Wilkes University


Philosophy professor at Wilkes University meets individually with a student to discuss class material.

The study of philosophy develops the most basic skills and habits of your mind.

As a philosophy major at Wilkes, you will achieve clarity of thought, precision in the analysis of conflicting claims, the power to render sound judgments, an appreciation of differing perspectives and the ability to express and defend your own views—skills that will serve you well in any career, and throughout your life.

Dr. Zarpentine in class.Our program is focused on philosophy, as it is relevant to the art of living. This question of how we should live was Socrates’ primary focus, and we take our cue from him. What this means is that, in our courses, we ask:

  • Why does this matter? 
  • How will it affect our lives and the lives of the other beings with whom we share the planet?
  • How can we know what is good? 
  • How does studying philosophy help us live better lives?
  • How does it aid us in dealing with the difficulties of life? 

As a philosophy major at Wilkes, you can achieve clarity of thought, precision in the analysis of conflicting claims, the power to render sound judgments based upon appreciation of differing perspectives, and the ability to express and defend your own views with force and imagination. With these skills mastered, you will be prepared for a variety of professional careers, including law, medicine, teaching and the ministry. For instance, medical school applications now ask about critical thinking skills, the focus of philosophy.

 Wilkes offers unusual courses such as Philosophy of Nonviolence, Moral Psychology, and Advanced Topics in Bioethics that offer perspective for majors in political science, psychology and other majors the require interaction with people. Buddhist thought classes are useful to psychology majors.

 The bachelor of arts degree in philosophy affords you the freedom to pursue coursework in other subjects that pique your interest. You will be able to add a minor, double major, or both. This flexibility also allows you the chance to design your major, by double majoring in your area of interest, consulting with your advisor, and getting approval from the department chairperson. Philosophy is a discipline that naturally and easily combines with other majors to give you the most comprehensive training possible.

Students have opportunities for research during their capstone, which is an independent project pursued with guidance from faculty. Some examples are:

  • “Returning to the State of Nature: A Critique of Simple Living”
  • “The Role of Autonomy in the Complex Interplay between Patient, Familial, and Medical Professional Goals in End-of-Life Care”
  • “Building Knowledge and Reality Together” (an exploration of Pragmatism’s view of truth)
  • “Plato, Hegel, and the Pursuit of Knowledge”
  • “An Exploration of Emotivism”
  • The role of “The Other” in oppression considering especially women, African-Americans, homosexuals and nonhuman animals.
  • Phi Sigma Tau national honor society

The majority of students who major in philosophy at Wilkes combine their study with another major. Their work after graduation tends to integrate the two areas of study.

Recent graduates are employed in roles such as:

  • Applications scientist
  • Director of enrollment management
  • Child psychiatric specialist

Others are attending medical or graduate school:

  • Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Graduate student at University of Kansas, adjunct philosophy faculty