Philosophy is the fundamental study of knowledge, existence, and reasoning. Online philosophy degrees are available at the associate, bachelor's, master's, doctoral, and certificate levels. Philosophy students are trained to become better thinkers through reading and comprehending complex material on different philosophical concepts. They also take classes in critical thinking, writing, ethics, and communication. It is recommended that students in a liberal arts discipline like philosophy pursue internships or other practical experiences to help them transition into a career after graduation.
The completion of an online philosophy degree indicates to employers that a student can approach problem-solving in a creative way. Philosophy programs often prepare students for various careers in law, healthcare administration, business, and education. Read on for our list of the best online colleges offering bachelor's in philosophy degrees, which ranks programs based on tuition rates and alumni salaries provided by PayScale.
2020 Best Online Colleges Offering Bachelor's in Philosophy Degrees
The following 12 schools offer the best online bachelor's in philosophy degrees, based on their low tuition rates and high mid-career salary potentials. Graduates of the #1-ranked school, Arizona State University, earn a median salary of $106,000 after earning their BA in Philosophy. Second-ranked University of Arizona offers a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy with a specialization in Ethics for $15,000 per year. Graduates of the school's philosophy program earn a median salary of $76,700.
Alumni salaries were provided by PayScale. View our methodology for more details or learn more about OnlineU.
Arizona State University offers an online bachelor's degree in philosophy that is designed to educate students in the primary subfields of the discipline, including ethics, the theory of knowledge, and metaphysics. Students in the program learn techniques in reading and understanding complex philosophical texts, structuring arguments, and communicating clearly and effectively. The online bachelor's in philosophy degree opens the door to a host of potential careers in law, business, politics, and social services. Students are required to complete 120 credit hours, which translates to 39 courses that last seven and a half weeks each. Students use the Canvas learning management system to submit assignments, organize classroom materials, take quizzes, and communicate with instructors and classmates. Canvas comes with support services to assist students. Other resources include counseling services, career development tools, virtual tutoring, and TRIO services for eligible students. Prospective students can apply by submitting an online application with their transcripts and test scores. Eligibility requirements include a minimum 3.0 GPA on high school coursework, a class rank of top 25% of graduating class, or minimum ACT/SAT scores of 22 or 1120, respectively. Those who do not meet one of these requirements may still be able to join the program through ASU's Earned Admission path.
#2 University of Massachusetts-Lowell
Annual Tuition: $11,400
Median Salary: $83,867
Locations: Lowell (MA)
The University of Massachusetts-Lowell's Bachelor of Liberal Arts is a multidisciplinary program offering students the opportunity to focus their studies in two areas of concentration, including Philosophy. The curriculum provides a well-rounded education in critical thinking, communication, problem-solving, and a foundational understanding of humanities and science, in addition to concentrated instruction in philosophy. Students can expect to take classes such as Introduction to World Religion, Engineering and Ethics, Logic and Critical Thinking, and Philosophy of Sex and Love. Courses are taught through the Blackboard learning management system and may include audio or video lectures, tutorials, classroom discussions, group projects, and individual assignments. Students can transfer up to 90 credits and can apply anytime, as admission takes place on a rolling basis. To do so, students must have graduated high school or received a GED. The application can be completed online, and students must also submit their transcripts. The university began offering online learning opportunities in 1996 and has received national recognition for its high quality and innovative course delivery, teaching, and faculty. Resources for students include tutoring services, library access, the UML help desk, and academic advising.
#3 University of Arizona
Annual Tuition: $15,000
Median Salary: $76,700
Locations: Tucson (AZ)
The University of Arizona offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy with a concentration in Ethics. Knowledge in ethics is a quality that applies to many fields, including government, law, health care, education, and environmental policy. The ethics curriculum includes instruction in business ethics, medical ethics, scientific ethics, and legal ethics. Students also learn about the fundamentals of philosophy, with coursework in metaphysics, the theory of knowledge, and the philosophy of freedom, morality, and consciousness. Online courses at the University of Arizona run seven and a half weeks, with six start dates offered each year. Course materials are available through the Desire2Learn (D2L) learning management system. Students can also use the platform to organize class readings, watch video lectures, and communicate with their professors and classmates through email and chat boards. Students can study on a part-time or full-time schedule; most students take four years to complete their degree. To apply, students must create an online account and submit an application with their academic transcripts. While in the program, students can take advantage of study abroad opportunities and benefit from resources such as tutoring, alumni networking, program coaches, and 24/7 IT support.
