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About

The study of philosophy lies deep in William & Mary's roots.  The College's charter in 1693 called for a “perpetual College of Divinity, Philosophy, Languages, and other good Arts and Sciences” to be founded in the Virginia Colony.  Over three centuries after the College's inception, the importance of an education in philosophy has only increased.  

Distinctive features of the current William & Mary Philosophy Department include these:

  • Distinguished faculty scholars publish and present research at national and international forums, on topics including moral psychology, social justice, practical rationality, philosophy of mind, metaphysics, theory of knowledge, philosophy of art, free will, moral responsibility, and ethics.
  • Our majors take intensive seminars, providing close contact with faculty and opportunities for spirited debate.
  • Engaging with the deepest questions about who we are and how we should live prepares our students to lead reflective, purposive lives. 
  • Training in critical thinking, logic, argumentation and analytical writing is highly valuable to prospective employers.
  • Through its speaker series and conferences, the department brings to campus eminent scholars to give presentations on topics of interdisciplinary interest.
  • Study of philosophy is excellent preparation for graduate programs in government, public policy, and law.
  • Eligible students may pursue Honors projects in Philosophy.
  • Senior majors are eligible for an annual essay prize competition.