Philosophy pursues questions in every dimension of human life, and its techniques apply to problems in any field or study or endeavor. It is a reasoned pursuit of fundamental truths, a quest for understanding, a study of principles and conduct. Philosophy seeks to establish standards of evidence, to provide rational methods of resolving conflicts and of evaluating ideas. Philosophy develops the capacity to see the world from the perspective of other persons and other cultures; and it deepens one's sense of the meaning and varieties of human experience.
Camaraderie, faculty attention, and choice of programs are just a few reasons students choose to major in philosophy at Hofstra and to pair it with other studies.
Hofstra offers a BA or BS in Philosophy; a BA in Pre-health with a concentration in Philosophy; and minors in Ethics, Philosophy; Philosophy of Law; Philosophy, Society and Business; Cognitive Science and Data Analysis and Scientific Reasoning.
The Student Experience
Philosophy’s atmosphere is collegial, tight-knit and intellectually-stimulating atmosphere. We host regular events involving philosophical discussion, including presentations by philosophers and other professionals, discussions on specific topics or films, informal gatherings, and an annual philosophy conference at which students present their own work. We have an active Philosophy Club and a chapter of the Phi Sigma Tau honor society.
Meet Your Professors
The Philosophy faculty are scholars actively engaged in research. Animal studies and environmental ethics, feminism, scientific reasoning and data analysis, philosophy of law and religion, and metaphysics are just some of their areas of expertise.
In their classes, you’ll examine fundamental issues such as the nature of truth, existence, justice, goodness, beauty, and knowledge. Through courses in ancient, modern and contemporary philosophy, you will become a creative problem solver who can make sense of complex information in a modern world.
Did You Know?
Philosophy majors outperform most other majors on all graduate exams, such as LSATs, GREs, GMATs, and MCATs. Because it sharpens comprehension and reasoning skills, it’s considered one of the best kept secrets when it comes to preparing for admittance to law school and medical school.
Students of philosophy go on to become business and political leaders, lawyers, doctors, writers, filmmakers, judges, and many other things.
Famous people who have studied philosophy include US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg; Supreme Court Justice David Souter; PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel; best-selling author, journalist, and lawyer Glenn Greenwald; former NBA coach Phil Jackson; actors Harrison Ford and Susan Sarandon; filmmaker Ethan Coen; comedians The Lucas Brothers, Stephen Colbert, Ricky Gervais and Jimmy Kimmel; and many others.
Having a major in philosophy on your resume broadcasts to employers that you are a bright, hard worker who is well-versed in history and the challenges of our time. You are someone who asks questions when warranted and can engage in healthy debate. You also know how to research and present complicated information.
A Hofstra philosophy degree opens doors to prestigious career opportunities. Recent alumni are working at JPMorgan Chase & Co. the U.S. House of Representatives, the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation, Northwell Health, Penn State University, the U.S. Army, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York, and Vivint, Inc.
Philosophy majors outperform most other majors on the GREs (they are high performers in both the verbal and analytical reasoning sections), the LSATs, the MCATs, and the GMATs, according to Educational Testing Services. Hofstra graduates who have opted to pursue advanced degrees are doing so at the University of Luxembourg, King's College London, Loyola University, New School, Trinity College, University of Connecticut, CUNY Hunter College, Villanova University, and Georgia State University.
The Philosophy Department encourages any Philosophy major with an overall GPA of at least 3.4 and a department GPA of at least 3.5 in Philosophy to consider writing an Honors Thesis and standing for Departmental Honors. A minimum of 15 semester hours in Philosophy is required — 18 s.h. in Philosophy is strongly recommended — before attempting an honors thesis. Learn more
Internships provide real-world experience and help focus an undergraduate’s professional goals. Within the Department of Philosophy and Hofstra’s Peter S. Kalikow School of Government, Public Policy and International Affairs, approximately 66 percent of students make an internship part of their academic experience. Most have completed more than one.
For more information, contact the Hofstra Center for Career Design and Development at 516-463-6060 or visit the website.
Our colloquium series features regional and international speakers and topics like “How biology is changing our politics,” “Does evil exist?” and “The value of humanism.”
Events such as “Ask A Philosopher,” “Reasoning Evening,” “Philosophy in Film,” invite students and faculty to share ideas in an informal setting.
More about the department
Debut Novelist Discusses Her Philosophy Studies
Michelle Hart '11, whose novel "We Do What We Do In The Dark" is receiving acclaim from TIME, The New York Times, and The Los Angeles Times, discusses why she paired her studies in English with a major in Philosophy. "I ended up taking a course on the 'Philosophy of Literature' [with Dr. Mark McEvoy] and very quickly realized how closely linked those two subjects were. Together, I felt they gave my life purpose and shape," she said. (Photo by Candice Singh)
Celebrating His Paper's Publication
“Punishment for the Failed Criminal,” a paper by philosophy major Evan Lopes ’23, has been published in the undergraduate philosophy journal Ephermeris. In the piece, Lopes analyzes the similarities and differences between successful criminal acts and attempted but failed criminal acts. The measure of punishment for each should be the same, he argues. Whether or not there was resulting harm is incidental.
Fellowships for Philosophy Research
Students Rocco Distefano and Simon Ignat were awarded Hofstra’s Firestone Fellowship, an award that allowed them to continue research projects over the summer. Distefano focused his research on systematic racism and its impact on immigrant populations on Long Island from the 1920s to 1990s. Ignat studied the works of Nietzsche. (Distefano and Ignat are pictured with classmate Kayla Hernandez.)
Grad Studies in Luxembourg
A high school introduction to philosophy sparked an obsession for Casey Grippo. At Hofstra she immersed herself in the study of philosophy and Europe’s age of enlightenment. The Phi Beta Kappa student continued her studies at the preeminent University of Luxembourg to pursue a master’s in modern and contemporary European philosophy.
The Heart of the Matter
With curiosity and a little bit of detective work, everything in the universe can become interesting. Philosophy Professor and Chair Amy Baehr knows this, as an innate, almost unpleasant, inquisitiveness has guided her since childhood. (Profile by The Hofstra Chronicle.)
Path to Philosophy
Philosophy has a lofty sound to it, evoking an ancient, elite discipline of unanswerable questions. But in the hands of Professor Karofsky, or “Prof. K” as she is affectionately known, students discover the sheer accessibility of philosophy. (Profile by The Hofstra Chronicle.)
“KANT and the Meaning of Religion”
Dr. Godlove, professor of philosophy and religion, is the author of "Kant and the Meaning of Religion," published by Columbia University Press.
The book discusses how Immanuel Kant’s philosophy of religion contributed to our secular age in which belief and especially unbelief have become real options for millions of people.
Guiding Student Research
The adviser for Hofstra's interdisciplinary minor in Scientific Reasoning and Data Analysis, Associate Professor Christopher Eliot has taught in Hofstra’s Philosophy and Biology Departments and in its Rabinowitz Honors College. He was named Hofstra's 2017 Mentor of the Year, an annual award that honors outstanding faculty supervision of advanced undergraduate research.