About the program
- Augustana College offers a major and minor in philosophy, with courses ranging from a variety of introductions to different areas of philosophy to more specific topical and historical subjects. The department offers expertise and course topics throughout the full spectrum of philosophical interests, from the history of science, to aesthetics, to phenomenology and existentialism.
- Five full-time faculty teach in the rapidly growing department, and all hold the Ph.D. -- three from universities considered to be among the nation's top ten graduate programs in philosophy. As philosophical subjects are essential to a strong liberal arts foundation, the faculty also tend to teach courses within the college's general education studies program.
- Augustana's program approaches the study of philosophy in three ways: by topics, texts and tools. Each of these ways provides philosophy students with a starting point for deeper investigation of the central aspects of philosophy -- the nature of reality, thought, experience and value -- and also promotes a broader and deeper perspective for any student of the liberal arts. All students, whether they are philosophy majors/minors or exploring philosophy to enhance their education, can become familiar with critical texts and develop their techniques of reasoning to serve them well in their liberal arts undergraduate studies, post-graduate work or professional programs.
- Many of the philosophy students at Augustana have double majors, combining their interests in the bigger and more abstract questions of human life with specialized studies in other disciplines such as the sciences, mathematics, studio arts or literature.
|The Philosophy Department is housed in Old Main.|
Outside the classroom
- Augustana College offers more than 150 various extra-curricular organizations and clubs, including the active Socratic Society of Augustana, for students to continue developing their interests outside of class.
- One of the faculty members has helped establish and directs Augustana's participation in the prestigious summer internship program with the Texas Medical Center -- one of the nation's top two cancer research hospitals-located at Rice University in Houston, Texas. Students in any field who are interested in any aspect of health care may apply for the internships; these can be established in clinical or research medicine, any area of allied health, human resources, pastoral care or clinical ethics.
Students of philosophy often pursue graduate studies in philosophy or use their background as good preparation for careers in law, journalism, the ministry or education. Augustana's philosophy alumni have gone on to advanced study in some of the best institutions in the country, including Yale Law School, Harvard Law School, Notre Dame, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Indiana University and Princeton Theological Seminary.
What students say
Aaron Schroeder '09, philosophy and English:
"Philosophy has given me the opportunity to think more clearly about those ‘big questions' that so many of us have opinions about but so few of us actually spend time studying. And although I wouldn't say that it has given me some unique body of knowledge, I do know (generally) about the kind of life I want to live and the kind of character I want to cultivate to make my respect worth having. No ‘Principles of Business Management' course can ever give you that."
Eric Erspamer '11, philosophy and accounting:
"I knew I wanted to be an accounting major, but I wanted to do something more at Augie than just learn how to be an accountant. I decided that philosophy would be a great complement to my major, and the decision turned out even better than I had expected, since philosophy is more than just a complement to my major: it's a complement to my growth as an individual."
Allison Retzer '10, philosophy, biology and pre-medicine:
"It was my first year, and I was not looking forward to taking a philosophy class. I wanted to be a doctor! Why did I need philosophy? If I could have gone through my entire college education without leaving the science building, I would have. Lucky for me this liberal arts thing would not leave me alone. I discovered how spectacular logic is, and I haven't been the same since."
Lauren Faising '09, philosophy and art:
"Both of my majors have trained me to think in completely opposite directions. At first this was extremely confusing and frustrating. But after finally reconciling the two, I have come to learn that I have actually acquired the invaluable ability to really think in different ways. I can approach any situation from opposite angles, and all angles in between. Philosophy has given me great insight into my art, just as my art major has given me incredible insight into philosophy. My double major has given me a kind of double perspective on the world, a way of understanding things in totally different ways. This unique outlook is the best thing my liberal arts education could have given me."
Chris Saumell '09, philosophy and mathematics:
"Math and philosophy have proven to be perfectly complementary majors due to their rigorous logical methods. Philosophy has introduced me to and helped me develop the proof skills that are vital to higher-level math classes. Additionally, the scope of philosophy is so broad that it has given me the opportunity to acquaint myself with a variety of other academic disciplines. I cannot imagine a student who wouldn't benefit from a philosophy major."