking for in potential employees, the “ability to effectively communicate orally and in writing” and “critical thinking and analytical reasoning skills” are the most important. These are precisely the sorts of skills that the standardized tests for admittance to graduate, business, and law school are designed to test for, and the data demonstrate that philosophy majors do extraordinarily well on them.

Whatever your chosen career path, majoring or double-majoring in philosophy can give you a competitive edge in the job market. A recent study of 1.2 million people reported in the Wall Street Journal found that the mid-career median salary of philosophy majors is $81,200—the highest among all humanities and social science majors except economics.

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Special Features

  • An honors program is available.
  • IUP philosophy students deliver papers and participate with faculty members as panelists at the State System of Higher Education Philosophy and Religious Studies Conference.In recent years, IUP philosophy students have delivered papers and participated with faculty members as panelists at the State System of Higher Education Philosophy and Religious Studies Conference.
  • IUP students can compete for cash awards in the Howard Z. Fitzgerald Philosophy Essay Contest.
  • The Daniel N. Boone Speaker Series provides special presentations at IUP on philosophical topics.