Welcome to the Department of Philosophy!

We offer a variety of programs and courses that will help build your skillset, whether you want a career in the medical field, are thinking of going to law school, or want to become an engineer, computer scientist, writer or artist. We also offer exciting undergraduate and graduate programs, including a BA Honors program, a new Undergraduate Certificate in Ethics and a new course-based MA program. If you are new to Philosophy and are wondering what philosophers study and what you can do with a Philosophy degree, take a look at this brief guide to the field of philosophy and its uses.


Undergraduate Degree Program

Over the course of our four-year program, you will learn how to interpret philosophical arguments, engage in philosophical discussions, pursue original avenues of research and acquire reasoning and argumentative skills unmatched by any other discipline.

Honors Degree Program

If you would like to take your understanding of Philosophy a step further and pursue your interests in a more focused way, consider enrolling in our Honors program. You will acquire a broad knowledge of philosophy, hone your independent research skills, delve deep into a topic of interest, learn how to write a longer research essay and work closely with a faculty member who will supervise your Honors Thesis.

Undergraduate Certificate in Ethics

The Undergraduate Certificate in Ethics in the Faculty of Arts positions students to become ethical leaders in the humanities, business, civil service, law, healthcare, science and other professions. The curriculum provides a broad understanding of central ethical theories together with core competencies in their application to emerging ethical issues in individual and social life. The Certificate in Ethics is a valuable credential for new professionals, public and private sector employees, and those planning to pursue graduate degrees.

Graduate Programs - MA + PhD

We offer well-rounded MA and PhD programs that cover the study of traditional areas of philosophy including metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, logic and the history of philosophy, especially ancient, medieval and early modern. We are also proud to offer teachings in the philosophy of science, philosophy of mind, aesthetics, political philosophy, environmental ethics, Indian philosophy and certain areas of continental philosophy.

Fall Term
MW 11–11:50 A.M. + Friday discussion group

PHIL 101 - Introduction to Philosophy: Values and Society

What makes a life worth living? Is happiness or pleasure more valuable than knowledge? How can we know what the right thing to do is? Are humans naturally selfish and cruel or are they made that way by society? Are inequalities among members of society inevitable? In this course we explore these questions by reading classic texts from philosophers such as Plato, Epicurus, Hobbes, Rousseau, Mill, Kant, Marx, and Iris Marion Young. Students will critically examine the views of these philosophers and learn how to defend their own positions more effectively using rational argumentation.

Dr. Peter Andes

Fall Term
MWF 2-2:50 P.M.

PHIL 282 - Philosophy of law

Can the law be racist? Can the law be misogynistic? Did the Nazis have a "valid" legal system? Did Indigenous societies have legal systems before Europeans arrived in the Americas? Where does morality end and law begin? In this course we will address these questions and more. Students will be presented with various views concerning what the law is and what can be part of it. For each theoretical question, the course will address some contemporary legal cases from different parts of the world (Canada, USA, Germany, Peru, Colombia, etc.), which will help see how different conceptions of the law might be at play in different areas of the world. No prerequisites.

Dr. Jorge Sanchez Perez

  • Beyond Philosophy

    The Philosophy Department was the original home for Education, Psychology and Sociology. Your philosophy education isn't limited to one discipline.

  • Historic Roots

    Anthony Mardiros, an Australian who chaired the Department in the 1960s, studied with prominent philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein at Cambridge during the Second World War.

  • Royal Society of Canada

    The Department is home to two members of the Royal Society of Canada: Jeffry Pelletier and Bernard Linsky (both Professors Emeritus).

Message from the Chair 

The University of Alberta Philosophy Department is comprised of a group of keen students, dedicated teachers, and researchers who love to think about the big questions: the structure of reality, the existence of truth, the nature of moral goodness and artistic beauty, the ideal form of political community and even the meaning of life. Stop by the second floor of Assiniboia Hall and join in the discussion! You’ll find professors to answer your questions and advise you about courses, undergrad majors with a dedicated office (ASH 2-21), the Undergraduate Philosophical Association (new members are always welcome!), and grad students in our MA and PhD programs who meet regularly as the Graduate Research Support Group. We also host a variety of talks and other events that are open to all. We look forward to welcoming you to our department!

Jack Zupko
Professor and Interim Chair

Jack Zupko, Professor and Interim Chair

News + Events

Dr. Geoffrey Rockwell Dr. Geoffrey Rockwell

Recording of the 2023 Annual Public Lecture in Philosophy 

Geoffrey Rockwell presented the 2023 Annual Public Lecture in Philosophy: “The Eliza Effect: Data Ethics for Machine Learning.”

Watch Now


Leave a Legacy

Your donation supports new learning opportunities and experiences for students, funds research and builds spaces for innovation and education.