Discover the deeper meaning of everything with a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy

Are you looking for a solid preparation for advanced study in philosophy, a background for a particular profession or vocation, to move onto graduate school or for preparation as a philosophy teacher? Philosophy is the attempt to make rational sense of all things. As such, it tries to discover and explain the ultimate origin, purpose and meaning of everything, especially human existence. For this reason, philosophy is one of life’s most practical pursuits.

The Loras Philosophy major helps in the search for the definitive meaning of life, a pursuit that cannot be avoided if a person is truly interested in living well and finding genuine happiness, both personally and in a chosen profession, vocation or career.


Learn About Our Major in Philosophy

Student Experience

Loras Philosophy majors benefit from a strong values component, with emphasis on refining student’s ethical decision-making. The skills taught complement nearly every other major, helping Philosophy students consistently rank in the top percentiles on exams such as the GRE and LSAT.

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Many Philosophy majors at Loras are committed to research and service to churches in the Dubuque Archdiocese.

Because these students are interested in the ways their faith lives connect with their intellectual interests, they pursue compelling areas of research.

  • During the 2010–2011 academic year, a Philosophy major, Brandon Schetgen, presented papers at two undergraduate philosophy conferences: Truman State University and Creighton University.
  • Three students were members of the Provost’s Top 20 students in the 2009–2010. The Philosophy program typically has at least one student represented among this select group each year.

Loras Philosophy majors have gone on to enjoy successful careers in various areas. A representative sampling includes the following.

  • Numerous individuals are now serving as ordained priests in the Archdiocese of Dubuque and other neighboring dioceses (Rockford and Madison), as well as becoming professed members of male and female religious communities (Dominicans, Salesians of Don Bosco, Franciscan Friars of the Atonement).
  • Melissa (Zamora) McLaughlin (’06)
    Vice President, Groundswell Communications, Washington, D.C.
  • Jonathon Hanten (‘02)
    Archdiocese of Atlanta, Atlanta, GA
  • Felicia Kruse, Ph.D. (‘83)
    Visiting Professor of Philosophy, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, IL
  • Peter Zachar, Ph.D. (’86)
    Chair, Department of Psychology, Auburn University Montgomery, Montgomery, AL
  • Rick Harris (’87)
    Attorney, Finely Law Firm, Des Moines, IA

Many Internships and study abroad opportunities are available for all Philosophy students. All majors in the division participate in college internship programs offered through the Loras College Center for Experiential Learning.

Study Abroad
Majors in this division study abroad in greater numbers than any other major on campus. Popular locations include:

  • Ireland
  • Spain
  • England
  • South Africa
  • Rome
  • Asssi
  • Peru

Student Learning Outcomes


Student Learning Outcomes – Philosophy
1. Understand the principles of critical thinking
2. Understand the major philosophers and philosophical issues in the history of philosophy
3. Understand the key elements of epistemology and the philosophy of being
4. Understand the principle philosophical approaches to the human person and their respective responses to fundamental human concerns.
5. Understand the key ethical theories and their application to ethical dilemmas on the personal, social, and professional levels.
6. Understand the distinctively Catholic elements within Western philosophy.
7. Be able to engage in critical reflection on the work of particular philosophers and on philosophical texts.
8. Be able to synthesize the work of various philosophers and various texts.
9. Be able to engage in cogent argumentation in support of a position.


View Highlighted Courses

Art, Beauty & Meaning
This course explores the nature of art, the meaning of beauty, and the relationship between the two by consulting selected writings and by directly experiencing and studying specific works of art (and, in some cases, by interacting with the artists who produced them).

Knowledge, Truth & Reality
The study of what and how things exist in the world (metaphysics/philosophy of being), and how we cognitively experience and understand these things (epistemology/philosophy of knowledge); includes notions of being in itself, potency and actuality; causality; the properties of unity, good, and beauty; the nature of evil; intellect and sense perception; truth and falsity; and subjective states of certainty, doubt, ignorance, and error.

Medieval Philosophy
A survey of Christian, Jewish and Islamic philosophy from the early middle ages through Renaissance scholasticism, with particular attention to the work of Thomas Aquinas.

Science, Faith, and Knowledge
This course will provide an interdisciplinary theoretical and practical introduction to scientific literacy in the natural, human, and behavioral sciences. It aims to assists students in the construction of intellectual frameworks based in sound reason with which to consider the dynamic relationships among empirical scientific research, philosophical commitments, and theological beliefs. Students will be challenged to engage and assess scientific data as well as critically reflect on its practical, personal, and pastoral applications.

Human Identity in Community
Philosophic investigation into human identity as a rational and social being, relying upon common experience, culture, and selected findings of the natural, social, and behavioral sciences; attention given to the distinct powers, performances, and place of human beings within the natural order, and insights related to the self and society, including the themes of life, mutual dependence, freedom, unity, knowledge and practical reason, and the afterlife.

View Philosophy Courses

Major & Minor Requirements

Students will complete the following requirements in order to achieve a major or minor in Philosophy. 

Degree Requirements

Division of Philosophical, Religious, Theological, Social & Cultural Studies
Kathrin A. Parks, Ph.D., Chair

The philosophy major has a built-in flexibility which allows students to: double major and connect as closely as possible an interest in philosophy with a major interest in another area, and develop a more personal course of study in philosophy, tailored to a student’s individual interests.
Major Requirements for Philosophy (B.A.)

The minor in philosophy is an ideal choice if a student does not want to pursue a major in philosophy, however is interested in exploring life’s ultimate questions, if only in a preliminary way.
Minor Requirements for Philosophy

Related Majors & Minors
History, B.A.
International Studies, B.A.
Politics, B.A.
Religious Studies, B.A.  
Sociology, B.A.  
Catholic Studies, Minor
Ethics, Minor  
Gender Studies, Minor
Peace and Justice, Minor  
Sustainability, Minor
Racial Justice, Minor

Career Opportunities

“What can you do with a Philosophy degree?”

As a Philosophy major, you will be prepared for a variety of interesting careers.

  • Lawyer
  • University professor
  • Restaurant manager
  • Catholic priest
  • Bookstore manager
  • Professional Singer-Songwriter
  • Software Designer

Supporting Your Investment

Loras takes great pride in supporting your investment – both through providing an exceptional learning experience and in sharing the cost of your degree. 100% of Loras students receive financial aid. We have scholarships, grants and special awards for all students based on their achievements and financial need.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will it take me to earn my Loras degree?

Most students earn their undergraduate degree in four years or less. If you have questions about transferring any previously earned credits or degrees, please see our Transfer Student Information.

How much is tuition?

At Loras College, financial access to education is one of our defining values. We are committed to helping all of our students make their degree affordable. We partner with every student and family to understand their unique financial needs ensuring 100% of Loras students receive financial aid. Scholarships, grants and special awards are offered to all students based on their achievements and financial need. Loras is consistently ranked as one of the best universities for return on investment.  View our Tuition and Fees page.

How do I apply for schlarships and financial aid?

Submit your federal FAFSA, apply to Loras College and review our financial aid resources for detailed information, scholarship opportunities and much more.