Utility Nav Top Nav Content Left Nav Site Search Site Search Site Search
Educated to Lead. Inspired to Achieve.


Philosophy Major at Westminster College

Above, Prof. Jim McRae

For requirements, please visit the course catalog.

Why Study Philosophy at Westminster?

• Examine fundamental questions of existence relating to how we should live our lives on topics including free will and moral responsibility, the proper relationship between science and religion, the nature of minds and persons, our ethical obligations to the environment, and the scope and nature of knowledge.

• Explore philosophical questions through multidisciplinary classes that draw from both eastern and western traditions and apply to other disciplines such as psychology, political science, religion, English, biology, environmental science, business and medicine.

• Acquire advanced analytical reasoning through a discipline which consistently scores at or toward the very top on major graduate-level entrance exams including the GRE, MCAT, and the LSAT. For example, 2011-2012 data from the Educational Testing Service show that on the GRE philosophers rank first (even above English majors) on the verbal section, first among the humanities (and 5th overall) on the quantitative section, and first overall on the analytical reasoning section.

• Work with professors assisting them in their professional academic research and/or work with professors independently to develop and present your own research in Westminster's Undergraduate Scholars Forum and beyond.

• Obtain hands on service learning elements in relevant classes such as The Meaning of Life or pursue an internship, e.g. relating to politics and philosophy.

Major Highlights

Philosophy is a rigorous multidimensional discipline that is born in the spirit of Socrates' declaration, the unexamined life is not worth living. If you consistently ask, "Why should I believe that?" then you are on the road to philosophy. If you yearn to consider what the best minds of the past and today have had to offer with respect to how we should live our lives, and yet you also strive to think for yourself, then a philosophy major may be right for you.

Westminster's philosophy major may stand alone or may supplement an additional major or minor. The major provides students with a basis in the history of philosophy including non-western philosophical perspectives. It also provides students with a strong foundation in logic and critical thinking as well as ethical theory and applied ethics. The major prepares those who wish to pursue philosophy through graduate school and beyond, but it also enhances students' general problem solving and analytical skills which are crucial assets across the disciplines and across careers.

Cool Classes

  • The Meaning of Life (team-taught by professors in philosophy and religious studies)
  • The Ethics of Genetic Manipulation
  • Philosophy and Science Fiction
  • Biomedical Ethics
  • Philosophy and the Politics of War
  • Business Ethics Philosophy and Martial Arts
  • Evolution and Intelligent Design
  • Philosophy and Information
  • Environmental Ethics
  • Asian Philosophy

Other Experiences

Join Philosopher's Corner, one of the most successful student groups on campus, which helps students and the Westminster community to explore important philosophical and social questions such as gun rights, religion and women, the ethics of predator drone strikes, evolution versus intelligent design, and same sex marriage, to name just a few.

Become eligible for Phi Sigma Tau, the national philosophy honor society supported by Westminster that, among other things, allows you to submit and publish your work. Even join professors at regional conferences to present your own work or to workshop on contemporary philosophical topics.

Career Opportunities

Philosophy is a flexible discipline that can be advantageous to many career paths given its emphasis on analytical skills, logic and communications. Many philosophy majors pursue careers in education, law, and public policy, yet alternatives are much broader and include pursuits such as counseling, publishing, medicine and bioethical review boards, environmental policy, financial analysis, and computer programming.

Chris-Givan Westminster Alumni "My philosophy major made me into a more reflective person, a more critical thinker, and more invested in the issues of right and wrong that surround us. The major exposed me to the basics of many important philosophical theories, while giving me the chance to explore my own interests and love of the field." Chris Givan, Class of 2013

Contact Information

Name: Dr. James McRae
Position: Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies
Office: Room 212, Westminster Hall
Email: James.McRae@westminster-mo.edu
Phone: 573-592-6229

Meet the Philosophy Faculty

Rich Geenen, Professor of Philosophy
James McRae, Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies

Philosophy News

Check out what Westminster philosophy students and alums are doing and get department updates.
Philosophy News

Back to Top