Brigham Young University Homepage

Philosophy

Travis Anderson, Chair
4086-A JFSB, (801) 422-5824

College of Humanities Advisement Center
1175 JFSB, (801) 422-4789

Admission to Degree Program

All degree programs in the Department of Philosophy are open enrollment until the end of the sophomore year (60 credit hours), after which permission to add or change a major/minor must be obtained from the concerned dean's office(s)—as stipulated by recent University policy changes. To declare a philosophy major or minor, visit the College of Humanities Advisement Center.

The Discipline

From its inception in ancient Greece down to the present, philosophy has sought to understand the world and the place of human beings within it. As it frames ideas and theories with which to clarify and explain experience, philosophy discloses its faith in the ability of reason to discover and communicate truth. While data generated by the physical and social sciences often informs philosophical analysis, philosophy remains committed to answering those metaphysical, ontological, ethical, epistemic, and aesthetic questions which are either fundamental to an understanding of life or inaccessible to empirical methods of investigation. Philosophy's respect for the authority of logic and rational argument fosters an intellectual environment wherein open dialogue is essential and conflicting opinions are respected, but in which beliefs must be scrutinized, claims must be validated, and a love of truth, goodness, and wisdom must guide one's every action.

Students who study philosophy will find that it not only provides insight into life's deepest concerns, it also helps them develop their capacity for critical thinking, perceptive judgment, and cogent argumentation. Such competence will serve them well as they pursue further education or begin their careers.

Career Opportunities

Philosophy offers excellent preparation for a variety of career paths, especially law, medicine, and business. The value of a major in philosophy resides in the intellectual development it promotes and the transferrable skills it nourishes. Philosophy majors perennially top the charts in standardized exams like the GRE, LSAT, and MCAT, especially on the verbal aptitude and analytic thinking sections. They also enjoy extremely high rates of acceptance to graduate programs and professional schools, whatever the discipline. In part, this is because philosophy students master the logic, reading, writing, and critical thinking skills that such tests and programs require. But philosophy can prepare a student for any type of work that requires highly developed abilities in analytical reasoning and effective communication.

General Information

The Department of Philosophy strongly recommends that philosophy majors include StDev 317 and HColl 110 among the in-residence elective credits required for BYU graduation. Because liberal arts degrees provide preparation in a variety of useful fields rather than a single career track, StDev 317 is recommended to help liberal arts students focus on specific educational and occupational goals and to introduce them to graduate/professional school and employment preparation strategies, internships, available educational opportunities, and a variety of career options. HColl 110 introduces students to the culture and acadedmic landscape of the humanities, and teaches them how to market and employ their liberal arts education in today's challenging job market.

Philosophy students are also encouraged both to complete one of the many internships supported and funded by the College of Humanities (regardless of individual career goals), and to learn a foreign language.

Graduation Requirements

To receive a BYU bachelor's degree a student must complete, in addition to all requirements for a specific major, the following university requirements:

  • The university core, consisting of requirements in general and religious education. (See University Core for details. For a complete listing of courses that meet university core requirements, see the current class schedule.)
  • At least 30 credit hours must be earned in residence on the BYU campus in Provo as an admitted day student
  • A minimum of 120 credit hours
  • A cumulative GPA of at least 2.0
  • Be in good standing with the Honor Code Office

Undergraduate Programs and Degrees

Students should see their college advisement center for help or information concerning the undergraduate programs.