Explore the Big Questions

What is the meaning of life? Does God exist? What happens when we die? Philosophy at Kirkwood involves great conversation about meaningful topics.

Beyond being interesting, a philosophy background empowers you with thinking skills useful in all walks of life. With a background in philosophy from Kirkwood, you could go on to be a great leader or innovator in any career area you choose.

Thought-provoking and intriguing courses in philosophy satisfy core humanities requirements. Transferring and earning a degree in philosophy couldn’t be more rewarding, easier, or affordable.

Apply Now Request More Info

Students who study philosophy are adept problem solvers and can present information in an organized way leading to reasoned solutions. These skills make for an invaluable candidate across multiple professions. Popular career areas for students with a philosophy background include:

  • Law
  • Teaching
  • Public sector
  • Publishing and journalism
  • Psychotherapy and counseling

Kirkwood can help you explore your career options by providing exciting experiences in and out of the classroom to help you find the best path.

Kirkwood is the affordable option — we have more than $3 million in scholarships available each year!

Each year, many Kirkwood students successfully transfer with their Associate of Arts and Associate of Science degrees to four-year institutions in Iowa and across the country.

If you're planning to transfer to a four-year program, you will work very closely with advisors in our Advising and Transfer Center. They'll make sure you have everything completed for a seamless transfer.

Our advisors help take away any guesswork and confusion, ensuring you meet Kirkwood’s graduation requirements, as well as the admission requirements and transferability of courses to your transfer school. By meeting with our advisors early and often, you’ll be better prepared for the next steps in continuing your education after Kirkwood.

Get to know the talented faculty our students learn from during their time at Kirkwood.

Explore More

The Philosophy interest area at Kirkwood is part of our Liberal Arts program. Potential classes are listed below. You will work closely with experts at our Advising and Transfer Center, as well as philosophy faculty when deciding on which classes are right for you. Our faculty are recognized experts in their area who are ready to help you explore future education and career options within the philosophy field.

Course requirements include specialized philosophy classes, as well as foreign language, math, and science. With many options to choose from, the advising process will also help you explore the right opportunities to better prepare you for your educational and career goals.

You are also encouraged to take courses in other subjects that further enrich your study of philosophy. Religion, history, science, math, political science, sociology, psychology, and foreign language are all very good options.

Kirkwood offers several incredible study abroad experiences for philosophy students. With study abroad opportunities to places like Italy and Costa Rica, you will not only enhance your learning, but also have the opportunity to further enrich your philosophical study.

Sample classes include:

PHI-101 Introduction to Philosophy (3)
Investigates some of the fundamental issues in human existence — for example human nature, the nature of reality, the good life, how and what we know, the existence of God(s), justice and freedom, and free will and determinism — through readings and discussions of seminal philosophical texts in Western or non-Western traditions. Credits: 3, Hours: (3/0/0/0), Arts & Sciences Elective Code: A

PHI-105 Introduction to Ethics (3)
Investigates major issues and theories in Western or non-Western moral thought. The adequacies of ethical theories such as egoism, utilitarianism, virtue ethics, the ethics of care, and duty ethics are explored through discussions of topics such as those found in medicine, the media, the environment, social justice, education, gender relations, war, business and family life. Credits: 3, Hours: (3/0/0/0), Arts & Sciences Elective Code: A

PHI-111 Basic Reasoning (3)
Introduces both formal and informal aspects of reasoning and argument including principles of deductive reasoning, inductive reasoning, informal fallacies, and critical thinking. Credits: 3, Hours: (3/0/0/0), Arts & Sciences Elective Code: A

PHI-125 Native American Philosophies (3)
Introduces some of the main philosophies of Native Americans. This course includes study of the histories and cultures of Native American groups with a focus on philosophical perspectives. This course examines metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, aesthetics, social philosophy, and philosophy of nature of various Native American philosophical traditions, and those views will be contrasted with a variety of Western philosophical traditions. Credits: 3, Hours: (3/0/0/0), Arts & Sciences Elective Code: A

