Undergraduate Program

Why philosophy?

Philosophy tackles central questions in human life, such as: What counts as human knowledge? How should I live? What is truth? How is the mind related to the body? What is a just society? These difficult but fundamental questions are rigorously explored in philosophy and worked through by drawing on the historical tradition and utilizing careful reasoning. Because philosophers have shaped many of the central ideas on which Western civilization is based, the study of philosophy plays a vital role in a well-rounded liberal arts education.

Philosophy courses at Washington University provide opportunities to gain deeper knowledge of the history of philosophy, from the work of the ancient philosophers Plato and Aristotle through key thinkers such as Descartes and Kant to the present. Students can study the interface between philosophy and other disciplines (such as psychology, environmental studies, women's studies, law and political science); they also can examine the methods of inquiry and underlying conceptual frameworks of scientific work itself.

Get Involved

Philosophy Club

Open to all majors or those with interest in philosophical reading and discussion.

Faculty Advisor

Phi Sigma Tau

Phi Sigma Tau is the International Honor Society in Philosophy. Founded in 1930, the Society has a network of over 140 chapters throughout the United States and Canada. Phi Sigma Tau publishes a journal, Dialogue, containing student essays in all areas of contemporary philosophical research.

Phi Sigma Tau Details

Philosophy Prizes

Prizes open to undergraduates include the Stenner Essay Competition and Nishi Luthra Prize.

Prize Information

MAP Mentoring

WashU's Minorities in Philosophy (MAP) chapter offers mentoring for undergraduate students.

MAP Mentoring Details

Study Abroad

Our students have the opportunity to pursue a wide range of interests.

Explore Opportunities to Study Abroad

Undergraduate Honors

The Honors Thesis in Philosophy is a distinguished way to complete the B.A. degree. It also provides excellent preparation for those who plan to go on to graduate or professional schools. The completed thesis is a solid statement of your status as a trained philosopher.

Learn more about Honors
Kevin Jia

"Taking philosophy as a second major at WashU was arguably the best decision I have ever made as a student. My only regret is that my discovery of philosophy was too late for me to make it my first major."

―Kevin JiaClass of 2021

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