From ancient times to the present philosophers have sought answers to fundamental questions which arise in every area of human life. What is human nature? Are human beings free? What goals should we pursue and how should we treat each other? Is there a reality beyond the physical, sensible world? How can we know the answers to these questions? What are rational methods and standards of evidence? Do rational methods always apply?
At Cleveland State University, students can choose the standard Major in Philosophy which combines the comprehensive study of the history of philosophy with upper level coursework in other areas of the student’s own choosing such as philosophy of religion or law, ethics and social philosophy, theory of knowledge, or in-depth study of a particular philosopher. Alternatively they can choose the Major with a Concentration in Ethics in which at least half of the coursework is focused on ethics and value theory. Undergraduates at Cleveland State University also have the opportunity to earn a Certificate in Bioethics by completing twelve credit hours from the bioethics sequence (see the online Catalog for details).
Classes in philosophy are generally small (under 30) and nearly all are taught by full time faculty who are established scholars in their field.
Career philosophers are employed almost exclusively in colleges and universities. A doctoral degree is generally required for teaching at the four-year college level or above; and a master’s degree is required for community college teaching.
A major in philosophy prepares a student to pursue graduate study in philosophy, but many philosophy majors choose careers in other areas —pre-college teaching, health and medicine, law and criminal justice, public relations, and managerial work in business and the public sector. The study of philosophy builds skills which are critical for success in every profession: the ability to analyze complex problems, to organize and classify data, to look for reasons why something should be done, to view issues from different perspectives, and to communicate clearly and persuasively both orally and in writing.
Philosophy complements most other fields of study. Students who have chosen a major on account of its direct link to a career often are able, through careful planning, to complete a second major in philosophy with little or no increase in total hours. Roughly a third of all Cleveland State University philosophy majors are double majors, combining philosophy with such fields as psychology, political science, religion, English, history, and urban studies.
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Students attending school full time can complete the requirements for a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy in four years. Students attending part time will take longer, but required major courses and upper-level electives are offered in the evening.
For official requirements for a degree in this major, see the Undergraduate Catalog.