Philosophy offers the opportunity to pursue studies in both traditional and contemporary areas of philosophical inquiry.  There are faculty working in the history of philosophy from antiquity to the present, and in most areas of contemporary Anglo-American and Continental European philosophy.  Employers value articulateness, clarity of expression, logical rigor and analytical skills, which our courses provide ample opportunity to sharpen.  Possible careers include analyst, lawyer, sales professional, manager, professor and editor.

The Educational Testing Service Reports that in the most recently studied three-year period, students intent on philosophy had the highest mean scores on the verbal and analytical writing sections of the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) of all the 51 areas of study listed.

Points of Pride

  • Philosophy applicants to medical school have a high acceptance rate.  
    USA Today has reported that of those who have gone on to law school, philosophy majors have performed better than students in any other major, which suggests that philosophy may be an ideal background for those intending to attend law school. 
  • A study of three years of test results done at the University of Dayton has shown that philosophy students do quite well on the Graduate Record Examination. Overall, those intent on philosophy ranked eighth out of 98 fields; they ranked second in the verbal skills portion of the examination.
  • Purdue University philosophy faculty have won highly prestigious teaching awards in the University and one of them was a finalist for the national Professor of the Year award. 
  • Faculty members have held research fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the National Humanities Center.
  • The Purdue University Philosophy Colloquium Series brings guests to campus to present papers.


Pursuing graduate studies and becoming a professional philosopher is one career path students choose. Many other philosophy majors find careers in medicine, law, publishing, marketing, computer science, etc. Philosophy is quite suitable as a major for pre-professional students, and it may well be an ideal major for those who plan to enter law school. Virtually every employer values articulateness, clarity of expression, logical rigor, and analytical skills - skills the student has ample opportunity to sharpen in philosophy courses.

Plan of Study

Philosophy Majors must have a GPA of 2.0 or higher in courses they use to fulfill major requirements.

A. (3)

PHIL 15000 Principles of Logic

B. Select TWO of the following History of Philosophy courses - at least on course from 30100 or 30300 (6)

PHIL 30100 History of Ancient Philosophy (Western Heritage)
PHIL 30200 History of Medieval Philosophy (Western Heritage)
PHIL 30300 History of Modern Philosophy (Western Heritage)
PHIL 30400 Nineteenth-Century Philosophy
PHIL 30600 Twentieth-Century Philosophy

C. Select ONE of the following courses in value theory (3)

PHIL 24000 Social Philosophy
PHIL 41100 Modern Ethical Theory
PHIL 42400 Recent Ethical Theory

D. Select at least FIFTEEN HOURS in additional courses in Philosophy (15)

E. Of the courses used to satisfy requirements C and D, at least NINE of these HOURS MUST be at the 40000 or 5000 level.

Program Course Requirements (57-58 credits): (See PDF for full list here)

ONE of the following:

ENGL 10600 First Year Composition
ENGL 10800 Accelerated First Year Composition

COM 1140 Fundamentals of Speech Communication
Other Language (12) (Proficiency through level IV in one language)
West Heritage
United States Tradition
Other Cultures
Aesthetic Awareness
Racial and Ethnic Diversity
Gender Issues
Social Ethics
Individual and Society
Global Perspective
Natural Sciences
Natural Sciences Lab

Electives (20-21 credits)

University Core Requirements

Courses selected above must meet the following University Core Requirements:

Human Cultures Humanities
Human Cultures Behavioral/Social Science
Information Literacy
Science Selective
Science Selective
Science Technology Society Selective
Written Communication
Oral Communication
Quantitative Reasoning

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Print Plan of Study

Department of Philosophy

Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907 (765) 494-4600

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