Loyola University Chicago

Department of Philosophy

BA in Philosophy

BA in Philosophy

The philosophy major at Loyola is extremely customizable and easily suited to your goals. Of the 11 courses required for the major, only 3 are fixed: PHIL 274 (Logic), 304 (Ancient Philosophy), and 309 (Early Modern Philosophy). Beyond that, you have flexibility to chart your own course. You can also choose to specialize in one of four areas: Ethics & Values (E&V); Law, Society, & Social Justice (LSSJ); Mind & Science (M&S); or Existence, Meaning, & Culture (EMC). (See Philosophy Major Specializations for more details.)

Feel free to reach out to our Undergraduate Program Director with any questions.

Philosophy BA Facts

 Generally speaking, philosophy majors have the highest starting salary of all Humanities majors, and their salaries increase more than any other Humanities major by mid-career. For example, philosophy majors have higher mid-career salaries than those who major in Accounting, Communication, Political Science, Biology, Nursing, Journalism, Psychology, or Advertising. (Relevant data here.)

 If you would like to pursue a graduate degree (for example, JD, MBA, or PhD), you will have to apply to graduate programs. Most graduate programs will require you to take a standardized exam (GRE, LSAT, or GMAT) and report your score to them in your application.

Philosophy majors do remarkably well on these exams. They have incredibly high composite GRE, LSAT, and GMAT scores compared to all other majors. (Relevant data here.)

What can I do with a BA in philosophy?

Majoring in philosophy helps students prepare for future careers by teaching them valuable intellectual skills, including how to:

  • Think rigorously
  • Express ideas clearly and logically
  • Understand and evaluate conflicting points of view
  • Reason in a careful way

Philosophy raises fundamental questions about ourselves and the world, which result in a sharpened perception of the value of our lives and an increased ability of analysis. Such critical ability enables students to better understand the world around them; to evaluate the values and social forms by which we live; to ask which values should have priority and why; to make judgments about how various social structures realize, or fail to realize, these values.

In addition to offering extensive courses on philosophical thought, the Philosophy Department supports the career interests of its students, offering courses in, for example, logic, medical ethics, business ethics, philosophy of law, various courses in social philosophy, philosophy of science, and philosophy of religion.

Career opportunities for philosophy majors include academics, law, business, public administration, journalism, health care and more. Some students become teachers of philosophy; others recognize it as excellent preparation for law school. Philosophy provides a valuable foundation for careers in communication, public administration and policy making by teaching the student how to identify and examine the underlying questions of values and methodology implied in every practical decision. The American Philosophical Association has on its website an informative statement on the usefulness of philosophy in various careers.

What about philosophy as a second major?

This can be a great idea. Your first major likely raises questions about values or methodology that philosophy can explore; philosophy can deepen and broaden your training in your first major. It can also enhance your intellectual skills—to question, to think seriously, and to speak clearly. Also, because of the CORE structure at LUC, you have likely already taken a number of courses that will count towards your philosophy major. So, a second major in philosophy can better prepare you for a profession in your first field or for graduate school, without overly burdening your academic schedule.

In fact, we are convinced that, for many students, philosophy is the best second major!

Requirements for the BA in Philosophy

Note that Philosophy majors are exempt from the general LUC PHIL 130 CORE requirement.

(Optional) Philosophy Major Specializations

Specializing within the major is not required. Declaring a general philosophy major is common and allows for the greatest flexibility in your course selection.

That said, choosing to pursue a philosophy specialization can help you to identify what fields within philosophy you find most fascinating and relevant, and plan a course of study within your major that emphasizes your interests.

Again, the four areas of specialization within the philosophy major are: Ethics & Values (E&V); Law, Society, & Social Justice (LSSJ); Mind & Science (M&S); and Existence, Meaning, & Culture (EMC). For more information, see Philosophy Major Specializations.

Departmental Honors

To graduate with honors in philosophy, a student must:

  • Satisfy all philosophy major requirements
  • Have a GPA of 3.5 or higher in philosophy
  • Take one additional 300-level course in philosophy as approved by the Honors Advisor
  • Complete an honors philosophy thesis paper and pass an oral defense of it

For a complete description of the requirements and procedures, go to the Honors in Philosophy page.

Academic Advising

Students pursuing the BA in Philosophy degree are encouraged to plan their selection of courses with the Philosophy Undergraduate Director, or with their designated advisor, each semester prior to registration.

Double-Dipping Policy

  1. Students may not major and minor in the same discipline.
  2. Majors: no fewer than 21 credit hours in the individual student’s transcript must be unique to each major; that is, the courses in question are considered as actually fulfilling requirements of one major, not of more than one major.
  3. Minors and interdisciplinary minors: no fewer than 8 credit hours in the individual student’s transcript must be unique to each minor; that is, the courses in question are considered as actually fulfilling requirements of one minor, not of more than one minor or major.

For further information about the BA in Philosophy, please contact the Philosophy Undergraduate Program Director.