Big Questions, Bigger Goals

Philosophy is the art of thinking, and philosophical reflection encourages us to always seek the truth. As a Philosophy major at Duquesne University, you are encouraged to 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 this God like? How should we organize our society? Why are there inequalities, and is justice only the law of the stronger? Are the mind and body one thing, two things, or many? 

Duquesne's Philosophy department is an academically rigorous, critical, intellectually diverse community internationally recognized and committed to teaching and research. Our program pushes you to engage in logical analysis, conceptual interpretation, and critiques arguments. As a student in our Philosophy program, you will engage deeply in the history of philosophy to develop a competency to powerfully engage diverse intellectual positions on all issues pertaining to the human existence. The Philosophy faculty walk alongside you as you develop 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. 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.

Learning Outcomes of a Philosophy Degree

  • Argumentative skill: Philosophy majors and minors will be able to formulate and defend complex arguments and concepts about crucial issues concerning the world, articulating clear and valid arguments while engaging in constructive and responsive discourse with peers.
  • Interpretive skill: Philosophy majors and minors will critically engage with influential and vibrant concepts, arguments, and approaches drawn from primary texts in the history of philosophy and its contemporary deployment. They will be able to proficiently explain, analyze, interpret, and critique classical philosophical texts and complex conceptual positions. They will be able to distinguish the constituent elements of claims and critically evaluate their coherence.
  • Historical awareness & contemporary engagement: Philosophy majors and minors 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.
  • Ethical Analysis: Philosophy majors and minors 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.
  • Reflective awareness: Philosophy majors and minors will be able to critically and rigorously question their own presuppositions and beliefs, identify areas of agreement and points of divergence with the positions of others, and cultivate openness to revising their views in transformative ways.


Program Type

Major, Minor





Required Credit Hours


Program Requirements

The Philosophy major and minor are structured to maximize your freedom to choose your own path through our curriculum, with the topics of our upper-level courses constantly changing. We also offer intensive, individualized faculty mentorship to help you create the major structure that best suits your interests, needs, and goals.

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

Philosophy minors must complete 15 credits in philosophy:

  • at least 3 credits (1 course) at the 200-level
  • at least 3 credits (1 course) at the 300-level
  • at least 9 credits (3 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.

Internship Opportunities in Philosophy

Our Internships provide an avenue for students to contact potential employers, learn skills while training on-the-job, and bolster resume or cover letter for future endeavors, all while doing something worthwhile. Students receive 1-3 credits for completion of their internship.

Current Internship Opportunites Include:

  • ACH Clear Pathways, Visual and Performative Arts for the Disadvantaged
  • ARYSE, Work with grade school refugees in after school settings
  • The Asservo Project, Combatting Global Child Trafficking.
  • Boys and Girls Club of Western PA, Afterschool program help
  • Casa San Jose, Working with Hispanic grade school students
  • Catholic Charities of the Pittsburgh Diocese
  • Emmaus Community, Residential Care for Handicapped Adults
  • The Federal Bankruptcy Court, Assistant to the Director
  • Grant Street Group, Work with Pittsburgh based software company
  • Gumberg Library, Duquesne University
  • Marion Manor Personal Care Home, Assistance with recreational activities
  • National Institute for Newman Studies, As assistant to the Newman journal editor
  • Nazareth College Prep, Teaching Theology
  • Serbian National Federation, Assistant to the Outreach Director
  • SPECIES, Environmental Communication
  • St. Isidore College (Rome - study abroad opportunity), Medieval Franciscan Archive Assistant
  • Penn Environment, Environmental Advocacy
  • US State Department (DC), Work in official offices
  • Warhol Museum, Assistant