Philosophy (BA)

Philosophy is the study of knowledge, existence and reality. Explore ideas about morals, ethics, values, the mind and society. Learn to consider the historical, social, political and cultural forces that shape ways of thinking. Graduate with practical, hands-on skills that enable you to make a difference, including the ability to produce well-reasoned, evidence-supported arguments in response to contemporary issues.

Apply Your Learning

Make the most out of your university career by taking advantage of all that Laurier has to offer you. Volunteer work, campus clubs, leadership programs, studying abroad, work experience – there are so many ways you can extend your classroom experience into the real world.

Here are just a few examples of the experiences you’ll have access to in the Philosophy program:

  • Gain valuable work experience through co-op and apply at the end of your first year.
  • Submit your academic work to the Laurier Undergraduate Journal of the Arts for a chance to be published.
  • Participate in the Canadian Philosophical Association Student Essay Contest, a great way to gain experience writing professionally.
  • Engage in live debates, open discussions and research projects with your classmates and professors.
  • Attend Department of Philosophy talks and events to broaden your knowledge of the field.

Check out the Philosophy Experience Guide.

 

2020 graduates who secured employment or went on to postgraduate studies

 

Laurier ranks in the top 6 percent of universities worldwide*

 

students who gained hands-on learning experiences at Laurier in 2019/20

*Center for World University Rankings (CWUR)

Admissions

Format: full time or part time      Duration: four years     Start: September (fall term)     OUAC code: UH

Program Details

About Philosophy at Laurier

We offer a single honours major in Philosophy and a major in Philosophy combined with another subject. You do not need any background in Philosophy to join the program.

As a student in first year, you'll learn about basic philosophical issues in the areas of knowledge and reality, and values and society. You'll have small-group tutorials to accompany your introductory courses.

In second year, you'll be offered a wide choice of courses in values, ethics, knowledge, reality, the history of philosophy, and a number of non-traditional subjects, including non-Western philosophies, feminism and gender theory, and philosophy of the environment.

In upper years, you will have the opportunity to take small classes and seminars in a variety of specialized topics. Recent examples include:

  • Love and Personal Identity;
  • The Metaphysics of Death;
  • Human Rights and Cultural Diversity; and
  • Minds, Brains, and Machines.

Throughout, you will benefit from close interaction with your instructors, who will help you develop as close readers, clear thinkers, and effective communicators.

Interested in Law?

You can combine this program with a law degree (LLB) from the University of Sussex, United Kingdom. Our Bachelor of Laws (University of Sussex, UK) and Bachelor of Arts (Laurier) program can be completed in six years.

You'll complete your first two years in the Philosphy program at our Waterloo campus. Students who meet the GPA and progression requirements may then apply to the UK law program and are guaranteed an offer of admission to the University of Sussex law school; there is no requirement to write the LSAT entrance exam.

After three years of studying abroad in the UK and completing an LLB, you'll return for one final year at Laurier to complete your Laurier BA.

Why Studying Philosophy Will Make You an Exceptional Lawyer?

While having exceptional knowledge in law is necessary to becoming a lawyer, there is something even more critical - the use of logic to argue and convince others of the truth of a case. Mastering the art of argumentation is essential to succeed in this profession.

How does one master the art of argumentation, though? It is actually through philosophy. Subdisciplines of philosophy include the study of logic, reason and argumentation. Philosophy teaches the systematic breakdown of arguments, analyzing premise strengths and weaknesses, uncovering mistakes and fallacies, and constructing the most robust case. Philosophy students are among the highest scores on standardized tests such as the LSAT, GMAT, GRE, and the MCAT.

Apart from acquiring the skills that will make you a brilliant lawyer, part of the questions of life philosophy explores is the law and the pursuit of justice. Philosophy focuses on how the law can be biased towards marginalized groups such as women, racialized people and those with disabilities. In addition, we explore concerns regarding constitutional rights, judicial review and the nature of democracy. Our approaches to such concerns form the foundations of our

Program Options and Courses

Options and Minors

These are a few of the many popular academic opportunities which allow you to dive deeper into your major area of study or broaden your knowledge:

  • Management Option
  • Legal Studies Option
  • International Public Policy Option
  • North American Studies Minor
  • Global Studies Minor
  • History Minor

Check out other options to enhance your degree.

First-Year Courses

  • Values and Society
  • Knowledge and Reality
  • 4.0 elective credits in courses that interest you

Sample First-Year Electives

  • Human Rights and Human Diversity
  • Pirates! A World History
  • Introduction to Psychology I

Sample Upper-Year Courses

  • Theories of Reality
  • Critical Social Theory
  • Aesthetics

Co-op

Co-op is a way to integrate what you are learning in the classroom with practical experience in your field of study. Build your resume, earn money, develop your network, and graduate with work experience.

You can apply for admission to co-op in your first year and may be eligible for an admission interview early in your second year. As a student in this program, you will be eligible to complete paid work terms lasting 12 to 16 weeks.

Interested? Learn more about co-op.

Tuition and Scholarships

Getting a university education is an investment in your future.

At Laurier, we take financial health seriously by providing a wide variety of funding opportunities for you throughout your degree, such as scholarships and bursaries, and by equipping you with the skills to manage your finances effectively in the years to come.

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"The professors were a source of philosophical and personal inspiration. From the diverse and fascinating courses in contemporary and traditional philosophical topics, to their commitment to ensuring that students understand the material on a deep level, and through their modelling of philosophical inquiry, the professors of the philosophy department conveyed their love of philosophy; their excitement for this discipline was contagious."

Allauren Forbes, Philosophy graduate

"My philosophy background prepared me for business in ways I never expected. A Philosophy degree hones your analytical and communication skills and teaches you to quickly recognize and understand different perspectives in every situation."

James McNab, Philosophy graduate

Your Career Awaits

It’s not only about the journey; it’s about the destination. Let us help you get to where you’re going.

Here are just some examples of our graduates' destinations. What’s yours?

Sample Career Options

Note: Additional training and education may be required.

  • lawyer/paralegal
  • ethical consultant
  • community development officer
  • diplomat/embassy worker
  • labour negotiator
  • management/business consultant
  • political strategist
  • technical writer

Explore more careers.

Support After Graduation

Alumni for life means that you have access to Career and Employment Support offered at Laurier for your entire career.

Waterloo Campus

The Waterloo campus is tucked into about one city block, so you’re steps away from your classes, food and your new favourite study spot.

There are many ways to tour our Waterloo campus, whether that's on a guided tour with one of our Laurier student ambassadors, on your own using virtual reality, or even on-demand through one of our pre-recorded tours. See our campus spaces and start to picture yourself at Laurier.

"The variety of classes and the flexibility of the required courses were large factors in my positive experience at Laurier, because I felt that I could both focus on my interests and explore different fields/topics."

Lindsay Hachey, Philosophy graduate

Interested in More Info?

Email chooselaurier@wlu.ca, call 519.884.0710 x3385 or see all contact information.