PHI-126 Chinese Philosophies (3)
Introduces some of the main philosophies of the Chinese tradition. This course includes study of the history and culture of China, especially the Classical Period, with a focus on philosophical perspectives. The majority of time will be spent studying classical Chinese Confucianism, Taoism, Mohism, and Legalism, with some emphasis on Chinese Buddhism and Neo-Confucianism. Credits: 3, Hours: (3/0/0/0), Arts & Sciences Elective Code: A

PHI-130 Philosophy of Human Nature (3)
Investigates some important theories of human nature through discussions of such issues as the mind-body problem, the nature of freedom, social contracts, the roles of nature and nurture, the meaning of life, and happiness. Though the course will consider mainly philosophical texts, it may also include material from disciplines such as biology, literature, psychology, and anthropology. Credits: 3, Hours: (3/0/0/0), Arts & Sciences Elective Code: A

PHI-132 Philosophy of Education (3)
Investigates the nature and purposes of education and the major issues and theories in the philosophy of education. The educational philosophy of thinkers from Plato and Aristotle to Hobbes and Rousseau to Whitehead, Dewey, Fraire, Hooks, Palmer and Gutman are examined by exploring issues such as democracy and education, models of teaching and learning, testing and assessment, implications of development theories, children's rights, equity issues, and multiculturalism. Credits: 3, Hours: (3/0/0/0), Arts & Sciences Elective Code: A

PHI-135 Multicultural Ethics (3)
Examines moral perspectives and theories from a variety of cultural contexts, such as Confucian, Hindu, Buddhist, Islamic, and African ethics. Focuses on human rights by examining ethical issues raised by Western and non-Western diversity, such as moral relativism, feminism, war, homosexuality, immigration, and race relations. Credits: 3, Hours: (3/0/0/0), Arts & Sciences Elective Code: A

PHI-150 Social & Political Philosophy (3)
Examines theories of society and the political state, such as paternalism, absolutism, theocracy, democracy, conservativism, liberalism, socialism, feminism, and pluralism. Explores public values, such as justice, liberty and equality, as they apply to issues of state power, political obligation, property and class, race, ethnicity, gender/sexuality, and the environment. Credits: 3, Hours: (3/0/0/0), Prereq: PHI-101, PHI-105, PHI-111 or PHI-130; Arts & Sciences Elective Code: A

PHI-160 Environmental Ethics (3)
Examines contemporary environmental issues in light of traditional and contemporary ethical thought. Explores concerns such as species extinction, global climate change, ecosystemic degradation, animal rights, and unequal effects of environmental harm on humans. Ethical perspectives include duty ethics, utilitarianism, ethics of care, virtue ethics, deep ecology, ecological feminism, the land ethic, and social ecology. Credits: 3, Hours: (3/0/0/0), Arts & Sciences Elective Code: A

Why should you join one of Kirkwood’s special interest clubs for students? It’s been proven that students actively involved and engaged with clubs and activities on campus perform better academically. Plus, involvement in clubs related to your interest area helps you round out your education. Below are clubs specifically related to students interested in philosophy.

Philosophy Forum

Scott Samuelson, advisor

This organization meets bi-weekly at the Iowa City Campus to discuss topics concerning politics, religion, knowledge, ethics, or aesthetics. Open to all students.

Philosophy Club
Chris McCord, advisor

The Philosophy Club engages in fun, informal discussion of important — and not so important — ideas about morality, religion, ethics, politics and policy, knowledge, and the nature of reality. No previous philosophy training needed or required.

Kirkwood offers a very diverse mixture of clubs and organizations. You can select from a variety of opportunities that suit your personal interests, as well as your program interests. A complete list of clubs and organizations can be found in Student Life.

Photo of Ashton Curtis

“Practically my entire family went here, so we’re all big fans of Kirkwood. My sister and I are enrolled now. A lot of the professors know me personally, campus is close by, so it’s really easy to feel at home here.”

Ashton Curtis,
Cedar Rapids, Iowa


Arts & Humanities
2092 Cedar Hall