From the long history of global philosophy to contemporary issues like biomedical ethics or truth in an age of fake news, philosophy majors and minors consider fundamental questions about what it means to be human. Inquiry lies at the heart of the study of philosophy, a discipline that seeks to understand our world by asking questions, challenging certainty, and encouraging critical, independent thought. Philosophy majors use these important skills to pursue a variety of careers in law, advertising, finance, non-profits, education, retail sales and information analysis.

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In and Beyond the Classroom

Statue of Confucius in China

hands-on research

In a field about asking life’s questions, philosophy majors often cite their opportunity to conduct original research as a seminal intellectual exercise. Their capstone and summer research projects  delve into philosophical issues under the guidance of a faculty advisor. Examples of these topics include:

  • Désirée Anderson ’13, “If Passion Drives You, Should Reason Hold the Reins?” 
  • Robert C. Thomas ’11, “A Roadmap for Ethics in the Commercial Space Age” 
  • Shuyan Zhan, “The Case for a New Translation of the Analects of Confucius,” (won the Simpson-Cottrell Research Award)
  • Hannah Gutzwiller, “This Is Not Art: Capitalism and Creation In Conflict” 
  • Jacob Baker, “Existence is coexistence: Redefining the Relationship Between Humanity and the Rest of Nature” 

Advising and mentorship

The small classes at Randolph-Macon are just the right size for discussion that stimulates, challenges, and pushes students beyond their comfort zone. Outside the classroom too, Randolph-Macon’s philosophy faculty help guide philosophy majors through their academic journey, research and scholarship, and, ultimately, their next steps after graduation from 91Ƶ. 

philosophy students with faculty member standing in front of research presentation board
  • 31
    of the 200 treatises written by Aristotle are still in circulation today
  • 103%
    the salary growth average for philosophy majors after 10 years in the workforce
  • 1150
    the year the first Ph.D, or Doctor of Philosophy degree was awarded

in full
Courses You Won’t Want to Miss

(A very small sample)

PHIL 404


Study human freedom and how the causality of human will is understood in light of the laws of nature. Learn through inquiry and discussion by posing questions including, “If  humans are a part of the natural world, governed by the laws of biology, physics and chemistry, can we be free?”

PHIL 407

Truth and Meaning

What determines meaning? How is it related to truth? Examine questions in the philosophy of language including the relationship of language to the world, truth, intentionality, translation, speech acts, and body language. 

PHIL 234

Philosophy of Education

Read and discuss classic works in the philosophy of education by authors such as Plato, Rousseau and Confucius, and contemporary writings by philosophers and educators. Reflect on your own experiences in education. Develop and argue for your view of the kind of education that is best to build a healthy, flourishing society. 

Opportunities Worth Grabbing

Popular activities and programs among philosophy majors
91Ƶ students at a debate

Philosophy Club

Franklin Debating Society

One of the College’s oldest student groups, it’s also one of the winningest!

From Here To What you can do with a Philosophy degree from 91Ƶ

Baxter Carter '18

Baxter Carter ’18

Chief of Staff for Senator Monty Mason

“Coming into college I had a vague idea that I wanted to get involved in government, but Randolph-Macon helped make that a reality. Through alumni connections I was able to get involved with state level government internships which put me on the path to where I am today.”

elayna chin ’13

Foreign Service Consular Fellow Professional
U.S. Department of State

Desiree Anderson Simon ’13

CFA Compliance Senior Manager

Kenny Daniel ’20

Colonial Beach Baptist Church

Austin Hardee ’22

Master’s Candidate, Philosophy
George Mason University

Buzzworthy The latest from 91Ƶ Philosophy

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SURF Kicks Off Summer Undergraduate Research

Under the guidance of faculty mentors, 27 student participants will conduct original research during the nine weeks of SURF.

A group of people sitting at round tables in a conference room, listening to a person standing and speaking near the front.
News Story categories: Philosophy Academics

Maintaining Trust in Unprecedented Times

J-term course probes the ties that bind us Students in Professor of Philosophy Benjamin Huff’s Trust and Social Cohesion course are…

Dr. Benjamin Huff sits on a desk while giving a lecture to students in his Trust and Social Cohesion class.
News Story categories: Philosophy Alumni Ethics

World Traveler Elanya Chin ’13 91Ƶs 30 Countries in Five Years

“You never know when or how you’ll find your life’s passion, or your new best friend, but it can only…

Two female students build a foundation with cinder blocks in Costa Rica

Get Ready Discover Philosophy at 91Ƶ.