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 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. 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 and 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.

Admission Requirements

Students interested in this major need to meet the requirements for admission to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.


  Honors Courses
  Four-Year Graduation Plan
Admission Process

Careers and Outcomes

Iowa graduates have a 95 percent job/grad school placement rate within six months of graduation. Our Pomerantz Career Center offers multiple resources to help students find internships and jobs. 

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.

Student Opportunities

In addition to more than 500  student organizations, Iowa students choose from more than 100  study abroad  programs and multiple  undergraduate research opportunities

The department sponsors an active Philosophy Club that hosts informal discussion meetings, movie nights, outreach events, departmental public lectures and colloquia, and other activities. The department also offers a service-learning course, Philosophy in Public.   


The University of Iowa provides a variety of scholarships to eligible undergraduate students through the Iowa Scholarship Portal. Scholarships are available to first-year, transfer, and currently enrolled students. For additional details on scholarships for your program of study, check directly with the department or college. 

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


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

The 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

Students also must complete the requirements of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences GE CLAS Core

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

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