Confront some of life's biggest questions
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.
International exchanges in 25 countries
Available as a major and minor
Philosophy degree admissions
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Questions? Ask a student!
Contact an Arts student ambassador to learn about their experience.
Ask them questions such as why they chose their program, what the classes are like, and how you can get involved on campus.
First-year courses and beyond
September to December
January to April
*The Arts First requirement consists of two first-year courses that are capped at 25 students: ARTS 130 - Inquiry and Communication and ARTS 140 - Information and Analysis. Instead of listening to a lecture and trying to capture notes, Arts First courses will have you and your classmates working together to respond to a challenge posed by the instructor.
After first year
About 40% of the classes you’ll take will be Philosophy courses. With your remaining classes, you can choose electives from many of the 100 subject areas at Waterloo.
Sample upper-year courses
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.
Co-op = relevant paid work experience
By alternating school terms and paid co-op work terms throughout your degree, you can explore new career areas and types of employers as your career interests evolve.
Sample co-op job titles
- Research assistant
- Junior quality assurance analyst
- Product development
- Help desk representative
Sample co-op employers
- Electronic Arts Ltd.
- Top Hat Monocle
- University of Waterloo
What can you do with a philosophy degree?
Graduates often pursue careers in teaching, law, consulting, and program coordination. They commonly work for schools, government departments, and more.
- Citizen Services Officer – Service Canada Centre
- Global Service Provider, Operations Team – Cisco Systems
- Senior Systems Analyst – BMO Bank of Montreal
- Early Childhood Educator – Sacred Heart Day Nursery
- Lawyer - Kim Fullerton, Barrister and Solicitor
- Analyst - Treasury Board of Canada
Offered by the Faculty of Arts
Earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy
Ready to learn more?
- Visit the Department of Philosophy website
- Email Samantha Boehmer, our Arts recruitment co-ordinator, who can answer any questions about the program
- Visit our Waterloo Stories website for current research by professors in the department of Philosophy
- Subscribe to our newsletter to get tips and advice from current students
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.