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Personal Growth, Preparation for Life

Think about the world from multiple perspectives while gaining skills you will need in any career. At UNC, you’ll find a different kind of learning experience, where you help to design a course of study that meets your professional goals and fulfills personal interests. You’ll work side-by-side with top faculty who mentor and guide you through your educational journey. We offer directed study and internship opportunities through which you can put your philosophical skills to use under the guidance of a faculty member. We also have an annually elected student representative whose involvement helps to ensure that students have a voice in the Philosophy Department.

Degree Options

Choose a learning path to fit your interests and career goals. UNC's B.A. in Philosophy offers a Traditional Philosophy Major and an Ethics and Public Policy Concentration:

Traditional Philosophy Major

Build a solid grounding in the history of philosophy and the central areas of philosophical inquiry: ethics, epistemology and metaphysics. Broaden this with elective courses focused on specific topics and figures. These might include philosophy of religion, philosophy of science, moral psychology or existentialism, as well as in-depth study of both past and contemporary philosophers. This program is a strong option for students who have a general interest in philosophy or wish to pursue graduate or professional study in almost any field. You may also want to consider a double major because of the way philosophy enhances your ability to think clearly and creatively about every other subject.

Major Requirements

Ethics and Public Policy Concentration

Emphasizing the practical connections between philosophy and life, this option is designed for students who want more focused training in ethics and the application of philosophical concepts and methods to moral, social and political issues. Beyond teaching you how to get where you are going, this program will teach you to evaluate your goals and provide a firm foundation for further learning regardless of your career path.

Major Requirements

Minor Option


Our 18-credit minor provides a solid background in philosophy and is a valuable addition to many different majors at UNC.

Minor Requirements

Related Programs

Finding answers to complex questions

As a philosophy major at UNC, you’ll have many opportunities to gain real-world learning experience while serving your community. For example, students in our Environmental Ethics class have led diverse community-based projects including a “Bring Your Own Box” campaign at local restaurants, a study of the environmental impact of banning plastic water bottle use on campus, a volunteer day that improved a section of the Greeley Poudre River Trail and a presentation to local high school students on the environmental effects of overpopulation.

Your Future in Philosophy

Philosophy doesn’t tell you what to think. It teaches you how to think and problem-solve. As a philosophy major, you’ll learn to clarify key concepts and analyze and evaluate patterns of reasoning — skills that will serve you in your career and your everyday life.

Consider UNC’s Philosophy program if you:

  • Like asking “big” questions and following arguments
  • Have an interest in writing and research
  • Enjoy learning and working in small classes with close mentorship by faculty

You’ll learn:

  • Advanced critical thinking and problem solving skills
  • How to analyze, develop and evaluate arguments
  • Ways to adapt to changing circumstances
  • How to write and speak clearly and effectively

Sample courses:

  • History of Ancient Philosophy
  • History of Modern Philosophy
  • Ethics
  • Epistemology
  • Metaphysics
  • Topics in Philosophy: Personal Identity
  • Topics in Ethics and Public Policy: Environmental Ethics

Beyond the Classroom

Among college graduates with no further training after the bachelor’s level degree, philosophy majors earn higher average salaries by mid-career than all other humanities and social sciences majors except economics and most technical and vocational majors. Philosophy majors also excel on key tests: 

  • GRE: Philosophy majors rank 1st in both analytical and verbal reasoning; and 16th in quantitative reasoning (above all non-science/non-math majors)
  • LSAT: Philosophy majors tied for first (with Economics)
  • GMAT: Philosophy majors rank second (behind math)

Find more information about this data and reasons to study philosophy.

Where can your degree take you?

Our program prepares you to apply your philosophy degree to virtually any field of study. And these are just a few of your possible career options:

  • Lawyer
  • Teacher/Professor
  • Banker
  • Journalist
  • Social worker
  • Accountant
  • Research consultant
  • Entrepreneur
  • Non-profit or government employee

Current Research in Philosophy

Philosophical Counseling

Nancy J. Matchett, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Chair 

Nancy Matchett’s scholarship is focused on putting philosophy to practical use. Her interests include ethical deliberation, moral psychology, personal identity and practical agency. Most of her publications deal in some way with the relationship between ethical theory and moral practice or with successful practices in ethics teaching and training. Matchett recently collaborated on a study of the effectiveness of philosophical counseling for helping new nurses navigate moral challenges.

Read Full Philosophical Counseling Article

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