Philosophy


Enter our community of human inquiry; learn to express and defend your perspective through the art of reasoning; and aptly evaluate the arguments of others. 

Through developing those skills, you can take your philosophy degree into law, medicine, education, or any other career. Philosophy is the nucleus for thought and discovery, and it's an even better preparation for life.

Our graduates work in colleges and universities as professors, run their own business, teach faith as clergy, and practice law, among others.


Ambrose Advantages

  • A Community of Dynamic Thinkers
  • Personal and Professional Ethics
  • Engaging Faculty

two students examining

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students in classroom

Our faculty take pride in helping students become complete: solicitous in relationships, critical in their quest for truth, and devoted in their pursuit of what is good. SAU's Philosophy major enables you to live and succeed in a diverse world and excel in your career or graduate school.

see our philosophy major fact sheet (pdf)


Creative Teaching
Learn to think differently

Philosophy professors at SAU are dedicated, dynamic, and creative. This video is just one example of out-of-the-box teaching by our Philosophy faculty.


More Information About the Philosophy Program

What will I learn?

Courses include Western Philosophy, Critical Thinking, Ethics of Peace and Justice, Social/Political Philosophy, Peace and Justice, Bio-Medical Ethics, Existentialism, Ancient and Medieval Philosophy, and Philosophy and Artificial Intelligence.

SAU philosophy students often dual major or minor in various fields such as political science, English, theology, communication, business administration, occupational therapy, and accounting. In fact, we've got a plan already set up for you to double major in Philosophy (without extra semesters!). See the Degree Requirements section below for details.

The major is excellent preparation for post-graduate work in law, business, teaching, or research. It just so happens that philosophers dominate on the GRE. Check it out. And the LSAT for law school? Philosophy and classics majors perform the best on that test, too.

Really, the world is starting to catch on to what philosophers have known for millennia. All things considered, philosophy is actually the most practical thing you can study, and likely pretty important for the future of technology.

What are some potential career outcomes?

A Philosophy major prepares you for an array of careers, including attorney, minister, technical writer, teacher, editor, publisher, mediation specialist, counselor, museum curator, social worker, activist, and ethics adviser for businesses and hospitals.

What have alumni of this program done?
  • Matt Osborn '15 is Owner/Operator of The 1/2 Nelson restaurant in downtown Davenport.
  • Andrew Nesseler '18 works for the JET program teaching English in Japan.
  • Kathleen Lane '15 is a pediatric occupational therapist.
  • John "Fletcher" Molchin '17 is an outside sales associate at United Rentals, Mapleton, Illinois.
  • Marc Wyers '17 is studying law at the University of Iowa.
  • Gabriel Price '17 is in the PhD Biology program at the University of Illinois. He is also co-founder of Earnest Earth.
  • Lane Andrews '17 is a graduate student in History at the University of Iowa.
  • Rev. Ross Epping '11 double-majored in Theology and Philosophy and is now the SAU Campus Chaplain.
  • Courtney Averkamp '12 is beginning doctoral studies at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.
Faculty

Alfredo Mac Laughlin, PhD, Assoc. Professor and Chair

Joe McCaffrey, PhD, Professor Emeritus
Brian Miclot, PhD, Professor
Tanya Randle, PhD, Chair and Assoc. Professor
Jessica Roisen, PhD, Professor
Tadd Ruetenik, PhD, Professor
Andy Swift, PhD, Professor

Degree Requirements

Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy (30 credits)

You might want to consider a double-major in philosophy (which can be done without extra semesters). See the Plan to Graduate below.

Required:
+PHIL 200 Philosophical Methods
+PHIL 217 History of Ancient Philosophy
+PHIL 360 History of Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy
PHIL 495 Senior Seminar

One of the following:
+PHIL 400 Philosophy and the Scientific Revolution
PHIL 405 Philosophy of Knowledge
PHIL 420 Metaphysics
PHIL 425 American Philosophy

15 additional PHIL credits:
6 credits must be at the 300- or 400-level
3 credits must be at the 400-level
3 credits from any level

Read course descriptions

Plans to Graduate

This is the suggested plan of study to graduate in four years with a degree in Philosophy. This plan assumes the student hasn't taken three years of foreign language in high school.

Scroll down to see the plan for Philosophy as a Second Major (no extra semesters needed!).

