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Philosophy, Bachelor of Arts



In the Department of Philosophy at St. John’s University, we feel the study of philosophy is central to a strong liberal arts and sciences education. Philosophy translates literally to the "love of wisdom" and has come to encompass any intellectual pursuit that investigates the foundations of human thinking and reality. The rich intellectual culture of our program at St. John’s encourages critical and reflective thought about such things as: the nature of knowledge and justification of belief (epistemology); the nature of reality and what can be said truly to exist (metaphysics); the conduct of life and what makes one moral (ethics); and the underlying structure of reasoning and language (logic).

While these are the customary branches of philosophy, they are by no means the only ones. Today we see such fascinating offshoots as: the philosophy of science, which investigates the aims and methodologies of scientific theories and progress; the philosophy of law, which studies the authority and interpretation of the law; aesthetics, which asks questions about art and beauty; philosophy of literature, which examines the philosophical content of novels, plays, and poetry; and environmental ethics and social justice. The development of a philosophical perspective will guide you toward understanding how far the human mind has come in understanding God, nature, and the human person.

At St. John’s, we recognize the University’s Catholic and Vincentian tradition and values. We respect the teachings of the Catholic Church and we seek to help Catholic students, and others who are interested in the philosophical and theological insights of the great world religions to understand the philosophical foundations of religious belief. We also respect the Vincentian mission of service to the poor and the promotion of global harmony and economic development. We are guided by a deep and abiding respect for the dignity of our students and seek to provide you with an unprejudiced understanding of the way things are, so that you can freely choose your own path. Once you graduate with a B.A. in Philosophy from St. John’s, you will be able to recognize what is true about the world and possess the character, courage and skills necessary to work to make it better.

Our program also offers minors that complement any major field of study.

Department Contact

Kevin Kennedy, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Chair
St. John Hall, B-26 
718-990- 6378
[email protected]

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For more information about admission to this and other acclaimed undergraduate programs at St. John's, please visit Undergraduate Admission


To earn the B.A. in Philosophy, you complete 120 credits including core, major sequence, and elective requirements. The major sequence and elective requirements are outlined below. For more information about courses, please see the St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences section of our Undergraduate Bulletin.

Major Sequence — 36 Credits


PHI1000CPhilosophy of the Human Person3
PHI3400Introduction to Logic3
PHI4990Seminar in Phil3

Select Three of the Following:

PHI3500History of Ancient Philosophy3
PHI3510History of Medieval Philosophy3
PHI3520History of Modern Philosophy3
PHI3530History of Contemporary Philosophy3

In addition, you select four additional courses (12 credits) of electives from any other Philosophy course offerings, except PHI 2220C and PHI 2240C, in consultation with a faculty advisor.

Career Outcomes

Philosophy is considered by legal educators to be an excellent preparation for the study of law. It provides for the development of the logical and analytic skills required for sound legal reasoning as well as a theoretical and ethical perspective in which to understand law and its role in human society.

Philosophy is also an excellent major for anyone who simply wishes a strong liberal arts degree, fostering basic thinking, analysis, synthesis and judgment skills, which are valuable in any profession. A philosophy degree provides a foundation for graduate study in many areas, as well as for a career in education. 

Because of its broad scope, Philosophy is an excellent second major or minor. It provides a depth and a perspective that enriches all other fields of study.