Students discuss around a table

Major or minor in philosophy

Philosophy will introduce you to some of the deepest and most difficult questions humanity can ask: about human nature and the meaning of life, the nature of reality, the possibility and extent of knowledge, the existence of God, and morality and how we should live.

As a philosophy major, you will come to know how some of the greatest thinkers in history have answered such questions and how they are addressed by contemporary philosophers. 

Through careful analysis and close study, you will acquire the ability to discern the most important features of complex material, learn to assess elaborate arguments, and come to form your own conclusions on difficult and important questions. 

Philosophy provides a framework for staging a reflective discourse on modern debates such as inequities in gender, race, and class, as well as reproductive and individual rights, environmental issues, and wealth distribution. 

Grad school and career preparation

As a philosophy major, you will develop advanced and transferable skills such as critical thinking, reading, writing, oral debate, and analytical skills that are applicable to all careers. A philosophy major is an invaluable preparation for law school in particular, and for graduate work in general. Learning to think and reason well is a foundation for success in any profession. 

"Some surveys show that philosophy majors perform better on average than most of their peers on exams for law, medicine, and other graduate schools. And research by the salary data site Payscale showed that philosophy majors rank in the top 100 of all academic fields for average mid-career salary, at $84,100."–June 20, 2017, Washington Post

Benefits of One Course At A Time

The One Course At A Time curriculum offers the freedom of long class periods and removes other academic priorities. You truly delve into the intricacies of philosophical theories and discern the implications of different views. This undivided focus affords a rare setting in which philosophical inquiry may flourish. You will become familiar and adept at the nature of philosophical discourse.

Off-campus studies

One Course At A Time also allows for the flexibility to study off campus without interrupting other course work. For example, you might spend a block exploring philosophical pursuits at the Boundary Waters Field Station in northern Minnesota during the Environmental Ethics course.

One student embarked on a quest to explore pragmatism at work in environmental issues in the Amazon for a block.  

Research opportunities

With One Course At A Time you are able to pursue research opportunities off campus without interrupting your classes. You might receive a grant through the Cornell Summer Research Institute to work with professors. 

You might apply to be a Cornell Fellow and receive funding to pursue your research or to work as an intern. 

In 2017, a student worked with Professor Migely on "A More Inclusive Union: Women Philosophers in the Modern Period."