What Are the Best Philosophy Programs?

November 5, 2022
By AdmissionSight

What Are the Best Philosophy Programs?

Philosophy is the study of “why” things happen in the world. An analytical field that focuses on the most fundamental questions that can be asked about existence, philosophy is a branch of the humanities that can be found in fields such as law, ethics, and religion. Students who earn a bachelor’s degree in philosophy receive an overview of the discipline and are taught how to apply philosophical concepts to issues that occur in the real world.

What is philosophy?

If you’ve ever pondered questions such as “Does God exist?” or “Does life have a purpose?” or “Is beauty in the eye of the beholder?” or “What makes actions right or wrong?” or “Is a law fair or just?” then you’ve given some thought to the discipline of philosophy. These are just some of the philosophical issues that can be discussed.

However, what exactly is philosophy? The question raises a philosophical problem in and of itself. The most overarching concept that can be used to describe philosophy is that it is the search for knowledge, truth, and wisdom. In point of fact, the original Greek meaning of the word was “love of wisdom.”

People are said to be engaging in philosophical thought whenever they ponder profound and fundamental questions concerning the nature of the universe and ourselves, the boundaries of human knowledge, the significance of their values, and the meaning of life. The philosophical way of thinking can be found all over the world, both in the present and in the past.

View of wooden block spelt with the word philosophy placed on a table.

In the world of academia, philosophy is a distinguishing factor that differentiates one field of study from all other fields of study, such as the sciences and other humanities. Questions that are typical of interest to philosophers are ones that, in some sense, are both broader and/or more fundamental than the questions that are typically considered by other inquirers.

What universities offer the best philosophy programs?

Here is the list of the top universities that offer the best philosophy programs:

  1. Harvard University
  2. Columbia University
  3. Stanford University
  4. Princeton University
  5. Yale University
  6. University of Pennsylvania
  7. University of Chicago
  8. University of California – Los Angeles
  9. Duke University
  10. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

How to apply to the best philosophy programs?

To apply for an undergraduate degree in philosophy is not all that dissimilar from applying for the majority of other degrees; however, it is essential to be aware of the specifics of what the institution expects from its admitted applicants.

View of a young woman getting a book on a shelf.

While the application process for an undergraduate degree and a graduate degree are both distinct from one another, prospective students should still perform the necessary research to ensure that the educational institutions to which they submit applications offer the best philosophy programs that are pertinent to the fields in which they intend to pursue their studies.

Here are the fundamental requirements for the best philosophy programs:

Standardized Test Scores

Scores on standardized tests are typically communicated directly from the exam administrator to the schools. Students will be required to pay a fee at the time of registration for each individual institution to which they want their test results mailed.


Transcripts must be official and unaltered. Many educational institutions will, upon the student’s request and payment of a fee, mail the student’s transcripts directly to the college.

Recommendation Letters

The early submission of recommendation letter(s) is now required at a significant number of educational institutions. Always make sure to check references early on so that you can get the best possible recommendation.

Letter of Intent

A statement of intent is a document that most colleges and universities require students to write. In this document, students are expected to explain why they chose their institution, provide information on their background, and discuss their academic interests. Despite the fact that this varies from school to school, students who take this seriously may find that it could sway admissions to the point where their philosophy department will extend a welcome to them.

Female student looking intently on her laptop.

Students should make sure that they have submitted all of the required documentation by the required deadline, despite the fact that the requirements may differ from school to school.

Even after the application has been sent, it is imperative that you follow up to ensure that the institution has received all of the required documentation.

Why study philosophy?

As a discipline that places significant emphasis on intellectual labor, philosophy is one of the most important contributors to the overall educational endeavor. The best philosophy programs involve becoming familiar with significant figures and developments in the history of philosophy, learning contemporary methods and the accepted answers to philosophical questions, and learning the critical, interpretative, and evaluative skills that, in the grand scheme of things, may be considered to be of the utmost importance.

It is expected of students who have completed the best philosophy programs that they will be able to comprehend challenging philosophical texts that deal with more advanced philosophical arguments.

A significant portion of what one studies in philosophy is transferable to many different fields and fields of endeavor. This is due to the fact that philosophy touches on a wide range of topics, but especially that many of its methods are applicable to any area of study.

The study of philosophy helps us to improve our capacity to find solutions to problems, as well as our abilities in communication and persuasion, and our writing abilities. The following is an explanation of how the study of philosophy can assist in the growth of a variety of important skills.

General Problem-Solving Skills

The ability of a person to find solutions to problems is improved through the study of philosophy. It is useful in assisting us in the analysis of ideas, definitions, arguments, and problems. It contributes to our capacity to organize ideas and issues, deal with questions of value, and extract what is essential from large quantities of information.

It helps us, on the one hand, to distinguish fine and subtle differences between views, and, on the other hand, it enables us to discover common ground between positions that are in direct opposition to one another. In addition to this, it facilitates the consolidation of multiple points of view or perspectives into a single coherent whole.

Communication Skills

The cultivation of one’s expressive and communicative abilities is significantly aided by the study of philosophy. It provides some of the fundamental tools for self-expression, such as skills in presenting ideas through well-constructed and systematic arguments, that other fields either do not use at all or use to a much lesser extent than it does.

Philosophy enables us to articulate what it is that is distinctive about our perspectives, it improves our capacity to explain challenging subject matter, and it assists us in removing ambiguities and vagueness from our writing and speech.

Persuasion Capacity

The study of philosophy equips students with the skills necessary to construct precise formulations, compelling arguments, and pertinent examples. As a result, it enables us to develop our capacity to persuade others more effectively. We gain the ability to construct and defend our own points of view, recognize the validity of opposing viewpoints, and articulate cogently the reasons why we consider our own points of view to be superior to alternatives.

These skills can be honed not only by reading and writing about philosophy but also by engaging in philosophical conversation, both inside and outside of the classroom, which is an essential component of a well-rounded philosophical education.

Writing Skills

Writing is covered in great depth in many different philosophy classes, and many of the philosophical readings that are regularly assigned make for excellent literary essays as well. Writing that is interpretive, comparative, argumentative, and descriptive is all taught through the study of philosophy.

Interpretive writing is taught through the examination of difficult texts; comparative writing is taught through the emphasis on being fair to alternative positions; argumentative writing is taught through the development of student’s ability to establish their own views, and descriptive writing is taught through the detailed portrayal of concrete examples.

It is necessary to attach generalizations to concrete examples so that they can serve as anchors. Therefore, an emphasis is placed on both technique and structure in philosophical writing. Students are generally encouraged to use their imaginations and come up with their very own unique ideas, which falls under the category of “originality,” which is also encouraged.

Philosophy investigates the issues and concerns that crop up across the board in human thought and experience, as well as across all other academic fields. The skills gained from this kind of work can be applied to any field of endeavor.

It prompts us to ponder the nature of the subjects at hand, the lines of reasoning that are typical of those subjects, as well as the contributions that those subjects make to our understanding of ourselves and the world in which we live.

The intellectual growth and the refining of thought processes that students acquire through the study of philosophy can be applied to a very wide variety of different career paths.

In line with this, if you’re one of the students who aspire to pursue a major in philosophy, the next thing you have to do is to make yourself academically prepared.

At AdmissionSight, as part of the highly personalized, hands-on private consulting program, the students are entitled to unlimited personalized email access and monthly or quarterly Zoom sessions to address any questions as they arise regarding academic advising, extracurricular activities, summer program applications, and college applications. Feel free to set up an appointment today to book your initial consultation.


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