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About the Major

Who studies philosophy? How about comedian Stephen Colbert or political activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 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 very 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. (Students who major in philosophy do extremely well on not just the LSAT but also the GMAT -- you can find some illuminating charts comparing the scores of various majors.) Our graduates have gone on to study philosophy at Brown University, medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina, and law at Yale, Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, and Duke, among other places. With two distinct emphasis areas (a general philosophy track or "law, liberty and justice") Clemson’s program is well equipped to meet your specific career goals.

Standard Philosophy Major Requirements

Law, Liberty and Justice Emphasis (Pre-Law)

Pre-Med and Pre-Professional Health

Making a Global Difference: Scott Porter ('16)

Scott originally majored in Philosophy because of his interest in the content and the way it related to some fundamental issues. Being undecided on his career plans he decided, as he says, to start by focusing on who he wanted to be rather than what he wanted to be. He believes that his coursework in environmental ethics, existentialism, moral philosophy, identity, and self-knowledge as well as participation on a debate team opened him up to the world and influenced his minor area. The decision to minor in nonprofit leadership came naturally for Scott; after this philosophical examination he knew that he wanted to be doing something that helped others. His favorite philosophy courses have been seminar courses on political anarchism, a seminar on Jeff McMahan's The Ethics of Killing (a class that featured having the author travel from Oxford University to Clemson and discuss his book with the students!), and a seminar on the ontology of Maurice Merleau-Ponty. Scott was very active outside of the classroom, serving as President of the Philosophical Society for a year and attending weekly meetings that give any student a chance to discuss philosophy. He notes that these meetings, which involve student-led discussions, are a lot of fun and different from discussion in regular classes.

Scott was also a vital part of Clemson's forensics debate team for four years and was a member of the 2013 National Educational Debate Association National Champion team, as well as a novice national champion and a World Universities Debating Championship qualifier for 2015 and 2016. Despite this intense commitment Scott found time to study abroad for a semester in Bangalore, India.  He succeeded in his goal of working with a non-profit organization after graduation: he was accepted into the Peace Corps and is now working with the Corps in Uganda.  Scott reports that this type of position requires an ability to communicate and engage with different perspectives and moral frameworks than his, as well as question his own, which is something that philosophy has him well prepared to do!

Department of Philosophy and Religion
Department of Philosophy and Religion | 126D Hardin Hall, Clemson, SC 29634