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Philosophy & Religious StudiesChair's Welcome

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The Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy, a BA in Philosophy with an emphasis in Religious Studies, and a BA in Philosophy with an emphasis in Political and Legal Studies. We also offer Minors in Philosophy, Religious Studies, Political and Legal Studies, and Applied Ethics that are easy to fit in with other majors.

In our courses and programs we provide rigorous training in analysis and argumentation in culturally- and historically-informed contexts, giving you tools for and experience in thinking about the meaning and value of human activity, both in general and within particular areas of human practices. This training best supports students who plan to go on into graduate studies, or who are independent-minded and entrepreneurial, seeking to create their own path and their own opportunities.

Studies have found that Philosophy majors have the highest composite GRE scores and that a Philosophy BA is either the best or nearly the best undergraduate program for law school admissions.

Jokes persist about the employability of Liberal Arts majors, and Philosophy majors in particular, since our programs are not connected to a specific career path, but the adaptability of our programs is in reality an asset, not a liability. Training in thought, reasoning, argumentation, and interpersonal and cultural understanding lets you do whatever you choose better, and is the best training for the jobs that don't exist yet—and to create those jobs yourself. Studies of median mid-career salaries of those holding terminal Bachelor's degrees bear this out, with those holding Philosophy BAs outperforming those with terminal Bachelor's degrees in some fields usually viewed as more "practical," including Chemistry, Marketing, Accounting, Business Management, and Psychology. This is not to say that a Philosophy degree is a better path to financial success, but only to say that, contrary to the common view, philosophy majors can and do make a living.

Please drop by my office on the top floor of the Batten Arts & Letters Building (BAL 9016) if you'd like to know more about our majors and minors, and explore whether our programs might well serve your interests and goals.

D.E. Wittkower
Chair, Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies