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Bachelor of Arts

Philosophy, the search for wisdom, is perfect for anyone who loves the life of the mind as much as professional excellence. As a philosophy major, you’ll develop knowledge across multiple disciplines. The major branches of philosophy are logic, epistemology (study of knowledge), metaphysics (study of the nature of reality), ethics (study of morality), aesthetics (study of art), philosophy of religion and political philosophy. Philosophy is more than a career. It deepens your knowledge across multiple disciplines to that assure your success across the span of your personal, professional and civic lives.

Why Philosophy?

Philosophy makes a great second major or a minor to complement your studies in other areas. English, pre-law, intelligence studies, political science and religious studies students at Mercyhurst have all benefitted from a double major in philosophy. Our department will help you graduate with strong critical thinking, persuasive argumentation and problem-solving skills.

Seniors can do original research, go to conferences, publish, intern with a private or public organization or intern with Mercyhurst’s own Evelyn Lincoln Institute for Ethics and Society. The institute is where leaders and learners gather to engage in an exchange of ideas pertaining to ethical inquiry that moves toward a just and participatory society. The university also brings in award-winning speakers through the Charlene M. Tanner Speaker Series, devoted to promoting social justice, peace and the environment.

The Philosophy Department plays a crucial role in the fulfillment of the University's mission, offering a major and a minor and contributing several courses to the University's Core Curriculum. In both endeavors, the Philosophy Department's goal is to educate and train the next generation of individuals to achieve personal, professional, and civic success by cultivating the intellectual skills and abilities of effective communication, critical thinking, creative thinking, logical reasoning, and ethical reasoning. The philosophy major is designed to prepare students for professional and graduate study in philosophy or some allied field, such as law or political science.

Learning Outcomes

  • A student-centered approach to learning and inquiry. The Department works closely with students to help tailor their education to meet their interests and goals. In addition to completing the major core curriculum, all majors are required to take 7 electives, at least one of which is expected to be an independent study.
  • Historical breadth & conceptual depth. This focuses on knowledge of the history of philosophy and the core philosophical concepts and principles that constitute the foundation of all philosophical and scientific criticism and discovery.
  • Experiential learning. Students regularly work as research assistants for faculty engaged in scholarship in philosophy or some allied field.
  • Original research. Students choose and work closely with a thesis advisor on an independent research project and a thesis defense that are the culmination of their studies.