The philosophy department offers both a major and a minor in philosophy. The bachelor of arts in philosophy includes courses in the history of philosophy, logic and critical reasoning, ethics, and a variety of specialized courses such as Philosophy of Happiness, Philosophy of Death, Philosophy of Mind, Reality and knowledge, Perspectives on Evil and the Holocaust, Alternatives to Violence, Philosophical Perspectives of Women, and Philosophy and Religion of the Eastern World. It is designed to work well with a second major, and a degree in philosophy complements most other degree programs.
Learn about philosophy alumni Seth Christopher
"My Salem State experience provided me with the opportunity to pursue a high-quality education at an affordable cost. I was guided by a plethora of amazing professors in both of my majors, who provided worldly and professional advice that has paid off in spades after graduation."
The BS in philosophy will teach you how to critically analyze and evaluate arguments, how to effectively communicate diverse points of view, and how to apply the tools of philosophical analysis to contemporary problems and debates. Students pursuing a degree in philosophy not only learn valuable skills that will help them in their careers. They also learn to ask important questions about how to live and live well, what it means to be a citizen in today’s world, and how to engage in a dialogue with positions and views different from their own.
Our major is supported by a developing internship program, and it includes a capstone course resulting in a senior thesis which prepares students well for the job market or graduate school. The major is also an excellent fit for the 3+3 pre-law program with UMass Dartmouth. A new course—PHL 225 Critical Reasoning and the Law—has been added as an elective to facilitate students’ progress toward the completion of pre-law degree.
Students in the major develop the ability to:
Analyze and evaluate arguments
Effectively communicate and critically assess diverse points of view
Apply the tools of philosophical analysis to contemporary problems and debates
Generate ideas as well as formulate and solve problems
Integrate diverse data and summarize complex material
Elicit hidden assumptions and identify prejudicial and biased thinking
Most importantly, understood in its classical sense as the practice of reflection and sustained self-examination, Philosophy is the practice of living meaningfully. Students pursuing a degree in philosophy not only learn valuable skills that will help them in their careers, but they also learn to ask important questions about how to live and live well, what it means to be a citizen in today’s world, and how to engage in a dialogue with positions and views different from their own.
Philosophy majors regularly outperform all other majors on the GRE, the LSAT, and the MCAT. So, if you are interested in graduate school, a philosophy major prepares you for success. In addition, majors in philosophy also fare better than other liberal arts majors (and many “career” majors) in terms of salary and career earnings. In fact, philosophy majors are the highest paid class of liberal arts graduates of 2016, while at the same time having among the highest employment rate. A philosophy degree prepares you not only to live well, but to do well in your chosen profession.
The education in philosophy changed my life and my way of thinking. Philosophy pushes one to learn to view and assess everything, especially arguments, in a completely different manner. It is as if you must unlearn what you have learned most of your life and allow your brain to be challenged in newer ways. My love for Philosophy solidified my desire to pursue a law degree and enabled me to succeed. – Sarah Accar '16
My favorite memory is of my participation in the North Shore Undergraduate Philosophy Conference hosted at Salem State in 2017. Having the chance to present an essay I wrote, discuss it, and receive feedback from peers and professors was a great opportunity. The post-conference dinner with the Philosophy Club at Bertini’s was, likewise, a fun time that led to much continued, worthwhile discussion. - Jeremy Mele '17
Philosophy students go on to pursue a number of careers and further educational opportunities. Highlights from previous graduates include:
Rachel Kaplan '16 graduated with a BS in psychology and a BA in philosophy. She is completing her graduate studies in applied developmental psychology and intends to apply her knowledge to clinical work and research in psychology.
Jaakov Lipsker '18 graduated with a BA in philosophy. He is pursing a PhD at the Kekst Graduate School of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City.
Caitlin McCarriston '17 graduated with a BS in philosophy. She is pursuing her masters in social work at Simmons University, and she is also a practicing child and family therapist at the mental health and suicide prevention non-profit called Minding Your Mind.
Sarah Accar '16 graduated with a BS in psychology and a philosophy major. She just completed her law degree studies and passed the Massachusetts Bar Examination. Sarah was awarded the 2021 Clinical Legal Education Award for excellence in clinic fieldwork and for exceptionally thoughtful, self-reflective participation in an accompanying clinic seminar in Immigration Law.