#4 University of Colorado Colorado Springs
Annual Tuition: $15,412
Median Salary: $76,100
Locations: Colorado Springs (CO)
Students in the Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy program at the University of Colorado - Colorado Springs can pursue a general education in the discipline or concentrate their studies in one of four tracks. Available tracks include (1) cognition, science, phenomenology, and statistics, (2) culture and aesthetics: East and West, (3) justice and global society (international studies), or (4) religion and classics. The program aims to prepare graduates with the critical thinking and communication skills necessary to apply their knowledge in careers in medicine, education, government, law, or the social sciences. Students can expect to take at least 30 credits of philosophy coursework, including 12 credits in the concentration of their choice. In addition, all students complete a senior project at the end of the program. Classes are taught through the Canvas learning management system and may include written assignments, quizzes, classroom discussions, and group projects. Admission takes place three times a year: in the spring, summer, and fall. To be considered, students must submit an online application, as well as their transcripts and ACT/SAT scores. Distance learners can benefit from virtual services such as academic advising, career resources, military student support, and mental health counseling.
#5 Washington State University
Annual Tuition: $11,550
Median Salary: $72,543
Locations: Pullman (WA)
The Bachelor of Arts in Humanities at Washington State University offers students a broad education in humanities, liberal arts, and social sciences fundamentals, with the opportunity to focus their studies in the philosophy discipline. Instruction in philosophy includes coursework in critical thinking, logic, religion, feminism, and ethics in science, business, and medicine. A total of 120 credits are required for graduation. The university has offered remote learning opportunities since 1992, and online students are provided a personal academic advisor, free career counseling, and free eTutoring services. The online classes, which include general education and major-specific courses, are delivered through the Blackboard learning management system. Through Blackboard, students can stream lectures, submit written assignments, communicate with their professors, and access their grades while working independently. The program is ideal for students requiring flexibility due to their professional or personal responsibilities. There are three program start dates and three deadlines for students applying for admissions. Prospective students should submit an application, academic transcripts, and SAT or ACT scores. Adult first-year students are required to include a short essay and a professional resume.
#6 Fort Hays State University
Annual Tuition: $6,560
Median Salary: $63,433
Locations: Hays (KS)
Fort Hays State University offers a fully online Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy degree. The program consists of 120 credit hours, 30 of which are philosophy courses (18 required and 12 electives), and 25 courses are free electives. The required philosophy curriculum includes courses in logic, philosophy of knowledge, Greek philosophy, modern philosophy, and ethics. Among the choices for philosophy electives are courses in subjects like political philosophy and bioethics. A senior thesis is required to graduate. Applications for admission should be filled out online, and transcripts and test scores must be provided by the student. FHSU students earning an online bachelor’s in philosophy will also earn a Certificate in Moral and Political Philosophy and a Certificate in General Philosophy, as long as they maintain a C grade or better in each philosophy class. Independent study opportunities are available by request.
#7 University of Memphis
Annual Tuition: $15,390
Median Salary: $63,450
Locations: Memphis (TN)
Accreditation: SACS COC
The University of Memphis’ online Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy has a concentration option in Applied Ethics. The degree requires students to complete 120 course credits entirely online, and 30 of these courses should be within the major. The online courses are rotated so that students can complete their BA in two to four years. Students should stay in contact with the departmental advisor to be sure they take the required courses as they become available. Students maintaining a minimum 3.5 GPA in philosophy classes are eligible for the honors program and for completing an honors thesis. The focus of this program is on ethical theories and problem-solving. The major curriculum includes courses such as logic, ancient philosophy, modern philosophy, contemporary moral problems, biomedical ethics, and business ethics. The online course delivery is almost totally asynchronous so that students can work towards their degrees anywhere and at any time. The only admission requirements for the U of M online BA are the university-wide admission requirements. Available online support services include registration, orientation, advising, tech support, tutoring, career services, and library services.
