Bachelor of Arts

DescriptionLearning OutcomesDegree Requirements

Philosophy provides an opportunity for students to critically think about ultimate questions of life. The philosophy program emphasizes philosophical thinking and ethical applications designed to prepare graduates for a variety of careers that require thinking, decision-making, and visionary development. Students will pursue philosophical questions about themselves, others, and their living and learning environments.

We provide an intellectually stimulating community that  prepares students for living and working in the world with others. The philosophy major is an applied program that emphasizes ethics; it is a stand-alone major but it is also designed to permit students to double major in other academic areas, thus providing students with a focused degree that cultivates an ethical and active citizen in the marketplace of ideas, home, government, and business.

As a philosophy major you’ll experience:

  • An emphasis on ethical theory and applied ethics;
  • Coursework that explores ethics, philosophical discourse, great philosophers, philosophical movements, and walking philosophy into the marketplace.
  • Opportunities to enhance critical thinking, writing, speaking skills;
  • Dynamic conversations with engaged faculty
  • Opportunities to serve the PSU and local community through philosophical debate, discussion, and dialectic;
  • Prepare for any career where you work with or serve others (locally and/or globally), engage decision-making, make arguments, or design ideas and opportunities.

By graduation, students who have majored in philosophy will be able to:

  • Identify key movements, figures, and problems in the history of philosophy.
  • Analyze and evaluate classical through contemporary philosophical writing.
  • Illustrate competent writing skills in various forms of writing (expository, critical, logical, and rhetorical).
  • Demonstrate ethical and rhetorical skills in discussions and oral presentations.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of, and appreciation for, the value of philosophy in our personal lives and in our contemporary world.

Degree Requirements (120 credits)


PY 1010 Ultimate Questions (GACO) 3
PY 2310 Elements of Logic (QRCO) 3
PY 3050 Ethical Theories (GACO) 3
PY 3110 History of Ancient Philosophy (INCO) 3
PY 3112 History of Modern Philosophy (INCO) 3
PY 4770 Great Philosophers Seminar (WRCO) 3
Applied Ethics Electives – complete two of the following: 6
PY 3150 Society, Ethics, and the Law (DICO) (INCO)
PY 3310 Environmental Ethics (INCO) (WECO)
PY 3325 Medical Ethics (INCO) (WECO)
PY 3330 Business Ethics (DICO) (INCO)
PY 3345 Military Ethics (GACO)
PY 3360 Ethics and Psychology (INCO) (WECO)
PY 3370 Ethics and Communication (DICO) (INCO)
PY 3380 * Humans and Humanoids: Ethics in Technology (TECO)
PY 3390 Applied Ethics
Philosophical Traditions Elective – complete one of the following: 3
PY 3820 Existentialism (GACO)
PY 3830 Phenomenology (DICO)
PY 3840 Pragmatism (DICO)
PY 3870 Non-western Philosophy (GACO)
Technology in the Discipline Connection – complete one of the following: 3
PY 2650 Mind and Machine (TECO)
PY 3380 * Humans and Humanoids: Ethics in Technology (TECO)
PY 3610 Philosophy of Technology (INCO) (TECO)
PY 3000/4000 level Philosophy electives [not PYDI] 6
General Education:
EN 1200 Composition 3
IS 1111 The First Year Seminar: Critical Thinking and the Nature of Inquiry 3
MA Mathematics Foundations 3
CTDI Creative Thought Directions 6
PPDI Past and Present Directions 6
SIDI Scientific Inquiry Directions 6-8
SSDI Self and Society Directions 6
DICO Diversity Connection 3
WECO Wellness Connection 3
Foreign Language (GACO) 6
Electives 39-37
*PY 3380 may satisfy the Applied Ethics Elective or the Technology in the Discipline Connection, but not both.
The foreign language requirement for all BA degrees calls for 0-6 credits: one year of one language (6 credits); or one 3000/4000 level world language course (3 credits); or being a native speaker of a language other than English (zero credit). American Sign Language I and II fulfill this requirement; however, American Sign Language does not satisfy the Global Awareness Connection.

*All course information is from the 2016-2017 Catalog.