Major & Minor


Philosophy challenges assumptions and encourages fresh perspectives, cultivates creative thinking, logical reasoning, clear writing, broad learning, and teaches principles of valid argument.

Professor teaching philosophy

About the Philosophy Major

Studying philosophy at Southern Virginia University makes you a clearer thinker, a better writer, and a more persuasive speaker while pursuing truth, beauty, and goodness. While some areas of study prepare students narrowly for a specific career path, a philosophy major develops a skill set that is highly agile, transferrable, and respected. Southern Virginia philosophy courses cover major thinkers in the history of Western philosophy (Greece through modern Europe and America) as well as contemporary debates in metaphysics, ethics, epistemology and political philosophy.

The study of philosophy complements and enhances career goals and vocations by providing students with the skills and knowledge that are highly desired in many career paths. Students grounded in a solid philosophy education are better prepared for professional careers as they are able to apply sound logic, construct complex objective arguments, and quickly absorb, evaluate, and synthesize new information.

On average, philosophy majors outperform most other majors on the GRE, LSAT, GMAT, and medical school admission rates. Southern Virginia’s philosophy major provides outstanding preparation for graduate study in law, medicine, business, high tech, and other fields, with students attending graduate programs at MIT, the University of Virginia School of Law, the Virginia Commonwealth University’s Health Administration Program, and other high-ranking schools and programs.

Learning Outcomes

What you’ll learn in the Philosophy major:

  1. Basic knowledge of the history of Western philosophy.
  2. Basic knowledge of formal and informal logic.
  3. Understanding of central areas of philosophy and of some major historical figures or movements.
  4. Ability to explain and argue for philosophical positions in clear written English.

Career Opportunities

There is a wide array of potential careers with a philosophy degree, including jobs in social work, law, education, counseling, and more depending on your personal and professional goals.

  • Lawyer
  • Political Scientist
  • Professor
  • Family Doctor
  • Public Policy
  • Business Executive
  • Music Teacher

Getting Started in the Philosophy Major

Follow these simple steps below to get a head start in the
Philosophy Major today.


Begin by taking Reason and the Self (LIB 110) in your first year

Contact Your Advisor

Get in touch with New Tab, Open Bio for: Professor Jan-Erik Jones to discuss your interests and goals


Turn in a completed PDFDeclare Major Form to the Registrar’s Office

Questions? Contact the Registrar at

Philosophy Faculty

Professor John Armstrong

John Armstrong

Director, Honors Program; Professor of Philosophy

Professor Bryce Gessell

Bryce Gessell

Assistant Professor of Philosophy

Professor Jan-Erik Jones

Jan-Erik Jones

Professor of Philosophy; Humanities Division Chair; Philosophy Program Coordinator

“Philosophy is unavoidable. All humans do philosophy because life is full of big questions and we need equally big answers. In class we think about the fundamental questions of life and critically evaluate the most historically important answers to those questions.”

—Jan-Erik Jones, Philosophy Program Coordinator