#8 University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth
Annual Tuition: $12,630
Median Salary: $53,900
Locations: North Dartmouth (MA)
The University of Massachusetts – Dartmouth offers a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts with a dual concentration, and one of those concentration options is Philosophy. The other concentration choices are English, Economics, History, Political Science, Women’s and Gender Studies, Sociology and Anthropology, and Urban Studies. To graduate, students must complete 120 credits, with 15 in each concentration and 6 in composition and multidisciplinary liberal arts coursework. Examples of curriculum topics include philosophy of happiness and world civilizations. UMass Dartmouth online courses are taught by the same faculty who teach students on campus. Small class sizes allow for interaction and personal attention. Professors set due dates, but otherwise, students are free to work however they prefer. Admission requires a high school diploma or GED, and SAT or ACT test results, although students who left high school over three years ago, have a qualifying disability, or have 24 transferable college credits, are exempt from the test score requirement. A letter of recommendation is optional. Students receive a range of online support services, such as individual academic advising, free 24/7 tutoring, writing center services, 24/7 tech support, library access, and online classroom training sessions.
#9 University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Annual Tuition: $8,400
Median Salary: $51,400
Locations: Little Rock (AR)
Although the University of Arkansas at Little Rock does not offer an online bachelor’s degree specifically in philosophy, they do offer an online Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies. This program allows students to choose three concentrations for their educational experience. In addition to Philosophy/Religious Studies, some of the other concentrations include History, Legal Studies, Criminal Justice, Psychology, Professional and Technical Writing, and Sociology. In order to graduate, students are required to complete 120 hours, with 18 hours in each of the three concentration areas (54 total). A capstone project is also required. Most online courses are the standard semester length, but some are also offered in an eight-week accelerated format. Admission into the program requires acceptance into UA Little Rock and at least a 19 on the English ACT and an SAT verbal score of 450. Online students have access to a number of virtual resources, including the Ottenheimer Library, the UA Little Rock Bookstore (with free delivery), the Military Student Success Center, the Disability Resource Center, the University Writing Center, the Communication Skill Center, Blackboard Student Support, information technology services, and the Mathematics Assistance Center.
#10 University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Annual Tuition: $10,061
Median Salary: $51,550
Locations: Greensboro (NC)
Accreditation: SACS COC
The online Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy degree at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro requires 122 semester hours, and at least 36 of those hours must be above the 300-course level. Courses are 100% online, with no designated class times, and are taught by faculty with PhDs. Courses are offered year-round, and most have both an on-campus and online format. The curriculum explores topics such as medical ethics, social and political philosophy, metaphysics, and philosophy of mind. The Pre-Law concentration requires a range of courses on topics fundamental to the study of law, such as ethics, epistemology, logic, and the philosophy of law. In the online philosophy degree program, all course materials, teaching, discussion boards, etc., are available online 24/7. Videos detailing the particulars of the degree are available on the UNCG website. Admission is based on overall academic performance and test scores. Online students are provided with a range of virtual student services, such as academic advising, technical support, and career services.
#11 University of Southern Mississippi
Annual Tuition: $8,624
Median Salary: $45,200
Locations: Hattiesburg (MS)
Accreditation: SACS COC
The University of Southern Mississippi offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy. The program requires students to complete 124 credit hours to graduate; at least 45 hours should be in courses at the 300 level or above, and 30-33 hours must be taken in the major. Because the online bachelor’s in philosophy is considered an in-residence program, students will not be charged out-of-state fees. Students can apply year-round to start classes for the spring, summer, or fall semester. The curriculum is designed to explore questions through courses that build skills that are useful in law, business, education, politics, the ministry, counseling, and more. The admission requirements are SAT or ACT scores and a GPA of at least 3.2. The Office of Online Learning provides many support services to online students. Some available resources are a writing center, tutoring, the bookstore, office of student success, Canvas e-classroom tutorials, and 24/7 technical assistance.
#12 University of New Orleans
Annual Tuition: $14,190
Median Salary: $43,800
Locations: New Orleans (LA)
Accreditation: SACS COC
The online philosophy degree at the University of New Orleans is one of the few Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy degrees offered online in the United States. Although previous philosophy coursework is not required, it is recommended that students have finished some college classes before applying. Most UNO online majors begin when they only need one or two years more to complete their BA. The program requires 120 credits, with 33 credits in the major and at least 15 at the 3000 level or higher. A capstone project is also required. All online students pay in-state tuition, and there is scholarship money available for all philosophy students. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis for the summer, fall, and spring semesters. All online courses are created by the same faculty who teach on campus. Some courses are synchronous and require students to log in for lectures and discussions at a prescheduled time, while others are asynchronous and have set deadlines for assignments. Most courses are the latter type, allowing students flexibility. Admission usually requires official high school transcripts and SAT or ACT scores, but exceptions can be made in certain circumstances.
