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An investigation of the nature of reality, thought, experience and value.

With Augustana’s major/minor in philosophy, your passion for investigating the nature of reality, thought, experience and value can take hold anywhere within the spectrum of philosophical interests.

Your professors have expertise in aesthetics, history of science, phenomenology and existentialism. Special topics courses range from decision and game theory, to metaphysics and epistemology, to the philosophies of fields across the liberal arts: science, art, medicine, language and more.

Philosophical subjects support any strong liberal arts foundation. Many students double major, combining their interests in the great abstract questions with a second discipline in the sciences, mathematics, arts or literature. (See also the related ethics minor.)

Philosophy majors often pursue graduate study in philosophy or careers in law, journalism, the ministry or education. Augustana graduates have gone on to advanced study at some of the country’s best institutions, including Notre Dame, law schools at Harvard and Yale, and Princeton Theological Seminary.

What you'll learn

Critical thinking and information literacy

Critical thinking and information literacy

Judge and construct arguments, raise questions and define problems. Make a conclusion based on evidence.

Disciplinary knowledge

Disciplinary knowledge

Gain a deep understanding of your subject and how it connects to other subjects.

Intellectual curiosity

Intellectual curiosity

Set yourself up for lifelong intellectual growth. Take responsibility for your own learning.

Creative thinking

Creative thinking

Combine ideas to create something new. Use imaginative ways of solving problems.

Communication competence

Communication competence

Read and listen carefully. Express ideas (writing or speaking) suited to the audience.

Philosophy faculty

Left to right: front, Dr. Roman Bonzon and Dr. Heidi Storl; back row, Dr. Deke Gould, Dr. Timothy Bloser and Dr. Douglas Parvin


• The department’s five full-time faculty all hold the Ph.D. — three from universities considered to be among the nation’s top 10 graduate programs in philosophy.

• The philosophy department approaches the study of philosophy in three ways: topics, texts and tools. Each provides philosophy students a starting point for deeper investigation. Each also provides any student of the liberal arts a way to become familiar with essential texts and to develop reasoning skills they can use throughout their studies and professional lives.

• One philosophy professor helped establish and also directs Augustana’s participation in the prestigious summer internship program with the Texas Medical Center in Houston. Students in any field who are interested in any aspect of health care may apply for internships including clinical or research medicine, allied health, human resources, pastoral care or clinical ethics.

Recent grads

Genesis Li ’21 is in the Masters in Public Administration program at Cornell University, College of Human Ecology, in Ithaca, N.Y.

Kevin Donovan ’20 is a designer at Lee Enterprises in Madison, Wis.

Natalie Hardy ’20 is pursuing a Ph.D. in health care ethics at Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Mo.

Payton Petruchuis ’18 is a school counselor at Belvidere North High School in Belvidere, Ill.

Josh Teets
More Than I Imagined Josh Teets
“Pretty quickly I was exposed to philosophy and the fields it applied to, such as economics and ethics. It blew my mind how exciting these subjects were.”
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bethany hayenga
More Than I Imagined ​Bethany Hayenga
“Dr. Heidi Storl taught me that the 'useless' disciplines (like philosophy) are the most useful in practical — not just abstract — situations.”
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Payton Petruchuis
More Than I Imagined Payton Petruchuis
“Trying to gain all of my requirements to graduate actually helped me fall in love with psychology and philosophy — because of the way Augustana does ‘school,’ I realized I enjoyed learning about people more than I did science.”
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Holden Village students posing for a photo before heading to the village.

Five years of Augustana’s January Term

Augustana College students take a break from their 15-week semester schedule to engage in a month-long period of intensive learning during January Term, or J-term. This three-and-a-half week course was added as part of the college’s transition to semesters in 2019-2020.

Environmental justice, AI and neuroethics are top of mind for Hasselmo Award co-winners

Juniors Lucas Fahnoe and Zachary Horve are co-recipients of the $5,500 Nils Hasselmo Award for Academic Pursuit. With majors representing the humanities, social sciences and STEM, both will use their award money to assist them on their way to careers addressing some of the world’s most pressing concerns.

Peter J. Lindberg, M.D., Center for Health and Human Performance

Grant to help launch new minor in integrative medicine and humanities

The minor and an internship program with UnityPoint Health will serve students who pursue pre-professional degrees in health care.