Confront some of life's biggest questions

Marble busts of philosophers you might learn about in a philosophy degree.

What is the nature of the human mind? What makes a just society? How can we lead a moral life? 

Philosophy has long been a central component of a liberal arts education — and with good reason. It teaches you critical reasoning like no other discipline. It’s also an excellent addition to studies in mathematics and the sciences. 

In the Philosophy program at Waterloo, you’ll explore enduring dilemmas of human existence, learn the fundamentals of formal logic, and apply philosophical reasoning to highly topical issues and current events. And have the opportunity to apply it all in your co-op work terms, too.

Once you graduate, you’ll have a wide range of options. A philosophy degree is ideal for a career in law and valuable preparation for just about any field that demands breadth of thinking, careful reading, thorough analysis, and clear argumentation.

Program highlights

70+ upper-year courses. Take advantage of an impressive variety of courses after first year, from metaphysics to feminist philosophy to the ethics of end-of-life care.

Get serious work experience. Explore potential careers while earning your Philosophy degree. Choose the co-op system and graduate with 20 months of paid experience.


What will you learn? 

First-year courses

During your first year, you'll take two introductory Philosophy courses. Plus, you'll have electives to explore an additional major of your choosing. In upper years, 40% of the classes you'll take will be Philosophy courses.

Learn about courses you'll take for your Philosophy degree.

Customize your degree

You can add additional areas of expertise by including one or more of the minors available to all Waterloo students.

Popular choices for Philosophy students include Political Science and Catholic Studies.


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Apply to Honours Arts or Honours Arts and Business and choose Philosophy as your major at the end of first year.

Ontario students: six Grade 12 U and/or M courses including

  • Any Grade 12 U English (minimum final grade of at least 70%)

Admission average: Low 80s (co-op and regular)

Not studying in Ontario? Search our admission requirements for Honours Arts or Honours Arts and Business.

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Questions about courses, programs, requirements, careers?

Please contact our Faculty of Arts recruitment team who can answer any questions you have.