Learn how to think with a Philosophy major.
You’ll dive into classic and contemporary philosophical texts to understand the history of ideas. Learn how to analyze issues thoughtfully, form rational arguments and challenge assumptions — including your own.
Studying Philosophy will teach you to think creatively and solve problems. You’ll graduate prepared for a career in law, politics, academia, publishing, teaching, business, management — and the list goes on. As a Philosophy major, you’ll be able to lead thoughtfully, make meaningful choices and make the world a better place.
What do our graduates do?
Philosophy majors go on to a variety of careers and graduate schools from St. Edward’s. Here’s a sample.
- English Teaching Assistant in the Fulbright U.S. Student Program
- Content strategist at AirBnB
- Team manager at Apple
- University professors at Furman University and the University of California
- District attorneys and attorneys in private practice
- Reporter for the Fayette County Record
- Graduate students at institutions including American University, Boston College, University of Edinburgh, Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, Purdue University and Stanford University
For more information on the Philosophy major, please contact Jack Musselman, associate professor of Philosophy. The Philosophy major is part of the Department of Philosophy.
Explore your options — classes, internships, research and study abroad. Use the Philosophy Major Guide to find what interests you, discover what you love, and create a major experience that jumpstarts your future.
Conversations with Philosophy
Professors at St. Edward’s are treasures troves of knowledge. Their insights reach far beyond their classroom teaching. Jack Musselman, associate professor of Philosophy, shares advice from his teaching on how to have a hard conversation.
The Classroom and Beyond
Philosophy majors are an eclectic bunch who are active in a wide range of projects. You’ll have the chance to conduct and present research, write for student publications, get involved in spiritual and service activities, and attend thought-provoking lectures by visiting experts.
The Philosophy Club meets weekly to discuss a brief reading, movie or podcast that’s relevant to a theme the members have chosen for the semester, such as feminist philosophy. As a member, you’ll discuss ideas and debate with fellow students who are interested in philosophy and history.
The Food and Philosophy lecture series features well-known speakers from around the country who address current topics over lunch. Topics have included the following:
- Genetically Engineering Our Children
- Conscientious Refusal to Participate in Evil
- Real Judging, Fake Judging and the Myth of Judicial Activism
Hilltop Views, the weekly student newspaper, is published both in print and online. Student journalists report news from the campus and greater Austin community. You can get involved as early as your freshman year as a writer, editor, photographer or designer.
Sorin Oak Review is a literary magazine that showcases the poetry, prose and artwork of St. Edward’s students. Working on the editorial staff is a great way to gain experience in project management and the practical details of putting together a publication.
Arete is a student-produced academic journal that publishes student-written research, nonfiction essays and commentary. Editors choose from among the dozens of submissions to create a cohesive journal that represents a variety of perspectives.
New Literati is a student-produced journal of both academic and creative work.
B. Hooved is the student humor journal, inspired by our Hilltopper goat mascot.
Phi Alpha Delta, the pre-law organization, meets weekly to listen to guest speakers, learn about the law school admission process, participate in mentorship programs, do service work and learn about internships. The club also has a mock trial team that competes in events hosted by the American Mock Trial Association and Phi Alpha Delta. The team has traveled to Washington, D.C., to compete.
Campus Ministry at St. Edward’s offers programs that enhance your spiritual life, including small-group Bible studies, retreats, interfaith events and programs that support social justice advocacy. The department also coordinates both one-day and semester-long service projects in Austin, as well as Service Break Experiences in other states or countries. Through SBEs, you’ll travel to another community, volunteer and learn about local life while living simply (without your phone, for example).
Major Requirements: The Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy requires 42 hours of Philosophy major courses comprised of a combination of history of philosophy, ethics, and logic courses, as well as History of Christian Theology I or II. In addition, students are encouraged to take other support courses such as Art History, Political Theory, Literary Criticism, etc. in order to narrow their focus to the career of their choosing.
General Education Requirements: The Philosophy degree requires 57 hours of general education courses that students complete over four years in addition to their major courses and electives.
View and download the full degree plan for our Philosophy major (PDF).
A few examples of courses students in this major take:
- History of Philosophy I – This course covers a period of almost a thousand years, beginning with the Greeks circa 600 B.C. and continuing through the transition from the classical to the medieval period.
- Philosophy of Religion – This course explores the complex relations between religion and culture.
- Advanced Logic – This course offers more-advanced consideration of sequential logic, first-order predicate logic and modal logic (logic of possibility and necessity). (Pre-req: PHIL 2303)
Philosophy majors have interned at the following organizations:
- Equal Justice Center
- Mongazon école supérieure in Angers, France (as a summer-camp counselor for French children working to improve their English skills)
Our Faculty and Student Support Services
Philosophy faculty members are active in their fields and bring their expertise to the classroom.
Mark J. Cherry, Dr. Patricia A. Hayes Professor in Applied Ethics, Professor of Philosophy, and Department Chair
Why Study Philosophy?
Study philosophy to learn how to live, to get a top LSAT and GRE score, and a great job.
The importance of philosophy today: Don’t Dismiss the Humanities, by Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times
John Cleese: Why Philosophy is Nothing to Laugh About
Philosophy's role in shaping leaders: How Philosophy Makes You a Better Leader, by David Brendel, The Harvard Business Review
How philosophy helps in business: The Unexpected Way Philosophy Majors Are Changing the World of Business, by Carolyn Gregoire, The Huffington Post
And don't just take it from professors on campus. Philosophy is a Great Major spells out all the reasons to become a lover of wisdom.
Even the editorial page of Forbes magazine thinks majoring in philosophy is well worth it.
And here is a poster of famous philosophers to hang on your wall--unless you'd rather just read a long list of famous philosophy majors.
Skeptical about all these claims? Excellent! You're ready to be a philosophy major! And don't trust us just because we said all this. Ask St. Edward's English professor (and lawyer) Drew Loewe, French professor (and Department Chair) Philippe Seminet, University Studies professor Cory Lock, and Associate Vice President of Admission Tracy Manier if their B.A. degrees in philosophy prepared them for life and work. They're bound to tell you it really helped them prepare for careers and more. And don't hesitate to contact the faculty in the department for more information!
Students who wish to earn a Philosophy Minor must take the following coursework, totaling 18 hours.
- Ethical Analysis
- History of Philosophy I, II or III
- Philosophy of Religion or Theory of Knowing
- Directed Readings or Senior Seminar
Students may choose any upper division Philosophy elective to complete their minor.
For more information about applicable coursework, please consult the undergraduate bulletin.