Online Philosophy Degree Overview & Career Information
There are a variety of degree and certificate programs available for those interested in pursuing a degree in philosophy. Philosophy degrees are available at the associate, bachelor’s, master's, doctoral, and certificate level.
Students obtaining a degree in philosophy will be equipped with critical thinking, reasoning, and communication skills. Those seeking an advanced degree further their critical thinking skills and focus on a specialized area of study.
Online Bachelor's Degrees in Philosophy
Students seeking a bachelor’s in philosophy will learn how to structure arguments, write concisely, and clearly communicate their ideas. Coursework includes classes in symbolic logic, rationalism, and modern and postmodern philosophy, among others. Programs are 120 credits and take four years to complete.
Bachelor’s degree programs are offered at colleges and universities, with many schools offering programs online. A high school diploma or GED is required for admission as well as letters of recommendation and application essays. Students are often asked to submit SAT or ACT scores, depending on the school.
All Bachelor’s of Arts degrees have a liberal arts component. Classes covering topics in this area are typically taken during the first two years of study. Courses specific to your major are taken during the final two years. A bachelor’s degree is required for those wishing to seek an advanced degree.
Students obtaining a bachelor’s degree in philosophy will be equipped with excellent reasoning, and communication skills as well as a broad liberal arts background upon entering the workforce. Bachelor's degrees in philosophy are often used as a stepping stone towards higher level degrees in law and business.
The Importance of an Accredited Online Degree in Philosophy
Attending an accredited school ensures that students receive a high-quality education. Accreditation is a voluntary review process schools undergo to ensure programs are taught by qualified faculty members and curriculums are held to high academic standards.
Obtaining a degree from an accredited institution also signals to employers that graduates have received a quality education. If students choose to transfer schools or obtain a higher degree, accreditation ensures that other institutions will recognize their prior coursework and degree. Accreditation also allows schools to disburse federal financial aid dollars. Those who enroll in a school that has not earned accreditation status will not be eligible for federal grants or loans.
What Specializations Are Available for Philosophy Degrees?
Students in an online philosophy degree program may be able to choose a specialization in several areas, including:
Ethics: Students in this specialization will study ethical reasoning and argument. They will learn how to apply ethical theory to real-world problems in society, politics, the environment, and animal welfare. Students may take classes in contemporary moral issues and international justice.
Morality, Politics, and Law: Students will apply philosophical reasoning and analysis to political theory and law. This specialization may be of particular interest to students wishing to pursue careers in law or public policy. Students in this track may take courses in the theories of law, social and political ethics, and moral philosophy.
What Professional Associations Are Available for Philosophy Students?
Joining an association allows individuals to continue professional development in their field, network with others, and stay up to date with industry news or trends. The following professional associations are available to those in the philosophy discipline:
American Philosophical Association (APA): The APA aims to promote the profession and discipline of philosophy and advocate for greater understanding and value of the field. Several services offered to APA members include scholarships, teaching support, career development, and advocacy.
American Philosophical Society (APS): Founded in 1743 by Benjamin Franklin, the APS is the oldest academic association in the United States. The association encourages intellectual fellowship and inquiry by engaging leaders in various fields and supporting research and advancement in the field.
Association for Practical and Professional Ethics (APPE): The APPE is an international organization that promotes ethical education and conduct in professional and public spaces. APPE members have the opportunity to network with other scholars or professionals, attend conferences, and build ethics-based leadership skills.
Frequently Asked Questions About Philosophy Degrees
What can I do with an online degree in philosophy?
Students who earn online degrees in philosophy will acquire valuable critical thinking, analytical, problem-solving, and communication skills that can be applied to numerous occupations, especially when coupled with advanced degrees in other fields. For example, students who intend to pursue careers in law, business, economics, public policy, or social work often earn their bachelor's degrees in philosophy before studying a more specific subject at the graduate level.
Are entry-level jobs available to people who have earned bachelor's degrees in philosophy?
Yes, entry-level positions are available in many industries. For example, graduates with online bachelor's degrees would be eligible for positions as marketing analysts, sales representatives, and paralegals.
How much can I expect to earn with an online degree in philosophy?
Philosophy is a versatile major that provides students with a wide range of skills that can be applied across occupations. With so many career options available, the salary range is hard to define. Of course, there is the option of earning a doctorate in philosophy and becoming a college instructor, with a median annual salary of $79,540.
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