Philosophy

About the program

The study of philosophy examines certain unavoidable questions for human existence: "What does it mean to be a human being?" "What is the best kind of life to live?" "What is the difference between right and wrong?" "Is life meaningful or meaningless?" "What is truth?" Being a good philosopher does not mean having ready-made answers to these questions but having the ability to ask and answer them self-consciously, self-critically, and with clarity and consistency. The skills essential for being a good philosopher are not unique to philosophy, and so are useful in every aspect of life. In particular, the philosophy program at Roanoke College teaches the core skills of analytic reading, thinking, and writing, which involve breaking down ideas, discovering their interrelation, and evaluating their worth in such a way that they may be clearly communicated to others. See our latest department news.

Why study philosophy at Roanoke College?

Ask big questions. Who am I? What's the meaning of life? Are the answers to all questions relative? Instead of looking for ready-made answers, students are invited to ask and evaluate profound questions with clarity, deliberation and mindfulness.

Join in the conversation. The act of questioning and considering possible answers is at the core of what philosophers do. Roanoke's seminar-style classes encourage conversation and are ideal for practicing philosophy.

Challenge yourself. The philosophy program at Roanoke not only develops critical thinking, writing, and communication skills, it also prepares students for challenging independent research. Combined, this skill set opens many promising tracks for graduate and professional schools.

Real-world learning

What's next?

Philosophy majors do exceedingly well in graduate school testing, ranking at the top of LSAT, MCAT and GRE scores. Philosophy students also rank surprisingly well on lists that quantify career earnings according to college major.

A philosophy major prepares students to make a strong case for themselves, wherever they wish to go. Recent graduates are now in exciting careers that range from law and higher education to local government administration. 

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Philosophy Major Requirements Philosophy Minor Requirements