Philosophy (B.A.)


Who studies philosophy? How about comedian Stephen Colbert, political activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, for starters? The word “philosophia” means “love of wisdom,” and — true to their name — philosophers have challenged, enlightened and sustained human society since the time of the ancient Greeks. Clemson’s philosophy degree will help you gain a broad understanding of the human condition and develop the ability to bring critical thinking and organizational skills to creative problem solving. The philosophy major is especially well regarded as preparation for law and medical school. Graduates also pursue graduate work in a wide variety of humanities, social sciences and other disciplines. With three distinct emphasis areas: philosophy; law, liberty and justice; and religious studies, Clemson’s program is well equipped to meet your specific career goals. 


  • Clemson’s Ethics Bowl public policy debate team has one of the most successful records of competitive debate in the United States.
  • According to the "Wall Street Journal," philosophy is the top earning humanities major, ranking above chemistry, accounting and business management for midcareer earning potential.
  • Our students go on to careers in business, management, policy analysis, real estate, law and health care.
  • Philosophy majors receive some of the highest scores on admissions tests for law and medical schools, and recent Clemson philosophy majors have been admitted to the top law schools in the country.
  • Philosophy majors conduct research alongside faculty members on topics of their choosing. Recent research topics include media influences on beliefs and animal rights.


Clemson’s philosophy degree will help you gain a broad understanding of the human condition and develop the ability to bring critical thinking and organizational skills to creative problem solving. The philosophy major is especially well regarded as preparation for law and medical school. Along with core courses in ancient, modern and contemporary philosophy, you’ll take specialized courses of your choosing from offerings as diverse as social philosophy, environmental ethics, philosophy of mind/cognitive science, and philosophy of film.

Emphasis Areas

Philosophy: This gives students great flexibility in their course work. You’ll learn about ancient and modern philosophy, and will choose from a wide range of philosophical topics tailored to your interests and career plans.*

Law, Liberty and Justice: This emphasis area is primarily for pre-law students and others with a particular interest in questions of social justice and law. In addition to the core classes in ancient and modern philosophy, you’ll take classes in moral philosophy, social and political philosophy, philosophy of law and legal history. A pre-law internship is advised, and the department works with students to arrange it.

*Pre-law and pre-medicine students majoring in philosophy should consult their departmental adviser for help in tailoring the program to their needs.

Popular Minors

  • Economics
  • Financial Management
  • Psychology


Your academic home, Hardin Hall, is a central hub of critical inquiry at Clemson. Here you will find myriad opportunities to engage with other students, as well as faculty, outside the classroom.

Philosophy and religious studies faculty are closely engaged with students. Debate and conversation continue long after class is over, as students hone their skills in logic, rhetoric and critical thinking.
We offer several internship opportunities, including a congressional internship in Washington, D.C., and one with the South Carolina Supreme Court  under direction of the chief staff attorney.
Students can take on Creative Inquiry research projects and work in teams led by a faculty mentor or pursue independent research projects with a faculty adviser.
The Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl Competition is a modified form of debate centered on case studies that raise questions of practical and applied ethics. More than 100 teams from across the U.S. compete each year.
Our philosophy faculty are focused, prolific writers on diverse topics including political thought, gender and sexuality, emotion theory, biomedical ethics, philosophy and film, and European and Chinese philosophy.
Our speaker series brings nationally and internationally-known faculty to Clemson to discuss issues with students.


Your college decision isn't really about the next four years. We get it. It's about what doors are opened by your degree and whether those opportunities are what you had envisioned for yourself. Here's a snapshot of what life after graduation looks like for some of our most recent students.


  • 41-100%
  • 21-40%
  • 11-20%
  • 0-10%


  • Broker

    Cushman & Wakefield
  • Sales Executive

  • Webmaster

    Strom Thurmond Institute
  • Engineering Technologist

    The Shaw Group, Inc.


  • J.D.

    Yale Law School
  • Master of Divinity

    Duke Divinity School
  • J.D.

    Harvard Law School
  • Master’s

    The Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University
  • J.D.

    University of South Carolina School of Law
  • Ph.D. Philosophy

    Brown University
  • J.D.

    Stanford Law School
  • M.D.

    Medical University of South Carolina


  • Business
    • Health Professions
      • Education
        • Law
          • Government
            • Real Estate
              • Information Technology

                FIND OUT MORE

                Have more questions or want more information? Fill out the form below, which goes directly to the following department contact. If you’d also like to receive general University information from Clemson’s admissions office, please follow the link to the right and sign up to join our mailing list.

                Charles Starkey

                Interim Department Chair and Associate Professor

                Clemson moments are the best moments.

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