Do you like to question assumptions and traditions? Are you interested in honing your logical skills so as to better understand the world and become better at rational persuasion?

As a philosophy major at East Carolina, you will study ancient, modern, and contemporary philosophy. You will consider, and attempt to answer, questions like the following: What is the ultimate nature of reality? What is knowledge, and can anything really be known? What is the nature of a person? What is free will, and are people free? What is the right way to live your life? You will learn a body of philosophical knowledge, and you will develop your skills in ethical decision-making. You will also sharpen your analytical and logical skills: you will learn better how to think, argue, and protect yourself against rhetorical tricks.

Studying philosophy will help you think, challenge authority and assumptions, and discuss age-old conundrums and newly discovered paradoxes, with smart and interesting people who will push you to think outside the box.

ECU Advantage

Many majors will teach you particular skills that may be useful for certain jobs. But it is shortsighted to view your major as job training. This is true for several reasons. One is that you often don't end up in the profession you thought you would. Another is that nowadays most people change professions, often more than once, during their work careers. Also, the skills and knowledge required for a particular profession might be obsolete 10 or 20 years later. What you want from your major is to develop the skills and knowledge that will never become obsolete, and which will be the foundation for any good job you could ever have. This is why philosophy is special: it teaches you how to think, how to articulate nuanced ideas, how to argue for or against a claim, and how to draw out the surprising implications of a view.

The study of philosophy prepares you for any good career you want. (This is borne out by the high scores on standardized professional school tests and mid-career salary data for philosophy majors.) ECU's Department of Philosophy has a high ratio of instructors to majors, so you can expect more one-on-one face time and individual attention from your instructors and adviser. Our graduates go on to all sorts of careers, from professor to lawyer, to medical doctor to horse trainer to security consultant.

What You Will Study

Program Coordinator: John Collins (355-A Brewster Building; 252-328-6112; collinsjo@ecu.edu)

Minimum degree requirement is 120 s.h. of credit as follows:

1. General education requirements - 40 s.h.

(For information about courses that carry general education credit see General Education Program.)

    2. Demonstrated foreign language proficiency through level 2004 - 12 s.h.

    (For information about the foreign language requirement see Special Requirements for the BA Degree and Placement Testing, Foreign Language.)

      3. Core - 30 s.h.

      Choose a minimum of 12 s.h. of PHIL above 2999.

      The department encourages majors to enroll in junior-senior courses as soon as they are eligible.

        4. Pre-law concentration - 21 s.h.


        • PHIL 1180 - Introduction to Critical Reasoning or
        • PHIL 1500 - Introduction to Logic
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        • PHIL 1175 - Introduction to Ethics or
        • PHIL 1176 - Introduction to Social and Political Philosophy or
        • PHIL 2275 - Professional Ethics

        • PHIL 2282 - Philosophy of Law

        • PHIL 4270 - Ethics or
        • PHIL 4276 - Social and Political Philosophy
        • Choose 9 s.h. from the following:
          • CLAS 1300 - Greek and Latin for Vocabulary Building
          • HIST 3011 - Constitutional History of the United States Since 1888
          • POLS 3204 - The American Judiciary
          • POLS 3223 - Constitutional Powers
          • POLS 3224 - Civil Liberties
          • POLS 4175 - Legal Negotiation and Analysis
          • SOCI 4320 - Sociology of Law
          • SOCI 4322 - Law and Social Change

        Pre-law concentration philosophy (PHIL) courses may also count toward the required core courses.

          5. Minor and electives to complete requirements for graduation.
            For more information about this degree visit the university's academic catalogs.

            Careers With This Degree

            Graduates with this degree are successful in many fields and careers, including the following:

            • Philosophy
            • Philosophy
            • Philosophy & Religion Teachers, Postsecondary
            • Law
            • Business/Entrepreneur
            • Medicine

            Career Opportunities

            ECU has developed resources to help you learn more about career opportunities and job market outlook. In addition, the websites below provide specific information on careers in the various majors from which students may choose:

            NC Tower

            This website provides graphs and tables of in-depth information on employment rates, wages and ongoing higher education enrollment of graduates from the North Carolina Community College System and from the University of North Carolina system schools. NC Tower includes data on former UNC students who are working in roughly 90% of all jobs in North Carolina. This database excludes information for graduates who are:

            • Self-employed;
            • Work for the federal government, including the military: or
            • Work outside of North Carolina.

            US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook

            This website also provides in-depth information regarding pay, projected new jobs, required education, growth rate and on-the-job training information on various occupations.

            Degree-specific internships

            For information on internship information for specific majors, go to the home page of the department in which the major is located and, as available, find the link to the information on internships in that major.