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Online Bachelor’s in Philosophy Degree Programs (Philosophy Major)

Online bachelor’s in philosophy degree programs allow students to study the nature of knowledge, reality, and existence while developing critical thinking, moral and ethical reasoning, and writing and communication skills. Students may focus on learning to identify and assess philosophical ideas and perceptions and create arguments to back up their findings. Subjects considered may include free will, human consciousness, our place in the world, morality, and religion. Graduates of bachelor’s in philosophy degree programs may find careers in journalism, human resources, marketing, arbitration, civil service, health services, paralegal services, and chaplain services.

What is a Bachelor’s in Philosophy Degree Program?

A bachelor’s degree in philosophy prepares graduates to pursue a variety of professions due to the number of applicable talents learned throughout the program. While studying complex texts and philosophical ideas, students often learn key transferable skills such as critical thinking, logic, argument development and delivery, moral and ethical reasoning skills, situational analysis, and effective communication, writing, and summarization skills. This humanities degree path provides students with the opportunity to ponder and assess often difficult questions with no clear-cut answers. Key course topics may include metaphysics, logic, the philosophy of the mind, the history of ancient and modern philosophies, analytical reasoning, metaethics, ethical theory, social and political philosophy, the philosophy of sex and love, and the philosophy of language.

Online Bachelor’s in Philosophy Programs

Online bachelor’s in philosophy programs offer the same curriculum as their campus-based equivalents. Distance learning programs use a learning management system (LMS) to deliver course materials and components in an online environment. In the LMS, students have access to syllabi, lectures, videos, case studies, reading materials, and discussion boards. Faculty/student interaction typically occurs through email, online office hours, and discussion boards. Online bachelor’s in philosophy programs can be a significant benefit to students who may not be able to travel to campus or who would prefer learning in a flexible online environment. Note that certain programs may require a limited number of campus visits, but many online bachelor’s programs are offered fully online.

How Identifies and Classifies Online Bachelor’s in Philosophy Degree Programs

Bachelor’s in philosophy programs are typically offered as a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree or a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree. The programs may be similar, however, B.A. in Philosophy degrees may focus more on the humanities with classes such as religion, literature, history, and languages. B.S. in Philosophy degrees focus more on science and math in addition to philosophy courses. Some universities also offer both degree types that vary in terms of their non-major requirements. Bachelor’s in philosophy programs may be offered through Colleges of Arts and Sciences, humanities departments, or Colleges of Liberal Arts. Common program names may include:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy
  • Bachelor of Arts with a Major in Philosophy
  • Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy & Religious Studies
  • Bachelor of Liberal Studies in Philosophy
  • Bachelor of Science in Philosophy

Through independent research of online degree programs, identifies bachelor’s programs in philosophy based on several factors including their curricula and designated program names. Programs classified as bachelor’s in philosophy programs offer a foundational curriculum in the study of the nature of knowledge, reality, and existence; provide opportunities for the study of the history of philosophy and contemporary philosophy; and cover subjects such as logic, ethics, and analytical reasoning. Additionally, programs on the site must be offered by regionally accredited, non-profit colleges and universities. They must also offer all or most of their instruction online. Programs that require students to attend more than two campus-based sessions per year are considered hybrid programs and are not currently listed on the site.

What Students Learn in Online Bachelor’s in Philosophy Programs

Philosophy students may study classical and contemporary philosophers and thinkers, fundamentals of philosophy, moral and ethical reasoning, philosophical ideas and issues, concepts of good vs. bad and right vs. wrong, free will, human consciousness, morality, and specific philosophies. Each program will offer different courses depending on the main focus of the philosophy program. Through studying the nature of reality, knowledge, and existence, philosophy students develop important skills including moral and ethical reasoning, writing and communication skills, critical thinking skills, and how to build arguments for or against a certain philosophy.

In addition, some programs may focus on one or all of the four schools of philosophical thought: idealism, realism, pragmatism, and existentialism. Idealism and realism have their roots in the works of ancient Greek philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates, whereas pragmatism and existentialism have their roots in contemporary philosophy.

Common Courses in Online Bachelor’s in Philosophy Programs

The table below provides an overview of coursework that is typical of a bachelor’s in philosophy curriculum. The courses and their descriptions are drawn from actual online programs in philosophy.