Plan to Graduate – BA in Philosophy

Year One

FallCreditSpringCredit
PHIL 100 or PHIL 101 3 PHIL 207 or 210 3
COMM 129 3 MATH 131 3
Foreign Language 101 3 Foreign Language 102 3
ENGL 101 3 THEO 101 3
KIN 149 1 ART 100 3
IL 101 1
Total Credits 14 Total Credits 15

Year Two

FallCreditSpringCredit
PHIL 217 History of Ancient Philosophy 3 PHIL 200 Philosophical Methods 3
ASTR 201 3 KIN activity course 1-2
CSM Classical Studies 101 3 PSYC 105 3
Electives 6 HIST 100 3
Elective 3
Total Credits 15 Total Credits 14-15

Year Three

FallCreditSpringCredit
*PHIL 360 History of Medieval Philosophy 3 *PHIL 302, 311, 340, 343, 350, 375, 390^ 3
*PHIL 302, 311, 340, 343, 350, 375, or 390^ 3 *PHIL 400, 405, 420, or 425 3
*PHIL 400, 405, 420, or 425 3 Electives 9
Electives 6
Total Credits 15 Total Credits 15

Year Four

FallCreditSpringCredit
*PHIL 495 Senior Seminar 3 Electives 15
Electives 12
Total Credits 15 Total Credits 15

*Needs pre-requisite

Plan to Graduate – Philosophy as a Second Major

This plan assumes the student HAS NOT taken three years of foreign language in high school.

Year One

FallCreditSpringCredit
PHIL 100 or PHIL 101 3 PHIL 207 or 210 3
Course from 1st Major 3 MATH 131 3
Foreign Language 101 3 Foreign Language 102 3
ENGL 101 3 THEO 101 3
KIN 149 1 Course from 1st Major 3
IL 101 1
KIN Activity 1-2
Total Credits 15-16 Total Credits 15

Year Two

FallCreditSpringCredit
PHIL 217 History of Ancient Philosophy 3 PHIL 200 Philosophical Methods 3
Course from 1st Major 3 Course from 1st Major
CSM Classical Studies 101 3 PSYC 105 3
HIST 100 ART 100 3
MATH 131 ASTR 201 3
Total Credits 15 Total Credits 15

Year Three

FallCreditSpringCredit
*PHIL 360 History of Medieval Philosophy 3 *PHIL 302, 311, 340, 343, 350, 375, 390^ 3
*PHIL 302, 311, 340, 343, 350, 375, or 390^ 3 *PHIL 400, 405, 420, or 425 3
Courses from 1st Major 9 Courses from 1st Major 9
Total Credits 15 Total Credits 15

Year Four

FallCreditSpringCredit
*PHIL 495 Senior Seminar 3 Electives 6
Courses from 1st Major 9 Courses from 1st Major 6
Elective 3 *PHIL 400, 405, 420, or 425 3
Total Credits 15 Total Credits 15

*Needs prerequisite
^=this class may be repeated

Minor in Philosophy (15 credits)

Required:
+PHIL 102 Critical Thinking or PHIL 200 Philosophical Methods

One of the following:
+PHIL 217 History of Ancient Philosophy
+PHIL 360 History of Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy

9 additional PHIL credits:
3 credits from 300- or 400-level
3 credits from 400-level
3 credits from any level

Minor in Applied Ethics (15 credits)

Required:
+PHIL 207 Ethics
+PHIL 343 Ethics of Peace and Non-violence

9 additional credits from the following:
+PHIL 210 Social/Political Philosophy
+PHIL 302 Peace and Justice Seminar
+PHIL 305 Business Ethics
+PHIL 310 Bio-Medical Ethics
+PHIL 311 Environmental Ethics
+PHIL 340 Philosophy of Sex and Love
+PHIL  385 Artificial Intelligence and Philosophy Workshop

+ = fulfills a general education requirement

Scholarships and Grants

First-Year

St. Ambrose offers excellent scholarships and grants, work-study and other financial aid options! Full-time students may be eligible based upon your strong academic performance in college, your talent in fine arts or athletics or your demonstrated financial need as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The SAU school code for the FAFSA is 001889.

First-Year Scholarships and Institutional Aid 2022-2023

There is no need to apply for the scholarships or grants below; students automatically are eligible if they meet specific criteria. The Admissions Office calculates the award amount by using unweighted high school GPA and ACT/SAT scores. Please note, while St. Ambrose University has a test-optional admissions policy, standardized test scores are required for both admission to specific programs and/or eligibility for top academic scholarships. Scholarships and grants are renewable for four years of undergraduate study. 

