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 Team has one of the most successful records of competitive debate in the United States.
  • Philosophy majors are intellectually equipped for the pursuit of advanced studies in a broad range of fields.
  • Philosophy majors receive some of the highest scores on admissions tests for law and medical schools.
  • Clemson’s philosophy faculty will challenge you, immerse you, mentor you and force you out of your comfort zone.
  • Hardin Hall is home for Clemson’s philosophy students. Originally built in 1890, the building has been renovated twice and is arguably the most beautiful historic classroom building on campus.


You’ll take numerous history classes as well as course work in the humanities (other than philosophy), math, science and social sciences. All philosophy majors must complete a philosophy portfolio in their junior year. Students in philosophy choose from one of three distinct emphasis areas.

Philosophy Emphasis: Learn about ancient and modern philosophy, and choose from a wide range of philosophical topics tailored to your interests and career plans.

Law, Liberty and Justice Emphasis: This emphasis is primarily for pre-law students. In addition to the core classes in ancient and modern philosophy, you will 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.*

Religious Studies Emphasis: In addition to the core classes in ancient and modern philosophy, you will take classes in world religions, the Old Testament and New Testament and selected studies in religion and philosophy.

* 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.

The Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl Competition is a modified form of debate centered around case studies that raise questions of practical and applied ethics. Some 40 teams from across the U.S. compete each year.
Clemson’s faculty in philosophy and religious studies are closely engaged with their students. Conversation and debate continue long after class is over, as students hone their skills in logic, rhetoric and critical thinking.
Creative Inquiry allows students to take on problems that spring from their own curiosity or from the pressing needs of the world around them. Team-based investigations are led by a faculty mentor and typically span two to four semesters.
Selected competitively, a philosophy major is supported for five weeks of intensive work in the law with different offices at the South Carolina Supreme Court, under direct supervision of the Chief Staff Attorney.
Clemson’s philosophy faculty are deeply focused and prolific writers on diverse topics in philosophy, such as progressive political thought, gender and sexuality, applied ethics and various interpretations of the New Testament.


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.

    University of Georgia Law
  • 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


  • Education
    • Government
      • Ethics
        • Law
          • Writing
            • International Business
              • Social Services
                • Religiously Affiliated Areas

                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.

                Bill Maker

                Department Chair and Professor of Philosophy