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Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy

SIU Morris Library in the snow
What does it mean to follow the science? You can’t begin to answer that question without using fundamental philosophy.

In your Philosophy courses, you’ll read widely. You’ll be asked to come to class having considered your reading, and be prepared to talk about it — to listen to what others have concluded, to offer your own analysis, and to explain why you think as you do. This isn’t combative. This is how we arrive at the truth, this is how we improve our own thought structure and learn to understand others. You will also write about ideas, explaining your conclusions in a coherent, logical way, even when the subject is abstract and there is more than one “right” answer.

It's the nature of the Philosophy major to build strong community, and you’ll find that here. Our student-teacher ratio means you’ll take classes with and learn directly from top faculty. Your ideas will be taken seriously and you’ll have the opportunity to express yourself — this isn’t a “fill in the correct bubble” kind of major. You’ll be a valued individual, and you’ll belong to a community of seekers and thinkers.

Degree Requirements

The Philosophy Degree is accomplished by fulfilling the requirements for the Bachelor of Art degree.

  • Total Degree Requirements: 120 credit hours
  • University Core Curriculum: 39 credit hours
  • College of Liberal Arts Requirements: 14 credit hours
  • Major Requirements: 33 credit hours
  • Electives: 34 credit hours

Compass IconCheck out the undergraduate Curricular Guides: Philosophy and Philosophy: Pre-Law, which helps you outline what courses you would want to take each semester for all four years. View all related undergraduate courses.

SIU Philosophy Pre-law students watch Law students in moot court


Make sure you fill out and submit the General Scholarship Application as soon as you are admitted to SIU. If you are eligible for a top scholarship, such as the Chancellor’s Scholarship for new freshmen or the Provost’s Scholarship for transfer students, be aware of the requirements and earlier deadlines. There are scholarships specifically for Philosophy majors, declaring your major helps you become eligible for those.

Pre-Law Specialization

Philosophy is a popular choice for anyone considering law school. Our pre-law specialization gets you ready to read, make sense of, and express intelligent opinions on complex texts. You’ll learn to formulate reasonable theories and to express them in a persuasive manner. And we’ll help you prepare for the LSAT – the admissions test for law school.

The Pre-Law Specialization is accomplished by fulfilling the requirements for the Bachelor of Art degree.


A Philosophy minor adds value to majors in every area of the university. With this minor, you’ll begin with introductory courses in Philosophy, at least one course in History of Philosophy, and you’ll take at least two courses at the 300 and 400 (junior and senior) level.

Study abroad

Some of the most popular study abroad programs at SIU feature Philosophy, our Global Seminars in Ancient Legacies. Visit Egypt or Greece and participate in recreations of mummification ceremonies, ancient debates or an Olympic footrace in an ancient stadium. Or study in Ghana, learning about culture and politics, and some of the debates surrounding health care and the ethics of tourism. We encourage you to expand your horizons with study abroad. Talk with your professor to gain insight into your best options. Financial aid is often applicable.

Student Organizations

Be part of something, join the Philosophy Club. We meet regularly throughout the fall and spring semesters to discuss philosophical issues, things like animal rights, environmentalism, free will, artificial intelligence. We watch and discuss films. And we engage in that most philosophical of all recreational activities, bowling.


Speculate, reflect and consider. Read and discuss. Defend and communicate. These are skills that have intrinsic value. They also have practical applications for many career paths. The ability to incorporate new concepts and to think both creatively and logically will help you excel in any career you choose.

Here are some career paths for Philosophy majors: Business, Marketing, Corporate policy • Education • Journalism • Law • Medicine • Publishing • Technical writing

Contact Information

For more information or for advisement questions, contact:

Andrew Youpa,
Program Director

Faner Hall 3333
1000 Faner Dr.
Carbondale, IL 62901
Phone: 618-453-3161

Thomas Price,
Academic Advisor

Faner Hall 1229
1000 Faner Dr.
Carbondale, IL 62901