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Undergraduate Program

  • How can we know the right thing to do?
  • Is there a right thing to do?
  • Is there a God?
  • What should people do when their cherished values conflict?
  • How should society be organized?
  • What makes a form of government legitimate?
  • Are people merely biochemical machines?
  • Is science the best way to discover truth?
  • What is truth, anyway?

Over two thousand years ago Plato argued that the unexamined life is not worth living. Philosophy examines questions like those above that are central to living a distinctively human life. Such questions are worth asking because in answering them we come to better understand who we are and how we ought to live. Philosophy classes offer a unique opportunity for addressing such permanent questions and considering the most impressive answers that people have managed to produce since Plato's time.

Philosophy at BGSU

Bowling Green State University's distinctive philosophy department specializes in applied philosophy. The department's vision of applied philosophy involves developing a rigorous grasp of philosophical theories and methodologies and using them to address real world issues.  

Click here to see a short film about Philosophy at BGSU: "Are You Deep Enough?"

The department is ideal for those interested in moral and political theory and the theory of rational choice. It is also a perfect environment for those interested in medical ethics, environmental ethics, business ethics, and the philosophy of law. It is also an excellent choice for those that plan to pursue a career in law, medicine, theology, or environmental management.

To find out more about a Major or Minor in Philosophy, click here.

Dr. Mark Aulisio, a graduate of BGSU's applied philosophy program and current executive director of a national task-force studying ethical standards for health care professionals, found that the philosophy program at BGSU "prepares you to do very rigorous analytical,theoretical work with implications that really matter."

Undergraduates enjoy favorable class sizes and uncommon access to the distinguished faculty as well as training from a prominent program that specializes in producing students with especially marketable skills.

New York Times Highlights Surge of Interest in a Philosophy Degree

In April 2008 the New York Times published an article about a recent nationwide resurgence in interest among college undergraduates in majoring in philosophy.  Reasons given for the interest included:

  • Helps students to become quick learners and fosters strong skills in writing, analysis and critical thinking
  • Provides a foundation for understanding other disciplines in the humanities and sciences
  • Philosophy majors outscore almost all other majors in tests like the GRE and LSAT
  • Provides a good training for looking at larger societal issues like globalization and technology
  • Is intellectually rewarding and enriching

To read the article in full, click here.

To find out more about Philosophy and Careers, click here.

Department of Philosophy Learning Outcomes

At the completion of baccalaureate degree studies in Philosophy, students will be able to:

  • read and comprehend sophisticated philosophical texts
  • critically evaluate philosophical arguments
  • construct and defend philosophical arguments in well-organized, clear, and concise prose
  • demonstrate mastery of basic philosophical concepts and methods in both oral and written contexts
  • apply critical thinking and argument-evaluation skills to those philosophical issues and arguments that present themselves in everyday life
  • engage in rational, civil, discourse about complex and emotionally laden topics in a manner that is respectful of others

Undergraduate Awards and Prizes

The Department currently gives three different types of awards at the undergraduate level. Click here for more details.

Unique Opportunities

In addition to hosting an impressive array of colloquia by prominent philosophers, the department's close association with the Social Philosophy and Policy Center allows a wide array of unique opportunities to students of philosophy at Bowling Green State University. The University also houses a truly extraordinary collection of philosophy books and journals.

The student run Philosophy Club meets biweekly to discuss philosophical topics of mutual interest. Typically the department supplies pizza, soda, and often a faculty member to these events. The department also awards three annual cash grants to outstanding students that are majoring in philosophy.

For further information about the program in philosophy, contact the Undergraduate Advisor at the address below or E-mail pibarra@bgnet.bgsu.edu