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Wilfrid Laurier University Leaf
October 21, 2014
Canadian Excellence


Philosophy at Laurier 

Do you have questions? We all do. Asking “What and how can we know?”, “Who am I?” and “What is the nature of science, religion and politics?” allows us to locate the lesser and greater matters of the day in an intelligible frame, and facilitate the discussion of specific issues such as abortion, euthanasia, preferential hiring, animal rights and human rights.

If you’re interested in studying philosophy, consider an Honours BA or combine an Honours BA in philosophy with another Honours BA program.

Program highlights 

  • The Philosophy Department at Laurier aims to increase the student’s awareness of fundamental questions of belief, attitudes, values and choices of living.
  • Emphasis is placed on the study of thinkers such as:
    • Plato
    • Hegel
    • Aristotle
    • Descartes
    • Wittgenstein 
    • Habermas
  • Students are exposed to a wide spectrum of competing points of view. Explore topics such as: 
    • skepticism
    • existentialism
    • realism
    • Marxism
    • feminism
    • libertarianism 
    • materialism
  • Small class sizes provide opportunity for discussion and exploration of topics. 
  • The program is flexible and allows students to combine non-philosophy options with a background in several areas of philosophy.

Courses offered 

First Year Courses

  • Values and Society
  • Knowledge and Reality

Interesting Courses

  • Legal Philosophy
  • Philosophy and the Environment
  • Exploration of the Self

Admission requirements 

4U Requirements IB Requirements  Admission Range 
English at 60%  HL or SL English at 4 

Mid 70s

IB Minimum score: 28  


For those of you pondering a career in teaching, please note that the Ontario College of Teachers has now declared Philosophy a "teachable" subject. This means that university students with a degree in Philosophy are eligible to apply for admission to one of the Province's 30 faculties of education on the strength of that degree alone. Just one more reason to become a Philosophy major. 

But there are many more, including the fact that on average Philosophy majors do appreciably better than most other students on both the GMAT (Graduate Management Admission test) and the LSAT (Law School Admission Test). 

Student experience 

000_Eby_headshot.jpgWhile they may seem frivolous to some, questions such as “Is this it?” or “Am I awake or am I dreaming?” caught the attention of Mike Eby. He agrees with philosophers such as Descartes who felt that these questions were essential to investigating and discovering the essence of our being and forming an understanding of our perceptions. 

“I had always enjoyed debating and talking about the bigger questions,” recalls Eby. As a new student at Laurier, “the instructors, teaching assistants, material and even fellow students made it very clear, very quickly that that this was something I wanted to do for the next four years.”

One of his favourite things about the philosophy program is the ability to learn and critically assess situations that take place in everyday life. “In life, we’re constantly bombarded by arguments and faced with situations that require us to evaluate and reason,” says Eby. “A degree in philosophy teaches you in a very direct way how to do that.” 

Alumni experience

0000Dewey.jpgAfter visiting several schools, philosophy graduate Stephanie Dewey was drawn to Laurier’s strong sense of community. “I was impressed by how approachable all the professors were and by the number of diverse opportunities to get involved on campus,” she says. 

Throughout her time at Laurier, Dewey was involved in many extracurricular activities, including tutoring for the Accessible Learning Centre and volunteering for Laurier Students for Literacy. Dewey says that philosophy provided her with strong reasoning and writing skills that are assets for any future career. “The subject matter is challenging and thought-provoking,” she says. “The class sizes are small and allow students to really engage with the material in class discussions. Consequently, professors are able to provide students with more feedback.”

Dewey, who also spent time volunteering with Laurier’s Legal Resources service, is currently attending law school at the University of Toronto.