Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy
Philosophy is a field that explores the questions that are fundamental to us as humans: What can we know? What is free will? What is justice? What is the mind? As such, philosophy is a cornerstone of a liberal arts education.
As you study philosophy at Brandeis, you will practice thinking clearly and systematically about these and other questions. As a philosophy major or minor, you will acquire skills — critical thinking, nimble reasoning, imaginative problem-solving, written and oral eloquence — that will stand you in good stead for the career you choose, and for a life well lived.
Brandeis is a great place to study philosophy. Our department has been ranked among the top undergraduate programs in the country. In keeping with the Brandeis commitment to teaching, our faculty are at once distinguished scholars and dedicated, accessible educators.
As a philosophy major, you’ll be solidly prepared for graduate work in the field as well as for a career in law, medicine, business, diplomacy, filmmaking — anything that demands thinking and communicating.
Academics and Research
Many of our courses cut across disciplinary boundaries — sometimes in surprising ways. In the context of philosophy, you might also study brain science, politics, economics, business, sociology, art and art history, film — even food production and land conservation.
If you are motivated to cap off your major with further study in a particular topic, you may consider writing a senior essay — especially if you plan to do graduate work in philosophy — or a senior thesis.
Faculty and Student Excellence
Our highly productive yet accessible faculty publish and lecture widely and are recognized for their teaching: In 2017, Eli Hirsch published "Radical Skepticism and the Shadow of Doubt: A Philosophical Dialogue" (Bloomsbury). In 2016, Robert Greenberg published "The Bounds of Freedom: Kant's Causal Theory of Action" (De Gruyter). Berislav Marušić won the 2016 Sanders Book Prize for "Evidence and Agency" and the 2017 Sanders Prize in Philosophy of Mind for his paper "Intending Is Believing: A Defense of Strong Cognitivism." And Marion Smiley won the 2014 Jeanette Lerman-Neubauer '69 Prize for Excellence in Teaching and Mentoring.
At the end of every academic year, we award a philosophy prize to one or more students who have achieved at a high academic level and contributed significantly to the philosophy department. Recent winners are Nadisha Samadhi Wickramaratne, 2018; Niranjana Warrier, 2017; Jea H. Kim, 2016; Aaron Adam Fischer, 2015; and Jack Zev Hait, 2014.
In addition to events hosted by the philosophy department at area universities such as Harvard, MIT and Boston College, we sponsor an annual lecture series featuring distinguished scholars from across the country and around the world.
Join this informal philosophical discussion group that aims to bring together individuals from all disciplines to engage in critical thinking. They happen all over the world — and right here at Brandeis!
Careers and Graduate Study
As a philosophy major, you’ll be well prepared to pursue graduate study in the field – and in any other field. The critical thinking, analytical reasoning and communication skills you’ll acquire will also give you a real advantage when taking the GREs.
Our alumni go on to exciting positions in academics as well as in a wide variety of professional fields, including medicine, law and business. Recent graduates are now lawyers, physicians, entrepreneurs and health-policy scholars, to name a few. These include Edmund Wall '80, an associate professor of philosophy at East Carolina University; Adam Moskowitz '88, a gastroenterologist in Cortland, New York; Deborah Berebichez '96, chief data scientist at Metis, an innovative career accelerator for data-science students and professionals; and Sandra Greenberg '09, MA'10, an acquisition manager at littleBits, an electrical and electronics manufacturer in New York City.