Undergraduate courses in philosophy are designed to impart knowledge of fundamental philosophical issues and major developments while strengthening logical and analytical skills.

A major in philosophy develops abilities useful for graduate or professional work in many fields and for any situation requiring clear, systematic thinking. Many students choose the philosophy major to prepare for law school.

Whatever your career goals, a major in philosophy will equip you with the ability to think logically and analytically. You’ll choose from courses that examine the development of philosophical thought and discuss the works of famed philosophers, from the early Greeks through those of modern times. Other courses apply philosophical analysis to problems in fields as diverse as art, artificial intelligence, politics, and religion.

Why Study at Iowa

The philosophy program at Iowa is highly personalized, with small classes and accessible faculty members. Faculty are active in research and publication, especially in epistemology, metaphysics, the history of philosophy, and value theory.

Philosophical differences abound within the Department of Philosophy. The major features five specialization areas: value theory (ethics, political philosophy, and aesthetics), logic and methodology (such as philosophy of science), theory of knowledge, metaphysics, and history of philosophy (ancient, early modern, and contemporary).

Outstanding learning opportunities are available outside regular classes, too. Several lecture series, among them the Gustav Bergmann and Everett Hall series, brings prominent philosophers to Iowa from around the world. Students also attend lectures by Iowa professors during faculty colloquia and conferences hosted by the university.

Philosophy faculty members also collaborate with those in the departments of economics and sociology to provide an undergraduate degree in Ethics & Public Policy, which focuses on practical questions about how individuals ought to behave and regulate the behavior of others. It is ideal preparation for law school and some philosophy majors choose it as a second major.

Course Work

The Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in philosophy includes this course work:

  • Introduction to Symbolic Logic
  • Ancient Philosophy
  • Seventeenth-Century, Eighteenth-Century, or Modern Philosophy
  • Six or more additional philosophy courses

See Philosophy in the UI General Catalog to learn more about the major and graduating with honors.

Minor in Philosophy

See Philosophy in the UI General Catalog.

Courses for Nonmajors

Many philosophy courses are approved to fulfill General Education Program requirements. Some make interesting choices as electives for students in a variety of majors. Here are a few of them:

  • Philosophy and Human Nature
  • Philosophy and the Just Society
  • Principles of Reasoning
  • Introduction to Philosophy
  • Introduction to Ethics

Admission Requirements

Philosophy majors need to meet the requirements for admission to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Admission Requirements Tabs

Student Opportunities

In addition to having nearly 500 Student Organizations, Iowa students choose from multiple Study Abroad Programs and Undergraduate Research Opportunities.

Faculty, Facilities, and Resources

The philosophy department is known for its creative use of technology. Many philosophy courses have a home page on ICON (Iowa Courses Online), where professors provide syllabi, lecture notes, and study questions.


Iowa graduates have job placement rates ranging from 86-100 percent, depending on their area of study, and our Pomerantz Career Center offers multiple resources to help students find internships and jobs.

Philosophy graduates have a variety of career options. Some take positions in business. Many continue their education by studying law or doing graduate work in philosophy or other disciplines.


The Office of Admissions and the Office of Student Financial Aid are great resources for students seeking scholarships.

Application Process

Application Process Tabs

Apply to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.


Philosophy (BA)
Honors Courses
Four-Year Graduation Plan