Majors and Minors
About the Major
A major may be earned by taking 30 semester hours in Philosophy. Philosophy majors must complete a comprehensive examination consisting of essay questions on broad philosophical topics with significant reference to philosophers and philosophic positions central to the western philosophical tradition. Students will be eligible to take this examination after completing 75 hours of course credit and at least two History of Philosophy courses.
About the Minor
A minor consists of a minimum of 15 hours in Philosophy and includes at least two upper-division courses.
Majors may attain Departmental Honors in Philosophy by meeting the following requirements:
- Maintain an overall 3.5 grade point average in philosophy.
- Complete satisfactorily one of the following courses: Great Philosophers, Advanced Topics in Ethics, or 300-level Special Topics in Philosophy.
- Present an honors thesis based on a closely supervised research project to be approved by all members of the Department.
Outreach and Engaged Learning
During most summers the philosophy department leads a study abroad program. Students learn philosophy relevant to the location visited, and have opportunities to link philosophical study to the art, architecture and culture of the region. Past study abroad locations have included Athens, Paris, and Florence.
Undergraduate Research Opportunities
Upper level students have the opportunity to participate in an intensive study of some significant topic in philosophy, not otherwise covered in departmental course offerings, as well as a Senior Seminar in philosophical skill development, and an independent study, all which contain significant opportunities for research and presentation.
Faculty Interface and Class Size
Philosophy courses are generally discussion-oriented, with a high priority placed on engaging students and personalized attention. Lecturing to large numbers of students is not part of the Mercer philosophy program. Typical class sizes for upper-division courses are less than 15 students. Many majors work one-on-one with a faculty member on student-developed research projects.
A philosophy degree is good preparation for nearly any career. Philosophy majors on average do exceptionally well on graduate exams, including LSAT, GRE, GMAT, and MCAT.
Many philosophy majors go on to graduate school; law school is a very common choice. Recent graduates have also gone to medical school, and a wide variety of masters and PhD programs, including: philosophy, mathematics, classics, public administration, and middle eastern studies.
Many philosophy majors go on to teach, including several who have served with Teach for America.
Philosophy majors are disproportionately found in leadership positions. Majors hold a number of prominent positions in local government: one recent graduate is the Executive Director of the Macon-Bibb County Urban Development Authority. Until recently the presidents of each of the three four-year colleges in Macon were philosophy majors.