Philosophical reflection encourages you to seek the truth, no matter what your investments in a situation. As a philosophy major at Duquesne University, you will ask big questions about yourself, your surroundings and the larger world—questions like “What is thinking, and what are its limits?” “Is language a social intervention, an innate ability or an imitation of nature?” “Is there a God, and what is God like?” “How should we organize our society?” “Why are there inequalities, and is justice only the law of the stronger?” “Are mind and body one thing, two things or many?” “Are standards of beauty objective, or do they depend on the observer?”

As a student in our philosophy program, you will cultivate the art of thinking and engage deeply in the history of philosophy so as to develop a competency powerfully to engage diverse intellectual positions on all issues pertaining to human existence. The philosophy faculty walk alongside you as you develop a broad understanding of diverse philosophical positions to aid in your future success, regardless of path or industry.

What can you do with a philosophy degree?

Philosophy majors distinguish themselves as leaders in academia, medicine, politics, journalism, public relations, finance, public interest research, ministry, law, business and education. Paired with Duquesne’s broad liberal arts approach, a philosophy degree provides you with a valuable skillset of problem-solving, careful thinking, analytical clarity, critical precision, clear presentation of complex ideas and innovative thinking that can be applied to any career path.

Duquesne’s philosophy department is unique in that they have one of the largest phenomenology centers in the US. The faculty nurture individual thought through primary literature and recommend that students publish and their papers at academic conferences. The level of individual mentorship is nearly impossible to find elsewhere and has added immense value to my academic career.

Jason Minicozzi


Program Information

Our Philosophy program helps you to develop logical analysis, conceptual interpretation, and critical argumentation skills. Dive deep into the history of philosophy to engage diverse intellectual positions on human existence.

Program Type

Major, Minor



Academic Department




Required Credit Hours


Program Requirements

The philosophy major and minor are structured to maximize your freedom to choose your own path through our curriculum.

The philosophy program is flexible in that you have the space to choose courses that you find particularly interesting. In the major, you are required to select 18 philosophy credits at any level. Some course offerings include:
  • PHIL 170 Who I Am
  • PHIL 180 Democracy & Justice
  • PHIL 203 Philosophy of Religion
  • PHIL 207 Philosophy of Animals
  • PHIL 209 African Philosophy
  • PHIL 220 Philosophy of Death & Living
  • PHIL 231 History of Political Philosophy
  • PHIL 236 Environmental Philosophy
  • PHIL 260W Philosophy of Law
  • PHIL 305W Contemporary Philosophy
  • PHIL 318 Philosophy of the Human Person
  • PHIL 402W Zen Philosophy

Select 9 philosophy credits at the 300-level. Some course offerings include:
  • PHIL 301 Medieval Philosophy
  • PHIL 302W Early Modern Philosophy
  • PHIL 305 Contemporary Philosophy
  • PHIL 308 Existentialism
  • PHIL 315 Thomas Aquinas
  • PHIL 318 Philosophy of the Human Person
  • PHIL 322W Philosophical Roots of Psychology
  • PHIL 324 Epistemology
  • PHIL 327 Philosophy of Crime & Punishment

Select 3 credits at the 400-level or above. Some course offerings include:
  • PHIL 401W Plato's Early Dialogues
  • PHIL 402W Zen Philosophy
  • PHIL 407W Aristotle: Metaphysics
  • PHIL 415W Plotinus
  • PHIL 444 Nietzsche
  • PHIL 476 Husserl
View Catalog

Philosophy minors must complete 15 credits in philosophy:

  • at least 3 credits (one course) at the 200 level
  • at least 3 credits (one course) at the 300 level
  • at least 9 credits (three courses) as electives at any level.
Please refer to the list of courses in the major requirements section, but know that those courses are not the full extent! Philosophy courses are constantly being added to the catalog for maximum student benefit.
Female student sitting in a coffee shop reading a book.

"Philosophy unlocked several previously unknown doors for me. Studying philosophy offers you a new way of thinking, helps you comprehend the metaphysical world and its people (including yourself) and perhaps most importantly presents you hope for any possibilities and outcomes."

—Lisette Bakhodirova

Where Our Students Have Held Internships

  • ACH Clear Pathways
  • The Asservo Project
  • Boys & Girls Club of Western PA
  • Casa San Jose
  • Catholic Charities of the Pittsburgh Diocese
  • Emmaus Community
  • Federal Bankruptcy Court
  • Gumberg Library, Duquesne University
  • Holy Family Institute
  • Marion Manor Personal Care Home
  • National Institute for Newman Studies
  • Nazareth College Prep
  • Run the Show (Inner City Basketball Youth League)
  • Serbian National Federation
  • St. Isidore College (Rome study-abroad opportunity), Medieval Franciscan Archive
  • Penn Environment
  • U.S. Department of State
  • Warhol Museum

Learning Outcomes of a Philosophy Degree

You will be able to formulate and defend complex concepts about crucial issues concerning the world, articulating clear arguments while engaging in constructive and responsive discourse with peers. You will be able to distinguish clearly the constituent elements of claims and to evaluate their coherence critically.
You will critically engage with influential and vibrant concepts, arguments and approaches drawn from primary texts in the history of philosophy and its contemporary deployment. You will be able proficiently to explain, analyze, interpret and critique classical philosophical texts and complex conceptual positions.
You will demonstrate proficiency in reading, interpreting, critically rearticulating and putting to work classic texts and ideas drawn from ancient, medieval and modern philosophy, while also addressing questions and problems from the perspective of contemporary practitioners that engage the world in which we live.
You will demonstrate both broad and deep understanding of a comprehensive set of theoretical approaches to ethical analysis as well as develop the skills to apply the forms of judgment they demand to concrete situations.
You will be able to critically and rigorously question your own presuppositions and beliefs, identify areas of agreement and points of divergence with the positions of others and cultivate openness to revising your views in transformative ways.


Dr. James Swindal

Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies

Department of Philosophy