Back to search results

Philosophy

Degree: BA

Campus: Columbus

College: Arts and Sciences

The philosophy major trains students in rigorous, analytical reasoning and teaches them how to solve problems and communicate logically and persuasively, both in speech and in writing.

By studying classic texts and contemporary problems, students learn how to construct powerful arguments while pondering some of the deepest questions in human life: What makes for a meaningful life? How is free will possible for physical human beings bounded by physical laws? What is the nature of consciousness and can it be explained? Is the existence of a benevolent and all-powerful God compatible with the existence of natural and human evil? What is the nature of right and wrong, and are they dependent upon human beliefs or conventions?

Students in the philosophy program learn how to explore answers to these fundamental questions by debating and defending complex ideas and arguments and expressing beliefs with clarity and precision. They develop a sensitivity to the assumptions that underlie our factual and evaluative judgments, and become careful and critical readers, writers, listeners and thinkers. The training that philosophy majors get is useful in all professional arenas, and also plays a valuable role in living a thoughtful life. 

Upon admission to the university, students can declare a major in philosophy within the College of Arts and Sciences. Interested students should contact the undergraduate advisor for Department of Philosophy and Arts and Sciences Advising.

The philosophy major consists of a prerequisite requirement (Philosophy 2500: Symbolic Logic) and major program requirements. Students should try to satisfy the prerequisite soon after declaring a major in philosophy. The major program must include at least 30 credit hours in courses numbered 2000 and above, not including Philosophy 2500, and at least six must be philosophy courses 5000 or above.

The philosophy major is flexible and can be tailored to the individual student’s specific interests and plans. Courses in all the major areas of philosophy are offered, as well as courses in special topics such as the Philosophy of Religion, Asian Philosophy, Jewish Mysticism, The Philosophy of Art and Environmental Ethics. 

Required courses

  • Gateway Seminar, Philosophy 3000 (three credit hours)
  • Two of the following History of Philosophy courses (six credit hours):
    • History of Ancient Philosophy (3210)
    • History of Medieval Philosophy (3220)
    • History of 17th-Century Philosophy (3230)
    • History of 18th-Century Philosophy (3240)
    • History of 19th-Century Philosophy (3250)
    • Fundamental Concepts of Existentialism (3261)
  • Two of the following Philosophical Topics courses (six credit hours): 
    • Philosophy of Logic (3530)
    • Intro to Philosophy of Language (3600)
    • Philosophy of Science (3650)
    • Introduction to Metaphysics (3700)
    • Introduction to Theory of Knowledge (3750)
    • Introduction to Philosophy of Mind (3800)
    • Philosophy of Action (3810)

Philosophy majors will be particularly interested in the very active Undergraduate Philosophy Club.

Philosophy majors are employed in a wide variety of professions. Many employers, including those in business, education and government, are interested in hiring people who are liberally educated, and who have exactly the skills utilized most in philosophical inquiry and debate. 

Some graduates of the philosophy program go on to law school and other professional and graduate programs, and philosophy majors are known to achieve the highest scores on the graduate school entrance exams, including the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) and the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). 

Ohio State graduates with philosophy degrees have chosen non-academic jobs that include research administrator for the National Youth Employment Coalition, stockbroker with Dean Witter, systems engineer with IBM, assistant district attorney in San Francisco, film and TV screenwriter, and teacher with Teach for America. Philosophy graduates who earn a PhD may pursue an academic career.

Director of Undergraduate Studies
Department of Philosophy
350 University Hall
230 N. Oval Mall
Columbus, OH 43210
614-292-7914
philosophy.osu.edu