Undergraduate Programs

First Time Students

The Department of Philosophy (PHI) is part of the School of Humanities within the College of Arts & Sciences. Our majors graduate with a Bachelor of Arts and go on to graduate school, medical school, law school, or choose to enter the workforce in a wide variety of public, private, governmental, and non-profit agencies. Faculty in the department collaborate with an extensive group of extended, which provides students across campus with a site for interdisciplinary learning and teaching. Given the intensity and rigor of study, including analytical reading and critical writing, our majors make themselves extremely attractive to potential employers.

Why should I major/minor in Philosophy?

The Philosophy program at South Florida aims to produce teachers and scholars with a deep understanding of philosophy and a broad knowledge of its history. We welcome a diversity of approaches to the study of philosophy, including analytic, continental, historical, literary, and multicultural. Above all, we seek to prepare our students to make contributions in their areas of expertise and to become responsible members of the philosophical community. Our department has historical and systematic interests. We are particularly committed to four general areas: history of philosophy, continental philosophy, history and philosophy of science, and ethics, social and political, and feminist philosophy.

At the University of South Florida the Department of Philosophy’s primary area of academic strength is the interdisciplinary scholarly analysis and interpretation of philosophy, history, ethics, religion, culture, and society using the theories and methodologies of the humanities, social sciences, and sciences.

These topics are essential parts of civilized life and are fundamental to the understanding of all other areas. This is what Philosophy equips you to do if you dedicate the time and the effort. You can:

  • Participate knowledgeably in the affairs of the world around you, drawing upon understandings shaped through reading, writing, discussions, and lectures concerning the past, present, and future,
  • See yourself and society from different outlooks and situations, displaying a sense of informed perspective and a mature view of human nature,
  • Read and think critically, write and speak clearly and persuasively, and conduct research effectively,
  • Exhibit sensitivities to human values in their own and other cultural traditions and, in turn, establish values of your own,
  • Appreciate your natural and cultural environments,
  • Respect scientific and technological developments and recognize philosophy’s impact on humankind, and
  • Understand the connections between thought, aesthetics, ethics, and life.


It should be apparent from the above that an accomplished Philosophy major is attractive to all kinds of employers in any number of fields, as well as to graduate and professional schools. You can find USF philosophy alumni in the legal and medical professions, in business, government, non-profits, public health, education, foreign service, politics, and creative self--employment. In order to teach Philosophy or Social Studies on the secondary level, you will need to double-major in the College of Education or pursue alternative teaching certification.

Tips & Ideas for Incoming Students

Make contact with your advisor and professors. They are interested in your academic development, and welcome your visits during their posted office hours. Please contact our academic advisor, Mr. Andrew Bird, for specific questions about our undergraduate program.

Have transcripts from ALL institutions (high school, college, community college) and organizations (IB, CLEP, AP) sent to USF for review.

This degree has a foreign language exit requirement. This major accepts any foreign language offered at USF that has a two semester sequence. If you have experience with a foreign language, including ASL, you will be required to take a placement exam at USF to determine your level and to see if you can test out of the courses. You are STRONGLY encouraged to complete this placement exam prior to or during orientation.

All freshmen will have an AA hold placed on their account which prevents them from registering until they see an advisor. Once you have decided USF is the right place for you, make an appointment as soon as possible after orientation to see your advisor.

Visit the College of Arts & Sciences information page for First-Year Students.