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College of Arts and Sciences

Philosophy explores the basic concepts of self-identity, knowledge, reality and morality. The department of philosophy and religious studies offers you the opportunity to explore deep-rooted values and ideals playing a role in shaping the world, its people, and cultures.
What is Philosophy?

Philosophy is an ancient discipline with a modern sensibility. It is ancient in that it attempts to find answers to life's most enduring and difficult questions:

What is the purpose of human life?

Does God exist?

What is real and what is hallucination?

How can I know anything for sure?

Why should I be ethical?

Philosophy is modern in that it will prepare you for a workplace where the ability to think and learn is more important than any specific skill. As more job functions are computerized, automated or outsourced, workers today must be able to think abstractly and learn quickly if they want to be indispensable.

Although many other disciplines, such as astronomy, biology and psychology, were outgrowths of philosophy, philosophy is special because its purpose is to teach you "how" to think, not "what" to think.

Students of philosophy concentrate on how to read and observe critically, how to break-down arguments into reasons, how to criticize arguments, and how to create new arguments of their own. By studying Socrates, Aristotle, Aquinas, Descartes, Sartre and others, students master the "transferable" skills that make them stand out in today's globally competitive job market.

Learning Environment

Most philosophy courses are small (5-15 students), making in-depth discussion both likely and productive. Students are active participants in the learning environment and are expected to bring their own ideas and experiences to bear on the philosophical issues at hand.

Classes are typically structured around a problem in philosophy and its potential solutions.

Expect short lectures punctuated by discussion and writing exercises.

Travel Opportunities

You will have the opportunity to travel on college-sponsored trips to a variety of U.S. sites or international countries each year through Doane's Interterm (in January or May). Recent trips have been taken to:

  • Paris
  • England
  • Africa
  • Ireland
  • Guatemala
  • Mexico
  • Israel
  • Sweden


Travel Scholarship

All juniors and seniors are provided funds to help with costs associated with college-sponsored trips, via Doane's unique Travel Scholarship. Many students have used this scholarship to travel/study abroad for the first time.


All students are encouraged to participate in at least one internship while attending Doane. These internships provide hands-on experience in a field matching the student's interests.

Specialized Program Opportunities

Students are encouraged to write and present original essays at local undergraduate philosophy conferences.

Advanced students may act as research assistants and travel with a professor to present papers at professional philosophy conferences as well.


View detailed course information

Minimum of one (3) credit PRE or RST prefixed course

Twelve additional credits in PHI, PRE, or RST

Twelve additional credits in PHI, PRE, or RST, (3) credits of which must be at the 400 level, excluding