Skip to main content


At Sonoma State University, the philosophy department specializes in the study of ethics and values.  Students critically examine life's deepest questions, and learn how to evaluate solutions to vital problems and debates in contemporary society.  If you are curious about the origins of value, or what makes life worth living, or how to promote the public good, then majoring in philosophy is a smart choice.

We divide our curriculum into a set of common requirements, and a set of concentration requirements.  Students choose among four different concentrations:  1)  Pre-Law and Applied Ethics; 2) The Good Life; 3) Science, Technology and Ethics; and 4) Social Justice.  These concentrations offer in-depth exploration of specific themes and topics.  Pre-Law and Applied Ethics focuses on the intersection of law, politics and ethics.  The Good Life focuses on the nature of human flourishing and the origins of value.  Science, Technology and Ethics focuses on artifical intelligence and the ethics of technology and science.  Social Justice focuses on gender, race and power.  Students learn leading theories and ideas, and apply them to their experiences and decision-making.

A degree in philosophy provides excellent training for critical thinking, writing and speaking.  Philosophy majors regularly place in the top five in the LSAT (the law school entrance exam), the GMAT (the business school entrance exam), and the GRE (the graduate school entrance exam).  Employers prize philosophy majors for their ability to think on their own, solve problems, and adapt to novel circumstances.  Philosophy majors have a return on their investment that is comparable to engineering majors and their mid-career salaries are the highest outside of the stem fields.

Because we focus on ethics and values, our major is especially well suited for students who aspire for careers in the fields of law, criminal justice, data ethics, government and public administration, ethical oversight (medical, legal, professional) and philanthropy.


Ting poster
CELS Lecture Monday, September 25th: Join us Monday, September 25th as Ting-An Lin discusses Rethinking "Democratizing AI"
Teed Poster
CELS Lecture, Monday, September 18th: Join us Monday as Teed Rockwell discusses The Privileged Access of the Underprivileged.
Ethics, Law, and Society Forum: FALL 23 - Register Now for CELS 205, Mondays from 12-12:50. For more information on how to add the course, please email John Sullins or Shelly Stephens
CELS Lecture Thursday, April 20th.: Come join us at 1p.m., Thursday, April 20th for Monica Worline's lecture on Why Thriving Isn't What We Think It Is.  Student Center, Ballroom B.
Philosophy Major Receives the 2022-2023 Foundation Scholarship: Congratulations to  philosophy major Amish Patel for receiving the 2022-2023 Foundation Scholarship. Read the Arts and Humanities Spotlight here.

Philosophy Major

At Sonoma State University, philosophy majors and minors engage with cutting-edge theories about ethics and values. Students learn how to analyze and solve vital problems about morality, law, political and social conflicts, science and technology, the environment, and social justice. Majoring in philosophy will help students develop high-level skills in: critical thinking, writing and speaking; moral reasoning and awareness; values clarification; self-reflection and personal growth; and civic engagement. Philosophy majors are in high demand in the public and private sectors. Philosophy provides superior training for a wide range of careers. Philosophy majors have the highest level of midcareer earnings outside the STEM fields.

Check our Philosophy Brochure for more information about our program.


With extensive, dedicated, and repeated focus on critical thinking, problem solving, argumentation, and written and oral communication skills, Philosophy majors are well-equipped for a wide range of jobs. 

According to the Guardian, "Employers regularly report that they want to hire college graduates with advanced general critical thinking and communication skills, and they single out Philosophy majors as exactly what they are looking for." Perhaps for these reasons, Philosophy majors are considered to be highly employable and have skyrocketing mid-career earnings

Philosophy majors also do very well in admissions for graduate school.  They regularly receive among the top scores on the LSAT, the law school entrance exam; the GRE, the general entrance exam for graduate schools; and the GMAT, the exam required for going to business school.

In the spirit of critical thinking, it is worth noting that it is unclear why philosophy majors do so well on all of these fronts.  (Is it the subject matter?  Perhaps it's the skills we focus on?  Do already skilled students select themselves into majors?)  But if you love tackling philosophical problems--after all, it is important to study what you love--and want to work on general skills that can quickly adapt in a rapidly changing economy, maybe even if you want to run the world, we believe that there is no better major than Philosophy.