The Philosophy program at SDSU aims to develop in the student an increasingly sophisticated, reflective, and comprehensive understanding of the historical, systematic, and applied dimensions of philosophy, both Western and non-Western. It further seeks to develop a commitment to pursue reflectively the most important questions of the three major fields of philosophy: metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics, to reason soundly about them, to make meaningful and well-informed contributions to the dialogue concerning them, and to be able to apply that knowledge to social, political, global, environmental, ecological, scientific, and other "real world” contexts. Toward this end, the Philosophy program serves, supports, and challenges many diverse groups of students: philosophy majors, both graduate and undergraduate; those seeking careers in community colleges, technical writing, public administration, government service, the legal, para-legal, or medical professions; students training for advisory roles in health services, politics, the military, with an interest in ethics and leadership (including the campus minor in Leadership Development); those wishing to continue on to a Ph.D.; mature students transitioning to new career paths; students from all class standings (freshman-senior) and from a wide range of majors at SDSU, including ISCOR, business, communication studies, English, political science, social work, and sociology, seeking skills in argument analysis, logical thinking and persuasive writing.

Program Overview

Students will take an introduction to logic course at the lower-division preparatory level. The Philosophy program at SDSU provides more opportunities for the student to acquire a depth of knowledge about the history of philosophy than are available at most other colleges. The Philosophy Department is convinced that the student will be poorly equipped for serious grappling with fundamental issues in philosophy without a background in the History of Philosophy, including

  • Ancient Western Philosophy
  • Medieval Philosophy
  • Early Modern Philosophy
  • Nineteenth-century European Philosophy
  • Twentieth-century Anglo-American Philosophy
  • Twentieth-century Continental Philosophy

The department program is designed to allow a student to combine that historical depth with the student's own choice of an emphasis among the areas of non-Western and significant contemporary philosophical issues. Additional courses may include

  • Asian Philosophy
  • Moral Theory
  • Applied Ethics (including Biomedical Ethics and Environmental Ethics)
  • Social and Political Philosophy
  • Aesthetics and Philosophy of Literature
  • Philosophy of Science

Graduate School

Some students begin graduate work after their B.A.

  • On the GRE, Philosophy majors have the highest overall score.
  • On the GMAT, Philosophy majors outperform majors in economics, statistics, finance, accounting, etc.
  • On the LSAT, Philosophy majors rank significantly better than any other humanities degree.
  • Philosophers enjoy the best chance of admission to medical school of any major.


Career Opportunities

Out of all the majors in CAL (with the exception economics), Philosophy pays the highest mid-career salary. Philosophy graduates find careers in

  • Tech Industry: computer and software design
  • Government and NGOs: politics and community service
  • Medical Industry: medicine and administration
  • Business: management and entrepreneurship
  • Publishing: technical and creative writing

To further explore career options in this field, visit the Career Services Web site.

Special Features

  • Our Philosophy students participate in the annual California Regional Ethics Bowl
  • Our Philosophy students have earned McNair scholarships, Fulbright grants, and SRS awards.
  • Our Philosophy students have studied abroad in Europe, Asia, and Central America.

In addition to research, our Philosophy students are active in organizations on campus, including

  • Amnesty International
  • Secular Student Alliance
  • Mortar Board
  • Phi Sigma Tau (Philosophy Honors Club)
  • Phi Kappa Phi
  • Assiciated Students
  • The Daily Aztec newspaper
  • The Philosophy Club

The Department of Philosophy is also home to

  • The Journal of Ethics
  • Dialogue
  • The Institute for Ethics and Public Affairs, which offers colloquia lectures during the semester.

General Catalog

You can view more complete information regarding the Philosophy program in the General Catalog. All students are responsible for reading and knowing the information pertinent to their areas of study available in the General Catalog. It contains requirements for all academic majors, course descriptions, policies, and regulations governing progress at the University. Catalogs are distributed at all Academic Orientation programs. To order a catalog, call (619) 594-7535.