In the study of philosophy and the philosophical tradition, students enter into a conversation with some of history’s greatest minds. This is, in itself, a tremendously enriching experience. But it pays the even greater dividend of helping us shape our views on such fundamental issues as love and friendship, art and science, justice and community, politics and religion, meaning itself.

Why study Philosophy at Bishop’s?

In Philosophy, lasting and adequate understanding comes when the materials of study are brought to life. This requires both patience and creativity on the part of professors, engagement and self-reliance on the part of students. The Bishop’s experience in Philosophy is designed to foster all of these things. Classes are small (seldom larger than 15 students after the first year). Many operate in the seminar format attentive to the particular interests of members, focused on primary sources and designed to invite students to take a leadership role in presenting their own work. Our students graduate from Bishop’s having studied closely great works of thought, having learned how to communicate subtle and difficult ideas to others, having gained extensive experience in technical writing, argumentation and public speaking. They go on to challenging careers in university, college, school and language teaching, law, international aid, filmmaking, business and other fields.

Program strengths

  • Study with Professors who develop their research programs and interests with you in the classroom and for whom, accordingly, student input is of paramount importance.
  • Work closely with other students seriously engaged in developing their own philosophical projects.
  • Take courses featuring study of very challenging primary sources framed in discussion, collegial problem-solving and engaged conversation.

Popular courses

  • PHI140 Introduction to Ethics
  • PHI160 Existentialism
  • PHI265 Nietzsche
  • PHI271 Socrates and Plato
  • PHI362 Phenomenology
  • PHI366 Critical Theory

Did you know ?

  • Virtually all Philosophy courses after the first year are seminars with 10 to 15 members.
  • Philosophy students at Bishop’s regularly participate in student and faculty conferences in cooperation with other Canadian Universities and featuring Canadian and international scholars.
  • The Bishop’s Plato Group (faculty and interested students) meets most Friday afternoons throughout the term to read and discuss Plato’s dialogues.

Courses & Programs

Knowledge of the philosophical tradition is essential to a sound and liberal education. It lies at the heart of what Bishop’s has understood historically and continues to embrace today as its educational mission.

In recognition of this, the Department of Philosophy offers a programme designed to meet the needs of both specialists and those seeking to supplement their work in other disciplines. Honours and Majors follow a curriculum which emphasizes three broad areas: the tradition of Anglo-American analysis and logic, the tradition of Continental thinking, and the history of philosophy in the West. Advanced students may also pursue independent studies of special topics in greater depth. These offerings are supplemented by a series of introductory and cross-disciplinary courses designed to provide the background, skills and tools for a thoughtful, critical approach to a wide variety of problems and issues and delivered-for the most part-at a level accessible to the non-specialist.

The Program

The requirement for a Major in Philosophy is 48 credits. An Honours consists of 60 credits. Candidates for the Honours programme must obtain an average of 70% (calculated on the marks assigned in all courses) in both first and second 30 credit programme years and maintain that average on the best 60 credits in Philosophy in order to graduate with the Honours degree. In addition, these students will be required to write an Honours thesis (Philosophy 401, 6 credits). A minor consists of any 24 credits in philosophy.


Academic Calendar

Admission Process