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

Careers in Philosophy

Our graduates go on to find career and graduate school success in diverse fields, pursuing a wide range of interests.

Explore Philosophy Careers and Outcomes

Study Abroad

The goal of international study through the Arts & Sciences is to encourage students to acquire the broad cultural knowledge, languages, and practical skills to enable them to participate fully in a global society. Philosophy majors are encouraged to continue studying philosophy if they choose to study abroad.

Study Abroad Details

Like many students at Wash U I was once pre-med, but after three semesters semi-consciously wishing I were a philosophy major I switched and never looked back. I’ve had the privilege to engage directly and profitably with a wide array of interests and personalities (all of them excellent) among both faculty and students in the department. My experience in the department has only strengthened my desire to work in the field, and I can say with confidence that switching my major to philosophy was the best and most important decision I have made as a student.

―Patrick ChandlerClass of 2019

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