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College of Liberal Arts

Philosophy is the study of the fundamental questions of life, as well as the nature of knowledge, reality, and existence.

San Luis Obispo, California

The philosophy program builds on a foundation of classical texts and the development of rigorous logical skills. You will choose the areas of the history of philosophy to further explore. Required courses include ethics, philosophy of science, epistemology and metaphysics.

Philosophy Curriculum

You may choose to complete 20 units of 300-400 level philosophy courses or the concentration.

Ethics and Society

This concentration is designed for those with an interest in pursuing professional careers in which they will need to address practical ethical issues, especially careers in business, medicine, politics and law.

More about Ethics and Society

About the Program

Cal Poly Philosophy students at Ethics Bowl

Studying philosophy gives you the ability to critically analyze and clearly communicate solutions to complex problems.

You will grapple with classic questions like whether we have free will, as well as cutting-edge controversies such as the ethics of artificial intelligence. As a philosophy major, you will dive deeply into diverse philosophical areas including the history, contemporary European philosophy, ethics and emerging sciences, Asian philosophy, and ethics and society. You will also have enough free elective units to minor (or even double-major), and travel abroad without slowing down your degree progress.

Learn by Doing

From analyzing the ethics of human colonization of space to evaluating the implications of artificial intelligence, you will learn to apply philosophy to all aspects of life. You will learn to investigate the underlying assumptions and methods of society in order to address issues about the nature of these subjects and the contributions they make to human understanding.

Students sitting at a table discussing documents.

Partner with Business

Partner with companies around California to develop philosophically-driven ethical analysis.

Our Graduates

Many philosophy graduates pursue law school and become practicing lawyers. Some continue their philosophy education to become teachers and university professors. Other graduates pursue careers as diverse as technology, real estate and medicine.