Your scholarship will automatically renew each year of your undergraduate studies - up to four years - as long as you maintain satisfactory progress toward an undergraduate degree, achieve certain GPA requirements (see below), and remain a full-time student. 

Download helpful PDFs of this information here: First-Year Iowa Resident or First-Year Out of State Resident


IOWA RESIDENTS LIVING ON CAMPUS

Iowa Resident On Campus Merit-Based Scholarships

Trustee Scholar
Criteria: unweighted 3.9 GPA and minimum 29 ACT or 1340 SAT score. Must maintain 3.25 cumulative GPA in successive years.
Award: $25,000/year and invited to compete for an Ambrose Scholar full-tuition award

Academic Scholarships
Criteria: based on unweighted GPA and ACT/SAT score (optional)
Award: $15,000-$21,000/year

University Grant
Criteria: based on unweighted GPA and ACT/SAT score (optional)
Award: $13,000/year

Iowa Resident On Campus Additional Institutional Aid

Ambrose Advantage
Criteria: Iowa resident, Federal Pell Grant eligible, 2022 high school graduate, min. unweighted GPA 2.5, admitted to SAU, and FAFSA filed by Mar. 15. To remain eligible in subsequent years, students must maintain 2.5 GPA and qualify for the Federal Pell Grant.
Award: Full tuition

Athletic Scholarships
Criteria: performance and ability
Award: varies

Fine Arts Scholarships
Criteria: performance and ability in music, art and theatre
Award: varies

Fr. Welch Alumni Scholarships
Criteria: parent is a St. Ambrose graduate
Award: $1,000/year

Minority Scholarship
Criteria: ethnically diverse student, FAFSA required
Award: $500-$1,000/year

Catholic Traditions Scholarship
Criteria: graduate from Catholic high school
Award: $2,000/year

Menke Parish Scholarship
Criteria: Diocese of Davenport parishioner, additional application required
Award: $1,000/year



IOWA RESIDENTS LIVING OFF CAMPUS

Iowa Resident Off Campus Merit-Based Scholarships

Academic Scholarships
Criteria: based on unweighted GPA and ACT/SAT score (optional)
Award: $13,000-$16,000/year

University Grants
Criteria: based on unweighted GPA and ACT/SAT score
Award: $11,000/year

Iowa Resident Off Campus Additional Institutional Scholarships

Ambrose Advantage
Criteria: Iowa resident, Federal Pell Grant eligible, 2022 high school graduate, min. unweighted GPA 2.5, admitted to SAU, and FAFSA filed by Mar. 15. To remain eligible in subsequent years, students must maintain 2.5 GPA and qualify for the Federal Pell Grant.
Award: Full tuition

Athletic Scholarships
Criteria: performance and ability
Award: varies

Fine Arts Scholarships
Criteria: performance and ability in music, art and theatre
Award: varies

Fr. Welch Alumni Scholarships
Criteria: parent is a St. Ambrose graduate
Award: $500/year

Minority Scholarship
Criteria: ethnically diverse student, FAFSA required
Award: $500-$1,000/year

Catholic Traditions Scholarship
Criteria: graduate from Catholic high school
Award: $2,000/year



OUT OF STATE RESIDENTS LIVING ON CAMPUS

Out of State On Campus Merit-Based Scholarships

Trustee Scholar
Criteria: unweighted 3.9 GPA and minimum 29 ACT or 1340 SAT score. Must maintain 3.25 cumulative GPA in successive years.
Award: $25,000/year and invited to compete for an Ambrose Scholar full-tuition award

Academic Scholarships
Criteria: based on unweighted GPA and ACT/SAT score (optional)
Award: $17,000-$23,000/year

University Grant
Criteria: based on unweighted GPA and ACT/SAT score (optional)
Award: $13,000/year

Out of State On Campus Additional Institutional Aid

Athletic Scholarships
Critieria: performance and ability
Award: varies

Fine Arts Scholarships
Critieria: performance and ability in music, art and theatre
Award: varies

Fr. Welch Alumni Scholarships
Criteria: parent is a St. Ambrose graduate
Award: $1,000/year

Minority Scholarship
Criteria: ethnically diverse student, FAFSA required
Award: $500-$1,000/year

