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Philosophy, B.A.

As a philosophy major, you will learn to think carefully about life's big questions: What is truth? Is there a God? What is the nature of morality? What is a just society? You will apply your answers to these questions to pressing contemporary issues in ethics and public policy, including ethical business practices, justice for women and minority groups, and medical ethics.

In Whitworth's philosophy major, you will explore connections between faith and reason, and between faith and the life well-lived. Along the way, you will gain transferrable skills in logical reasoning, problem-solving and expressive writing, and you will grow in intellectual virtues such as curiosity, humility and open-mindedness.

Why major in philosophy at Whitworth?

  • Engage with your professors in class, during their office hours, at Mind & Hearth coffee shop, or by simply walking and talking in The Loop on campus. Our professors love spending time with their students.
  • Make connections between philosophy and your faith or worldview. Many courses explore the intersection of religious belief and philosophical investigation; other courses, such as Metaphysics and Epistemology, explore questions including the possibility of life after death and the rationality of religious belief.
  • Examine your basic assumptions – a crucial skill in developing intercultural competency – in courses that expose you to a diversity of worldviews. These courses investigate the beliefs, ethics and political ideals of groups that often differ sharply with "standard" Western thinking.
  • Become a citizen of the world. As a Whitworth philosophy major, you will acquire skills to think critically about global and humanitarian issues. Social responsibility is becoming increasingly important to businesses worldwide, and you will be prepared to identify solutions and create real change.
  • Develop skills in logical reasoning, problem-solving and clear communication. Companies in the business and technology sectors are increasingly seeking graduates with liberal arts majors such as philosophy.
  • We keep our philosophy major lean so you can easily double major in philosophy and another discipline and enter the job market with both philosophy's transferrable skills and the applied skills of a particular career field.
  • Or, major only in philosophy. A recent survey in The Wall Street Journal shows that a philosophy major's lifetime earnings outpace the earnings of accounting, nursing and business management majors, among others.
  • Become who you're meant to be.

Our philosophy grads make a difference (and get jobs)

While some of our philosophy majors go on to earn a Ph.D. in philosophy and work in academia, most of our graduates pursue other career options. Many earn law degrees (at schools including Stanford, Harvard and Vanderbilt). Some of our graduates engage in nonprofit or humanitarian work, and others work in business. Our grads even earn postgraduate degrees in the natural sciences and computer science and work in medical or technology fields.

The top traits employers value are teamwork, clear writing, problem-solving aptitude and strong oral communication – the hallmarks of Whitworth’s philosophy major. Want a good job? Major in philosophy.

Recent job placements include:

  • Krista Ranno, sponsorship director, Lahash Grassroots Partnership with Africa, Portland, Ore.
  • Sarah Streyder, outreach coordinator, Stand for Schools program, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • Jacob Schmidt, coordinator, Save our Wild Salmon Coalition, Spokane
  • TJ Westre, associate consultant, The Spur Group, Redmond, Wash.

Our recent philosophy grads further their studies at institutions including:

  • Harvard University Law School
  • University of Cambridge (M.A. in philosophy – public policy)
  • Duke University (Ph.D. in philosophy and neuroscience)
  • Vanderbilt University Law School
  • University of Colorado, Boulder (Ph.D. in philosophy)
  • Stanford University Law School
  • Arizona State University (Computer Science, M.S., focusing on computer ethics)
  • University of Montana (M.A. in environmental philosophy and ethics)

Opportunities outside the classroom

Our interdisciplinary Ethics Bowl team competes against other colleges and universities in the Northwest for a shot at the national championship bowl. Students conduct research on complex ethical cases, and the team, coached by Whitworth faculty members, works together to develop skills in critical and analytical thinking, clear reasoning and public speaking.

The philosophy department hosts an annual two-day retreat where our majors and faculty members discuss their work and their lives – past, present and future.

Pack your bags!

Study abroad during Jan Term with Core 250 in Europe. In this faculty-led program, you will visit key historic sites associated with Western thinkers as part of Whitworth's philosophy-based worldview course. 

Ask our faculty

Ask Joshue

Associate professor Joshue Orozco's areas of specialization include epistemology, philosophy of religion and ethics.

Ask Nathan

Associate professor Nathan King's areas of specialization include epistemology, ethical theory, philosophy of science and philosophy of mind.

Keith Wyma

Ask Keith

Professor Keith Wyma specializes in areas including ethical theory, applied ethics, social/political philosophy, and philosophy of action.

What related majors can I explore?