UBC Student attends a GoGlobal Seminar in order to receive more information & interact with fellow, to-be exchange students

Philosophy

The Department of Philosophy has a core focus on analytic philosophy, with special strength in the philosophy of mind, history and philosophy of science, value theory, and history of philosophy.

At its most basic, Philosophy can be framed by two deceptively simple questions: What can we know? and How should we live our lives?  At UBC, students of Philosophy will harness their curiosity and learn how to use logic to go beyond face-value assumptions and challenge accepted wisdom.  It is an opportunity to become more rigorous in your reasoning and learn to express your views persuasively and concisely.  Students have the opportunity to study Philosophy from a variety of approaches and perspectives. We offer courses in many historical periods, including Ancient Greek Philosophy, early Indian and Buddhist Philosophy and 17th and 18th century European Philosophy. We also offer courses that cover a variety of contemporary issues (some of which draw on the historical materials), such as philosophy of mind, philosophy of science, philosophy of language, metaphysics, epistemology, logic, ethics and political philosophy. The UBC Department of Philosophy offers various degree options in conjunction with Cognitive Systems, Economics, Political Science, and Science and Technology Studies. The Department features BA, MA, and PhD programs.

Get experience at UBC

Building your career takes more than attending academic lectures. Get involved with research and complement your studies with relevant research and applied experiences. Whether you choose one of the experiences listed below or one of the many other great opportunities available, you’ll learn new things, make new friends, network, and set yourself apart. It all counts.

Philosophy Students' Association and Undergraduate Journal

The Philosophy Students' Assocation (PSA) works closely with the Department and publishes its own undergraduate journal - the Hemlock. The PSA also organizes recreational and social gatherings in order to unite UBC's students of Philosophy. These events provide the ideal forum for interesting exchanges as well as academic and social enjoyment. 

Go Global 

Read Spinoza in the Netherlands, study Descartes in France, or discuss Confucius in China. Go Global programs let you learn about different schools of thought in Philosophy at your choice of over 150 partner universities worldwide.

Arts Co-op Program

Put your language skills and cultural knowledge to work for you. Gaining paid, full-time experience through an Arts Co-op term will help you explore careers in non-profits and community organizations, arts organizations, education, government, and the private sector with employers across Canada and abroad. Graduate with career skills, experience, and a network of professional contacts that will give you a competitive edge after graduation.

Arts Internship Program

Build a career while you are studying through part-time, unpaid internships. Exciting internships are being created in diverse non-profit and social service organizations where you can build your network and gain transferrable skills and competencies that employers look for in any industry. Apply your knowledge to the world of work and gain industry contacts along the way. Community partners in this program are looking for students like you to help them achieve their goals.

Community experience

Work and learn in community settings like non-profits and inner city schools. Take a course with a community-based experiential learning (CBEL) component and develop an understanding of community contexts and the systemic factors underlying community needs. Whether it’s a course or signing up for Trek & Reading Week placements, International Service Learning or a grant project in community, you’ll build skills in real-world settings and make invaluable connections with people in community.

Student Directed Seminars

The Student Directed Seminars program provides upper-year undergraduate students (in 3rd year or later) the opportunity to propose, coordinate, and lead their own 3-credit seminar class with a small group of peers on a topic not currently offered at UBC-Vancouver.  Each seminar brings together a group of highly-motivated students that explore and investigate a topic through learning activities including group discussions, research papers, presentations, guest lectures, applied problem-solving, and Community Service Learning.  This is a fantastic opportunity for Arts students to share their passion for a topic, as well as build key skills in the areas of facilitation, time management, peer-to-peer learning, and more.

Using your degree

Graduates of Philosophy at UBC are well equipped with many of the skills and abilities that are transferable, not just to other academic disciplines, but to other endeavors as well.    Communication skills, critical reasoning skills, and general problem-solving skills are all enhanced by work in philosophy. In addition, this field of study helps students develop sound methods of research and analysis. For an interesting take on the value of a Philosophy major check out this article from The Atlantic “Is Philosophy the Most Practical Major?

Career possibilities

As with most other majors in the Faculty of Arts, Philosophy graduates go on to pursue careers in a variety of fields, especially those where critical thinking and writing are useful skills.  Many Philosophy graduates who study formal logic extensively pursue careers in more technical fields, such as information technology.

Lawyer
Public Policy Analyst
Compensation/Benefits Co-ordinator
Arbitrator/Mediator
Opinion Researcher
Intelligence Officer
Professor
Advertising Coordinator
Admissions officer
Judicial Clerk
Research Coordinator
Community Worker
Youth Ambassador
Counsellor
Social Worker
Lobbyist
Political Aide
Speech Writer
Intelligence
Officer Foreign Service Officer
Biomedical Ethics
Paralegal Assistant
Underwriter
Journalist
Technical Writer
Alumni Relations Officer
Archivist
Humanities Bibliographer
Librarian

Academic possibilities

This degree prepares students for further study in a variety of fields such as:

Law
Philosophy
Business 
Economics
Political Science
Technology Studies

Alumni profiles

Resources