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Undergraduate Education in Philosophy

Philosophy is the oldest of the liberal arts. 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. And yet philosophy remains highly relevant to life in technologically complex, diverse, global, information driven societies such as our own. 


The Pennsylvania State University Department of Philosophy educates undergraduates with an eye toward both of these features of philosophy:  its rich and varied historical traditions and its ongoing contemporary relevance.  Students not only learn the greatest thinkers, theories, and texts of the history of philosophy, they are also challenged to develop their own ideas, to apply philosophy to their own lives, and to use philosophy to address the pressing issues of our times.  Our students learn to think critically, to analyze and construct arguments, and to identify the basic but often unstated assumptions at work in other disciplines or endeavors.  In other words, our students learn the kinds of critical, interpretive, analytical, and argumentative skills highly prized by employers in a wide variety of fields, from publishing and non-profit work to consulting and information technology.  In addition, because philosophy students score consistently higher than other majors on LSAT, MCAT, and GMAT exams, philosophy provides an outstanding preparation for law school, medical school, and other advanced degrees.  And, for those students interested in pursuing graduate work in philosophy, our department has a strong track record of placing its graduates into top-notch PhD programs. Finally, philosophy provides students with the critical and reflective capacities necessary for ongoing personal development and self-transformation in every facet of their lives.