Can You Get a Philosophy Degree Online?

Those who want to get a philosophy degree online will be glad to know that this liberal arts and humanities major is often offered through distance education programs. Unlike other degrees that require hands-on training and classroom residencies, philosophy degrees require qualitative analysis, critical writing and creative thinking. Below introduces the particulars of online philosophy degrees.

Program Introduction

Online philosophy degrees are usually offered at the graduate level, so applicants must possess a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university. These programs may require students to demonstrate their graduate-level writing skills through submitting a writing sample or personal essay. Applicants must be tech savvy because almost all academic work for this degree is accomplished through computers, Internet research and word processing software. Philosophical texts can be quite difficult to understand.

Some degree programs may require students to study ancient cultures and languages in order to properly understand and interpret the texts. For example, a basic understanding of ancient Greek philosophical terms and historical events is necessary to understand the likes of Plato, Socrates and Aristotle. Philosophy degrees teach students how to textually read, carefully comprehend and succinctly summarize conceptually advanced content. A philosophy degree trains students to be better analyzers and clearer thinkers.

Sample Curriculum

Course work for this degree typically includes major subfields like ethics, metaphysics and epistemology. Elective courses may connect traditional Western philosophical concepts to new areas of scientific inquiry and lesser known schools of foreign philosophy. For example, the Hundred Schools of Thought in ancient China were philosophies that flourished from the sixth century to second century. Most readers will recognize the names of Confucius, who created Confucianism, and Lao Zi, who created Daoism, but they most likely won’t recognize Legalism’s Han Fei Zi and Mohisms’ founder Mo Zi.

Introductory classes on the science of philosophy may define the history and structure of popular theories and explanations. Students will learn about entities, reduction, causation, probability, confirmation and space and time.
Classes on the nature of consciousness will explore historical, scientific and common sense concepts like materialism, dualism, behaviorism, functionalism and self-knowledge. Learning about social institutions and political philosophy will touch on alternative principles and interpretation methods for explaining conflict, justice, power, freedom and order.

Common Concentrations

The most common concentration for an online degree in philosophy is ethics, which is the formal study of ideas and issues. This field approaches difficult questions through interdisciplinary analysis, reflection and experimentation. Philosophy ethics often uses scientific research from academic fields like social psychology and cognitive science.
However, all academic disciplines contribute ideas of interest because they all are interconnected with the nature of the mind and the relationship between the brain and consciousness.

Other common specialization are Christian theology and ministry. A philosophy degree is highly suited to biblical worldviews, theological education and vocational ministry. This degree is useful for a student who wants to become a secular professor of philosophy, but it is equally useful for a Christian minister who wants to understand secular science to help in their preaching and relationship building. These degrees will provide the biblical and theological foundations required to understand complex historical ideas, events and concepts.

Those who get a philosophy degree online are encouraged to minor in another subject or pursue a dual degree program. A philosophy degree by itself limits one to academic, teaching, research and library science positions.