Undergraduate Studies in Philosophy

It takes more than a major to succeed: 93% of employers agree that candidates' demonstrated capacity to think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems is more important than their undergraduate major.Why?

You study philosophy because you want to pursue the big, interesting questions that are still being answered in interesting ways, and you want to develop the skills of articulation and argument that philosophical work hones. But you may be wondering how to reassure someone who thinks there is no point to this outside the classroom. There is! We have the long version of the explanation here. The short version is this: philosophy develops skills that are crucial to almost any career you might pursue. Law schools and graduate business schools recognize this. Read that long version though, for many surprising details, e.g. that Philosophy majors do better than Business majors on the GMAT, and have higher mid-career salaries too.

Our alumni are thriving in all walks of life:  media, management, sales, public service, finance, the arts, non-profits, law, marketing, consulting... the list goes on and on.

(One specific point: the Ontario College of Teachers has declared Philosophy to be a “teachable” subject. For more information: the Ontario Philosophy Teachers' Association.)

Our students

Our undergraduate community is thriving. There is the Society of Undergraduate Philosophers which hosts social and intellectual events. In addition, undergraduates are always welcome at conferences and talks by visiting speakers.

Our courses

We offer a wide range of courses, almost all of which are open to students in other programs as well as to students in ours. There will be several new courses coming onstream in Fall 2017, as part of our new undergraduate curriculum (see next section).

Our programs

We offer a Major, a Minor and an Area of Concentration in Philosophy. We have recently redefined each of these programs: they are now much simpler and make for much easier planning. The capstone of the new Major program is a Philosophy Research Presentation course, in which students prepare and deliver an oral presentation on some topic they're excited about from their previous undergraduate studies. This is a conference-style presentation in which students handle Q&A from the audience.

You can look at a diagram of the new program requirements or the prose descriptions that will be in the Fall 2017 Undergraduate Calendar. (As always at the University of Guelph, students have the choice of graduating under the new requirements or those that were in effect when they entered the University.)

If you have any questions about our programs please contact our Faculty Advisor, Professor Stefan Linquist. He is happy to meet with you or answer questions by email.

Prizes and Scholarships

There are several prizes and scholarships specifically for Philosophy students. Student Financial Services has a list with all the details, but here are summaries:

Edmund C. Bovey Scholarship in Philosophy ($1,500)

No application required
Awarded to the student with the highest cumulative average in Philosophy courses who has completed 6 semesters in the major honours, combined honours, or specialized honours program in Philosophy.

Guelph Philosophical Society Scholarship ($500)

Application: In-Course Financial Need Assessment Form, due October 7
Students with a major in Philosophy, in semesters 1 to 4, have a minimum cumulative average of 80% and have demonstrated financial need.

Jakob Amstutz Prize ($300)

No application required
Student with the highest cumulative average who has graduated during the previous fall or winter or will be graduating in the summer of the current academic year from the Honours Philosophy program.

Kip Hunter Prize (book prize)

Application: by letter, due May 1
Any undergraduate who has registered for a philosophy course during the academic year in which the prize is awarded.

Kitty Newman Memorial Scholarship (3, $1,200 each)

No application required
Students entering the B.A. program in the College of Arts with a minimum 80.0% admission average.

Michael and Virginia Walsh Scholarship in Philosophy ($1,500)

Application: In-Course Financial Need Assessment Form, due October 7
Students registered in the Philosophy major of the B.A. program with at least 10.0 credits completed and demonstrated financial need.

Murdo MacKinnon Scholarship ($1,000)

No application required
Student(s) registered in an honours major program in the College of Arts in Music, Drama, Art History, Studio Arts, English, History, Philosophy, Languages and Literatures or French Studies with the highest cumulative average in his/her honour subject(s). Preference will be given to students who have done all of their work at the University of Guelph.

Norman Farb Memorial Scholarship in Philosophy ($1,000)

Application: In-Course Financial Need Assessment Form, due October 7
Students admitted (as defined in the University of Guelph Undergraduate Calendar) who are registered in the Bachelor of Arts program with a minimum 75% cumulative average or 75% admission average and who have demonstrated financial need.