Cherry tress on the UW quad.

Explore the hows and whys of the human experience

The UW Department of Philosophy engages students in the exploration of what is truth, what to value and how to live a life of meaning. We relate philosophy to modern aspects of law, religion, science, public policy, information technology, the environment, bioethics, global justice and human rights. Faculty publish in a wide range of research areas — from metaphysics and political philosophy to feminist studies and immigration — and have advised government officials on the local, national and international levels on ethical issues.

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A faculty member standing at the front of a room teaching a course in the UW Department of Philosophy.
David Owens, standing in the center of two other people, is a philosophy alum and attorney, in front of George N. Leighton Criminal Court Building.
9 Andrew W. Mellon Fellowships since 2015


Our students develop skills that are sought after by employers in a variety of fields, including the ability to write clearly, read closely and reason soundly. Many of our students combine philosophy with another major or minor to further their career preparation; approximately half of our majors pursue double or triple majors. 

Career Paths

A philosophy degree can lead to a career as a(n):

  • Educator 
  • Attorney 
  • Public policy analyst
  • Journalist 
  • Entrepreneur
  • Health care professional
  • Publisher 
  • Marketing director 
  • Social worker
  • Nonprofit director
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It’s never too early to study philosophy

The UW Center for Philosophy for Children hosts the Philosophers in the Schools program, an opportunity for our students to introduce Seattle-area children to the study of philosophy and the “love of wisdom.” Through this program, UW Philosophy students and center staff teach K-12 students in Seattle public schools, at Seattle Children’s Hospital and Childhaven and in online classrooms. The center is founded on the belief that children, being naturally curious, are natural philosophers. In the words of a second-grader: “It’s what you think that makes you who you are.”

More About Philosophers in the Schools

Find Yourself in Philosophy

Frame questions of consequence. Craft answers of substance.

Department of Philosophy Stories

UW campus near Drumheller Fountain

Four Dean's Medalists, Working Toward Change

The four new graduates honored as College of Arts & Sciences Dean's Medalists for 2023 are all working to improve our world, in different ways. 

Arthur Obst in Seattle's Ravenna Park.

A Philosopher Goes Wild

Philosopher Arthur Obst, a UW doctoral student, thinks that wild places can thrive — if we adjust our definition of wilderness and embrace the idea of letting go. 

Illustration of hand holding pen to mark a ballot

Voting by the Numbers

Think voting is simple? A new course co-taught by statistics and philosophy faculty explores the many complexities of the voting process.