Penn State Penn State: College of the Liberal Arts

Prospective Students

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Prospective Students

Prospective Students

What is Philosophy?

Philosophy is the oldest of the liberal arts and is often defined simply as the love of wisdom. Philosophy is at the core of the liberal arts tradition and provided the foundation for the modern university, yet it remains highly relevant to life in technologically complex, diverse, global, information driven societies such as our own. The Philosophy major provides in-depth study of fundamental issues that inescapably confront all persons, such as:

  • Ethics
  • Social and political philosophy
  • Aesthetics
  • Metaphysics
  • Philosophy of mind
  • Philosophy of religion
  • Epistemology
  • Philosophy of science
  • Logic

These studies enhance imaginative, interpretive, analytical, critical, and communicative capacities. Majors acquire intellectual abilities crucial for self-fulfillment, responsible participation in public life, and success in a wide range of careers—including law, business, education, journalism, medicine, and public service.

Potential Careers

Students in the Philosophy major may choose to pursue one of several areas of concentration, including the history of philosophy, humanities and arts, natural sciences and mathematics, social sciences, professional studies, or justice, law and values. Each option is designed to prepare students to reach career or educational goals in its associated field. Philosophy students learn the kinds of critical, interpretive, analytical, and argumentative skills highly prized by employers in a wide variety of fields, including:

  • Publishing
  • Non-profit work
  • Consulting
  • Information technology
  • Law
  • Business
  • Education
  • Journalism
  • Medicine
  • Public service

Opportunities for Graduate Studies

Philosophy students score consistently higher than other majors on LSAT, MCAT, and GMAT exams. The study of philosophy provides students with an outstanding preparation for law school, medical school, and other advanced degrees. For those students interested in pursuing graduate work in philosophy, our department has a strong record of placing its graduates into top-notch doctoral programs.