Course TitleCourse Description
Introduction to PhilosophyA basic study of philosophical concepts and issues.
Introduction to LogicA study of philosophical reasoning designed to distinguish between good and bad reasoning; move from a place of informal logic to formal, deductive reasoning; includes a study of sentential logic.
EthicsExamination of right vs. wrong and good vs. evil.
Social and Political PhilosophyAn introduction to questions about the nature of foundations of law, how law relates to morality, and how law relates to society; includes an examination of responsibility, natural consequences, and punishment.
Engineering EthicsIncludes studies of codes of professional ethics in engineering, moral and ethical problem solving, best practices, honesty, employer responsibility to the public, morality concerning management issues, ethical research, and how technology relates to the environment.
History of Ancient and Medieval PhilosophyThe study of philosophy from Greek times to the middle ages; includes the study of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, and other relevant philosophers.
American PhilosophyExamination of philosophers such as Emerson, Jefferson, Edwards, Dewey, Royce, Whitehead, and others; focuses on readings in American philosophy.
Philosophy of MindAn examination of the nature of consciousness including behaviorism, dualism, materialism, functionalism, knowledge of one’s own mind and the minds of others.
MetaphysicsAn examination of the nature of reality including the nature of substance, minds, universals, and space and time.
Contemporary Analytic PhilosophyThe study of 20th-century philosophers such as Russell, Moore, Ayer, Wisdom, Austin, Strawson, and Quine in relation to metaphysics and epistemology.

Admissions to Online Bachelor’s in Philosophy Programs

Admissions requirements for online bachelor’s in philosophy programs vary by school and whether a program has open versus selective admissions. Colleges with open admissions accept all students who meet their admissions requirements, whereas, schools with selective admissions do not. In addition to a high school diploma or equivalent, admissions requirements may include minimum GPA scores, a rank in the top 20% of the graduating class, or acceptable ACT or SAT scores. Application materials may also include an application and fee, official transcripts, a personal statement or answers to essay questions, and letters of recommendations.

Finally, some programs include requirements for high school coursework completion. These may include:

  • 4 years of Math
  • 4 years of English
  • 2 years of Social Sciences
  • 3 years of lab sciences such as biology, earth science, chemistry, or physics
  • 2 years of a single foreign language (i.e. 2 years of Spanish)
  • 1 year of fine arts or career/technical education

Bachelor’s programs typically do not require work experience, although some programs may prefer applicants who have at least one or two years of work experience post-high school. There are also bachelor’s completion programs that require applicants to have earned a minimum number of transferable credits (often 60 or more semester credits) and/or an associate’s degree.

Online Bachelor’s in Philosophy Format Options

Online bachelor’s in philosophy degree programs are designed to provide a significant level of flexibility to students who do not wish to travel to or live on campus. Programs are typically full-time and include four years of undergraduate education. Outlined below are structural and instructional variables that online students should be familiar with as they research programs.

In addition, most online bachelor’s in philosophy programs do not require campus visits, although it is possible some programs may incorporate on-campus sessions into their curriculum. does not currently include bachelor’s in philosophy degree programs that require more than two campus visits per year.

Asynchronous vs. Synchronous Instruction: For programs that predominantly use asynchronous instruction, students view lectures, work on assignments, and participate in discussion boards on their own schedule without having to be online at specific times for live classes. Asynchronous instruction provides students with greater flexibility, but may be more suitable for highly self-motivated, organized students who do well completing assignments without the structure of traditional courses that have set weekly lectures. While students are able to complete their assignments at any time during the day or night, programs that utilize asynchronous instruction often still have due dates for assignments and participation in discussion boards.

Synchronous course delivery includes set class times where students log in to live, online sessions. This type of instruction more closely resembles traditional on-campus programs. Students who prefer face-to-face interaction, real-time teaching, and the ability to ask questions and participate in breakout rooms with peers may prefer programs that incorporate synchronous sessions into their curriculum. However, because students must be available for live online sessions, these programs are typically not as flexible as programs that mainly use asynchronous instruction.

Full-Time vs. Part-Time Enrollment: Typically, online bachelor’s programs are offered full-time and can be completed in three to four years of enrollment depending on whether a student takes courses year-round (i.e., fall, spring, and summer terms). However, working students may be able to take fewer courses per term if they attend a program that offers part-time enrollment options. In addition, many online programs use alternative academic calendars that allow students to focus on fewer courses per session and still graduate in the same amount of time. Therefore, students who plan on working while earning their degree should consult with an admissions advisor to better understand their enrollment options before applying to online programs.

Directory of Online Bachelor’s in Philosophy Programs

School NameProgram
Arizona State University Online Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy
Fort Hays State University Online Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy with Optional Certificates of Emphasis in General Philosophy, Moral and Political Philosophy, and Philosophy of Religion
Franciscan University of Steubenville Online Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy
Oregon State University Online B.A. or B.S. in Philosophy
Portland State University Online B.A. or B.S. in Philosophy
Spring Hill College Online B.S. in Philosophy, Politics and Economics
The University of Arizona Online Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy - Ethics Specialization
The University of Memphis Online B.A. in Philosophy - Concentration in Applied Ethics
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro Online Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy
University of Colorado Colorado Springs Online Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy
University of Illinois Springfield Online Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy
University of Missouri-St. Louis Online Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy
University of New Orleans Online Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy
Valdosta State University Online Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy & Religious Studies