"The Death of Socrates," Jacques-Louis David, 1787.
"The Death of Socrates," Jacques-Louis David, 1787.
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, and logic. These studies enhance imaginative, interpretive, analytical, critical, and communicative capacities. Majors thus may 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.
Degree Types: Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Minor

Degree Options

  • 6 BA options
    General Philosophy
  • Humanities and Arts
  • Science and Mathematics
  • Social Sciences
  • Professional Studies
  • Justice, Law, and Values
  • Political Science
  • Bioethics
  • Languages
  • History
  • Classics

About the Program

You might like this program if…

  • You want to develop critical thinking skills, including constructing, interpreting, and critically analyzing philosophical arguments.
  • You want to learn about major thinkers, schools, and trends of the Western philosophical tradition, and to appreciate the importance and value of other thought.
  • You want to compose clear, coherent written expressions of complex philosophical ideas, theories, and arguments.
  • You have enthusiasm for inquiry and want engage in philosophical discussions about ethics, social and political philosophy, metaphysics, and aesthetics.


  • Ethics
  • Love and Sex
  • Social and Political Philosophy
  • Bioethics
  • Medical and Health Care Ethics

Out-of-Classroom Experiences

  • Foundation for Individual Rights in Education
  • WSFS Bank
  • The Harwood Institute
  • Various law offices
  • Altria
  • Dispute Resolution Institute, Inc.
  • Penn State Office of Government and Community Relations
  • Kohl’s
United Kingdom

Post-Graduation Opportunities

  • Law school
  • Medical school
  • Graduate school to study philosophy, data science, philosophy, communication, history, international affairs, labor and employment relations, public policy, poetry, higher education administration, sociology, and political science
Business Analysis, Consulting, Finance, Human Resources, Political/Campaign Organization, Service (Teach for America)

Have questions about this program?

This program is housed in the Department of Philosophy
 at Penn State University Park.
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