Bachelor of Arts

Professor lecturing in front of whiteboard

Philosophers ask the big questions.

They question the nature of right and wrong, how to live a good life, what gives life meaning, what we can know, what really exists, the nature of thought and mind and other foundations of our lives, world and existence.

While abstract, such questions are fundamental to understanding of the human condition and crucial to addressing many concrete challenges facing society today — whether they involve long-standing movements to promote social and global justice and environmental conservation or emerging challenges involving public health, artificial intelligence and machine learning, or viral misinformation.

Why Study Philosophy?

Studying philosophy is about more than equipping yourself with the knowledge and skills to address these challenges. It's also fun and exciting. Curiosity about life's big mysteries is often what draws students to study and major in philosophy. When you dive in and begin to think about these questions more deeply, you become part of a conversation that extends across the centuries and around the globe. Perhaps the best reason to study philosophy is simply because you love it! "Philosophy," after all, just means "love of wisdom."

Skills Employers Seek

The fact that philosophy can help you lead a more meaningful — more closely "examined" — life doesn't mean that philosophy majors have no job prospects. On the contrary, in a rapidly-changing world, employers are increasingly seeking employees who know how to ask the right questions, who can reason well, analyze complex problems, write and communicate clearly and think carefully about values and societal impacts. To major in philosophy is to "major in thinking" and being able to think well is one of the most important and most flexible skills one can acquire in college. Recent philosophy graduates have launched careers in medicine, law, art, risk management, information analysis, teaching and research.

More on the practical value of a philosophy major

Preparation for Graduate and Professional School

Majoring in philosophy can also serve as excellent preparation for further study — not only in philosophy, but also in law, business, medicine, public health, education and many other fields. Philosophy offers practical, in-depth training in critical thinking, communication and problem-solving — skills that are foundational to further study in these fields.

More on philosophy as preparation for graduate school

Legal Studies Minor

Make It Your Own

The philosophy major is structured to allow students to take very different paths through our curriculum. Some students want to explore many different areas of philosophy; others find themselves fascinated by a connected series of issues. One student, for example, might focus on courses in ethics, society, race and gender and law, while another digs into courses on science, the mind, the nature of space and time and bioethics. The diverse expertise of our faculty and flexible course requirements allow students to pursue what makes them curious. That includes the option of pursuing another major alongside the philosophy major.

Major requirements


Find your path to philosophy at Bucknell

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