More Information on Philosophy

Student Learning Objectives Philosophy

Bachelor of Arts

The undergraduate program in philosophy helps students become accomplished critical thinkers and writers who are knowledgeable about the main areas of Western philosophy. Students learn to analyze both familiar and abstract concepts, to produce well-constructed arguments, to criticize the arguments of others fairly, and to express their ideas clearly in writing. They come to comprehend some of the most important philosophical problems, both as they have been addressed by great thinkers of the past and as they are examined today.

Learning objectives:

  • Students understand and recognize the significance of the history of philosophy.
  • Students understand the scope of philosophy and encounter material from its several areas.
  • Students are able to read philosophical texts critically.
  • Students are able to write clearly about philosophical topics.

Master of Arts

The M.A. program in philosophy allows students to gain greater mastery both of philosophy as a field and of specific topics in philosophy. They develop greater skills both as critical thinkers and as writers.

Learning objectives:

  • Students show knowledge of the  the scope of philosophy, including the history of Western philosophy, main areas of contemporary philosophy, and formal logic.
  • Students show expertise in a focused area of philosophy, and acquire the skill of producing advanced written work within philosophy.


The Ph.D. program in philosophy trains students to become professional philosophers, both as teachers and as researchers. Students acquire a strong background in the history of Western philosophy as well as in contemporary, issue-driven, topical philosophy.

Learning objectives:

  • Students acquire and demonstrate a strong background in the history of Western philosophy as well as in contemporary, issue-driven, topical philosophy and show they have developed the tools and capabilities to do research in their areas.
  • Students acquire and demonstrate the skill of engaging in specific investigation and research in philosophy.  They demonstrate knowledge of recent philosophical literature in their area, and expertise with the the tools and capabilities to do original research in their areas.
  • Students demonstrate professional-level skill in producing research by producing a substantial piece of original research (i.e., dissertation).