Philosophy

Major Minor

Kalamazoo College Philosophy Department Website



Why Study Philosophy at K?

Who are we and how do we know? Dive deep into the human condition to identify and question universal features of existence. 

Kalamazoo College philosophy professor Max Cherum lecturing

As a philosophy student you will explore what it means to be human by critically engaging with philosophical texts and traditions. Learning about past and modern philosophers and theories, you will reflect on your own thinking and perceptions; understand how societies and institutions are shaped by their traditions; examine fundamental assumptions of the lived experience; research theory independently and cooperatively; and communicate your ideas clearly using sound reasoning and arguments. 

You will learn these skills through your philosophy courses, split into three core categories: history (e.g., Ancient Philosophy), theory (e.g., Logic and Reasoning), and applied, contemporary philosophy (e.g., Human Rights and International Law). In your history and tradition classes you will trace philosophies across time and place and learn to reconstruct their arguments as informed by the historical period in which they originated. Your theory courses will touch on key questions of the human experience: How do we know? What ought we to do? What is beauty? And, what is being and what is it to be human? Whereas, your applied philosophy courses will focus on using a philosophical mindset to assess modern problems. 

The global awareness, critical thinking, and logical argumentation skills you will develop over your four years at K will make you adaptable in careers that emphasize deep analysis, persuasive argumentation, and clear communication. Given the universality of philosophy and the utility of meta-thinking, you will be able to parlay your studies at K into a host of different careers. Notably, alumni have gone on to pursue law, medicine, business, education, communications, technology, government, and non-profit work. 

What can you do with a philosophy degree?

Below are some of the careers, employers, and graduate schools of our philosophy alumni.

Careers

Employers

  • U.S. State Department
  • W.E. Upjohn Institute
  • Fulbright
  • U.S. Department of the Interior
  • Kalamazoo College

Graduate Schools

  • University of Michigan
  • Northeastern University
  • University of California, Berkley
  • American University
  • University of North Carlina at Chapel Hill

Program Spotlights

A student writing on a chalk board

Join a department that supports one another

Kalamazoo College’s philosophy department is extremely proud of our Teaching Fellows program, which places advanced students in introductory courses to guide and tutor new students as they first learn how to think and argue philosophically. Our Teaching Fellows, in turn, get paid to experience what graduate school work in philosophy can look like: tutoring undergraduate classes, receiving one-on-one mentorship from their professor, and conducting independent research.

Students studying

Ask big questions as you pursue your own research 

All of our students—typically through their Senior Integrated Projects or Teaching Fellowship—conduct meaningful research in a subject of their choosing. This gives you the opportunity to dive deep into philosophical positions and expand upon the work of philosophers you admire.

Due to the brilliance of our students and the personalized guidance they receive from our faculty, many of our students get their research published in undergraduate journals and are asked to travel the country to present their findings at conferences.

A class learning outside in the quad

In philosophy, there is no “right” way to learn 

We understand not all students learn the same way, so we offer opportunities to contextualize your learning through contemporary issues and art. Your classes will take you into the world as you explore philosophical theories through local theatre, art galleries, and conferences that bring your texts to life.  

Even within the classroom your learning will be varied as you tackle challenging questions through multiple outlets: lectures, small group projects, movie- and music-based discussions, and peer presentations. 

Meet the Current Departmental Student Advisor

Anna Budnick

Anna Budnick (She/Her/Hers)

Majors: Philosophy and Psychology

What is the best thing about being part of this department?

You’re able to explore your interests with an amazing group of peers and highly intelligent professors.

What has been your favorite class at K? Why?

Postmodern Critical Theory. It opened up the world of psychoanalysis for me and I have since discovered a rich and engaging passion because of it.

What experiential education opportunities have you participated in?

I interned for Kalamazoo Parks and Recreation’s youth development program which has since turned into a full-time position. I have TA’ed for Dr. Tan in two of her classes and Dr. Latiolais’ 19th Century Philosophy. I am also on Dr. Gregg’s research team for his work on sexuality.

What is your Senior Integrated Project (SIP)?

I am investigating the effect that childhood perceived safety for men plays on their willingness to respond violently when disrespected.

What are your career aspirations/next steps after K?

I will be applying to graduate school to get my Ph.D. in Forensic Psychology to either do research or work as an expert witness with our legal system.

Philosophy Department News