Catholic Traditions Scholarship
Criteria: graduate from Catholic high school
Award: $2,000/year

Menke Parish Scholarship
Criteria: Diocese of Davenport parishioner, additional application required
Award: $1,000/year



OUT OF STATE RESIDENTS LIVING OFF CAMPUS

Out of State Off Campus Merit-Based Scholarships

Academic Scholarships
Criteria: based on unweighted GPA and ACT/SAT score (optional)
Award: $14,000-$17,000/year

University Grants
Criteria: based on unweighted GPA and ACT/SAT score
Award: $11,000/year

Out of State Off Campus Additional Institutional Scholarships

Athletic Scholarships
Criteria: performance and ability
Award: varies

Fine Arts Scholarships
Criteria: performance and ability in music, art and theatre
Award: varies

Fr. Welch Alumni Scholarships
Criteria: parent is a St. Ambrose graduate
Award: $500/year

Minority Scholarship
Criteria: ethnically diverse student, FAFSA required
Award: $500/year

Catholic Traditions Scholarship
Criteria: graduate from Catholic high school
Award: $2,000/year

State and Federal Grants, Work Study

Grants are money that you don't repay, and they can come from government or private sources. SAU receives all financial aid funds directly - including loans and grants - then applies them to your account: once in the fall term and once in the spring term. Grants can be used to cover your tuition, books, and housing costs. You must apply for grants each academic year. If you have any loan funds in excess of your costs, you may receive a refund. If you are a first-time borrower, there is a 30-day hold on your first disbursement. For all of these grants, you must complete the Free Application Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible after October 1.


Iowa Tuition Grant
To be eligible for the Iowa Tuition Grant, you must be a resident of Iowa as defined by the State Board of Regents and currently enrolled or planning to enroll in an undergraduate degree program at an eligible Iowa college or university (SAU is eligible). Iowa College Aid administers need-based college financial aid for Iowans, such as the Iowa Tuition Grant. FAFSA deadline is July 1.
Award: $6,800

Federal Pell Grant
Awarded to students of the highest need based on how much your family can contribute to your education. The U.S. Department of Education sets a Expected Family Contribution (EFC) threshold. Then, when you file your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), it computes where you land within that threshold and determines if you qualify for the grant and for how much.
Award: $6,345 maximum

Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
To qualify, you must file a FAFSA by the priority deadline of March 15 and you must qualify for a Pell Grant. This grant is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis to students who have submitted all required documents for review and in time for the review to be complete. If you are eligible for a Pell Grant or SEOG, the awards will appear on your financial aid award letter. Award: $400 maximum

Federal Work Study
Criteria: based on financial need. File FAFSA as soon as possible after Oct. 1.
Award: $1,850

Federal Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant 
Provides aid to students intending to teach in a high-need field at a school that serves low-income families (as determined by the U.S. Department of Education or a state education agency). Review criteria and all details here.
Award: up to $4,000

Outside Scholarships

There are many opportunities to receive scholarships from outside sources, here are a few websites to begin researching your options:

Another tip: Next time you're on campus, check out the bulletin board outside Bee Central where we post more flyers and applications for outside scholarships.


Tim Stompanato '13


Tim – a double major in Theatre and Philosophy – says St. Ambrose gave him the valuable opportunity to explore different studies. "I was drawn to the theatre and philosophy programs and quickly realized these would be not only my majors, but my passions as well. Philosophy has influenced every aspect of my life and I grew tremendously in the program. I was exposed to many different thinkers and types of philosophy and each class served to shape the mindset I have today and the way I view the world around me," he says.

Another Philosophy Major: Foreign Correspondent Franc Contreras '87
Joe Norris Headshot mobile size Joe Norris Headshot

Joe Norris

Bachelor of Arts in Theology,Director of Mission Integration and Regional Ethics, Mercy Dubuque and Mercy Health Network,Class of 2012


Nurturing SAU professors who genuinely cared about Joe helped pave the way for him to earn graduate degrees in theology and healthcare ethics. He is using his education to serve and guide others as Director of Mission Integration and Regional Ethics, Mercy Dubuque and Mercy Health Network.

See My Story

Apply Visit Info

Contact


Alfredo Mac Laughlin, PhD, Chair

Philosophy Department
Ambrose Hall 315B
518 W. Locust St.
Davenport, IA 52803
563-333-6483
MacLaughlinAlfredoJ@sau.edu

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