Meet Your Major

As a philosophy major, you’ll sharpen your communication and critical-thinking skills while diving into life’s most persistent questions.

Philosophy courses expose students to some of life’s most persistent and important questions. They are designed to appeal to a variety of student interests and concerns. Nonmajors gain a richer education and preparation for work and life.

In addition to the general philosophy track, you may also concentrate in ethics and political philosophy. Your exposure to a range of concepts and academic skills will prepare you for a career in law, medicine, business or education.

What You’ll Learn

In the philosophy program, you will:

  • Learn how to think logically, critically and independently.
  • Improve your ability to communicate ideas and arguments clearly and effectively.
  • Review many ideas pioneered by the most influential philosophers of the last 2,500 years.
  • Discover ancient and modern theories of the nature of reality, knowledge, ethics and politics.
  • Gain the problem-solving and analytical skills to thrive in whichever career you choose.

Hands-On Learning

Contemplate with your contemporaries in the Philosophy Club, Merrimack’s home for philosophical discussion, debate and film events. Plus, if you maintain a GPA of 3.50 in all philosophy courses (and a 3.00 overall), you may be eligible to join Phi Sigma Tau, the philosophy international honor society.

Career Options

Upon successful completion of the philosophy program, you’ll be well-equipped to pursue a variety of careers in business, government or academia. Positions may include:

  • Doctor
  • Historian
  • Journalist
  • Lawyer
  • Political adviser
  • Professor
  • Teacher

What You’ll Take

All philosophy majors take a combination of required and elective courses to satisfy the 34-credit, nine-course requirement. You may elect to take the general philosophy track or concentrate in ethics and political philosophy.

General Track 

PHL 1xxx

Any 1000 level PHL course
Two courses in:    Ethics  *
One course in: History of Philosophy * 
One course in: Knowledge or Reality * 
Three Philosophy electives
PHL 4200

Special Topics (or approved equivalent)


Ethics and Political Philosophy Track 

PHL 1xxx Any 1000 level PHL course
Two courses in: Ethics *
One course in: History of Philosophy  *
Two: Philosophy electives
PHL 4200 Special Topics (or approved equivalent)

Two courses in Political Philosophy:

PHL 2040 Introduction to Political Philosophy 
PHL 2500 Theories of Justice
PHL 3010 Human Rights: Theory and Practice
PHL 3020 Philosophy of Law
PHL 3030 Global Justice
PHL 3060 Justice in Health and Healthcare

 * See list of area requirements for Ethics, History of Philosophy, Knowledge and Reality. 

Interested in a Career in Law?

Philosophy majors have consistently performed extremely well on the LSAT and have high rates of admission into law schools.

Philosophy develops skills that are recommended by the American Bar Association for pre-law students, including problem-solving; critical reading; writing and editing; oral communication and listening; and promotion of justice.

Many philosophy courses also expose students to the law by critically examining laws, proposed legal reforms and court cases. These include Philosophy of Law; Global Justice; Human Rights: Theory and Practice; Biomedical Ethics,; and Contemporary Moral Problems.

Associate Professor of Philosophy Sandra Raponi, adviser for the law, ethics and society minor, has a law degree in addition to a Ph.D. in philosophy. Email her for more information about how a degree in philosophy can help prepare you for law school.

Additional Resources