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Northwest Missouri State University


The Northwest Difference

A Philosophy major provides students with the rich history of the western philosophical tradition and values of free, impartial and disciplined inquiry.

As a philosophy major at Northwest, you gain skills in critical thinking and clear expression that integrates with multiple fields through Northwest’s interdisciplinary electives. The major focuses on five core areas: ethics, logic, history of philosophy, epistemology and metaphysics. Ethics is the study of the standards of right vs. wrong action; logic describes the fundamental rules in respects to reasoning; history of philosophy goes back 2500 years discussing the philosophical movements from the ancient world to the present day; epistemology is the theory of knowledge, justification and the requirements of belief; and metaphysics discusses the driving forces of reality.

Minor in Philosophy

A minor in philosophy teaches students the fundamentals of historical, professional and bio-medical ethics, the history of ancient and medieval or modern and contemporary philosophy, metaphysics and epistemology. After taking the required courses, students can customize their minor from a list of approved electives. For a list of required courses, visit the academic catalog. This minor requires the completion of 18 credit hours.

Career Opportunities

placement rate

100% of students who graduated from Northwest with a degree in philosophy obtained employment or continued their education within six months after graduation.

The following is a listing of common positions for graduates with a philosophy major:

  • Archives/Collections Director
  • Law
  • Museum Director
  • Cultural Resource Management

For a list of past job placements by year, veiw the placement reports »

*Based on self-reported data in recent years.

Profession-Based Learning Experiences

Study Abroad

Study Abroad is an opportunity for students to apply hands-on international experience to their own academic development. Faculty members provide short-term study programs that prepare students before, during and after the program. Two types of study abroad programs are available, Faculty-led and traditional study abroad.

Each year, faculty-led study abroad is an option available to students who prefer to study abroad for two to four weeks with teaching by Northwest faculty members. In prior years, students have traveled to England, Italy, Greece, Turkey and Egypt.

The traditional program can be a semester, summer or year-long program and is taught by Northwest’s international partner institutions.

For more information about study abroad opportunities »

Philosophy Club serves as the local chapter of Phi Sigma Tau, national honor society, recognizing academic excellence. This organization is open to all students interested in philosophical discussions. Additionally, the club sponsors special guests and debates.

For a full list of student organizations with in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences »

Research Opportunities

Students have the opportunity to present at Northwest’s Celebration of Quality and numerous conferences throughout the country. Some recent examples include:

  • Matthew J. Bailey, "Neural Niceties: A Critique of Nonreductive Physicalism as a Solution to the Mind/Body Problem," Holy Cross Undergraduate Philosophy Conference, spring 2014.
  • Jake Beard, "The Development of Phenomenological Method under Edmund Husserl," Truman State Undergraduate Philosophy and Religion Conference, fall 2012.
  • Matthew J. Bailey, "Heideggerian Dasein as Hypostatic Union," Truman State Undergraduate Philosophy and Religion Conference, fall 2012.
  • David Wilkinson, "Divine Foreknowledge," presentation at the Celebration of Quality, spring 2012.

The Northwest Difference

The Northwest Difference

Founded in 1905, Northwest is a traditional campus with more than 7,200 undergraduate and graduate students. Located in the middle of everywhere, Maryville is two hours from Omaha, Nebraska and Kansas City, Missouri and
2 ½ hours from Des Moines, Iowa.