The Philosophy Department welcomes students with a broad range of interests and offers an extensive range of courses. Because only eight courses are required complete the standard Philosophy major, majoring in Philosophy is compatible with the study of one or more other disciplines. Roughly ninety percent of Philosophy majors also major in another discipline: Neuroscience, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Psychology, Political Science, English, and Music are common choices. Students who major only in philosophy, roughly ten percent of the majors, tend to seek careers in law or academia; these students typically take twelve or more philosophy courses.
Undergraduate majors in our department have many opportunities to work with faculty members, particularly through Directed Study courses, in which the major works closely with a faculty member to produce a substantial research paper. These are sometimes used for applications to graduate school.
Meet Santino Petrocelli
When Santino Petrocelli and four of his fellow philosophy majors wanted to study Richard Rorty, a prominent American philosopher on whom no course was then offered, they approached one of their professors. Distinguished Professor Robert Brandom enthusiastically responded, developing a directed study on the topic just for this interested group of students. Brandom was uniquely qualified to lead the students in this study, as Rorty had been his dissertation supervisor at Princeton University.
This sort of access for students to the University of Pittsburgh’s world-renowned faculty members is central to the mission of the Department of Philosophy. Says Petrocelli, “What interested me at first about the philosophy major was the subject matter I was exposed to in introductory classes—philosophers writing beautiful passages, the content of which is aimed at asking life’s biggest questions. Then I read up on the department here at Pitt. It is one of the best in the English-speaking world, consistently ranked in the top five by the generally recognized authorities.”
For more information about our department, or to schedule a visit or tour, please contact the Dietrich School's Manager of Undergraduate Recruitment, Nicole Horvath, at firstname.lastname@example.org.