University of Missouri-St. Louis
Bachelor of arts
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Bachelor of arts

You view the world with a unique perspective. Rather than direct your mind down a single common path, learn to think differently with an online bachelor of arts in philosophy from the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL), where you’ll thrive in a virtual community with other inquisitive, analytical innovators.

UMSL’s Department of Philosophy looks to the past to contemplate the present. You’ll explore topics, processes and concepts introduced by ancient and contemporary western and non-western philosophers in modern contexts. Discussions hone your communication skills and welcome originality of thought. This approach paves the way to research, forming your own ideas and understanding current applications of key philosophical principles. As you think about your career, you’ll become a discerning critic and analyzer who’s open to new ideas and thoughts. You will refine your understanding of logical precision and begin to identify assumptions that undermine discussions and unbiased analysis. You’ll further consider where philosophy overlaps with or emerges through the sciences, arts and other fields. 

Quick facts

Official name

Bachelor of arts in philosophy


University of Missouri-St. Louis

Program type

Bachelor's degree

Academic home

College of Arts & Sciences | Department of Philosophy

Delivery mode

100% online


Higher Learning Commission

Credit hours


Estimated cost


Transfer credit hours


Transfer estimated cost


*This cost is for illustrative purposes only. Your hours and costs will differ, depending on your transfer hours, your course choices and your academic progress. See more about tuition and financial aid.

Why earn an online bachelor’s in philosophy?

You seldom accept a statement at face value. Instead, you question it, examine it from multiple angles and consider alternatives. Studying philosophy adds structure and context while expanding this process and introducing you to ideas and experiences diverging from your own.

UMSL’s Department of Philosophy views the field through a lens of ethics, epistemology and thoughts, topics and methods extending over the centuries. Yet, philosophy isn’t strictly handled as an ancient tool of analysis and exploration, but rather considered a framework for timeless, boundary-pushing critical thinking. You’re encouraged to question the world, investigate and embrace ideas outside of yourself and become a more effective communicator and researcher.

Setting students up for a multitude of career outcomes, the online bachelor’s in philosophy focuses on analytical and evaluation skills, and formulating arguments and proofs. You’ll:

  • Be introduced to a spectrum of philosophers and their ideas in western and non-western traditions, which will be examined in both successive and historical contexts
  • Critically assess historical and contemporary philosophical texts, rationally argue these ideas and understand core moral theories and how they apply to present ethical dilemmas
  • Be exposed to the latest ideas in epistemology, metaphysics and value theory
  • Become familiar with formal reasoning tools, including syllogistic logic, propositional logic, quantificational logic and probability theory, and their applications in philosophical discussions and more contemporary, real-world settings
  • Translate long-held philosophical concepts to the present to strengthen your analytical, research, communication and critical-thinking skills
  • Be encouraged to develop and support your own views, including orally in discussions, in writing and through research involving primary and secondary sources
  • Take on a more fluid view of philosophy, including where and how it intersects with and shapes other disciplines.
  • Examine how ethical and sociopolitical principles help with addressing moral conflicts and evaluating social customs and institutions
  • Be taught by published, research-involved faculty trained in multiple methods of philosophical analysis 
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Career prospects

The pursuit of “why” and “how” becomes a life-enhancing endeavor that shapes a number of career paths:

  • Continue your education through master’s and doctoral programs for a career in academia.
  • Focus your career by applying to a professional program involving intensive analysis, including law, medicine or business.
  • Enter the workforce with heightened analytical, communication, critical-thinking and other soft skills — assets across a number of fields.

For students thinking about how to translate their online bachelor’s in philosophy into a career, opportunities exist in:

  • Advertising
  • Human resources
  • Market research
  • Education
  • Policy analysis
  • Journalism
  • Civil service
Burning Glass Technologies. 2021. Salary numbers and employment growth numbers are based on models that consider advertised job posting salary, Bureau of Labor Statistics data and other proprietary and public sources of information for multiple occupations.
employment growth
Burning Glass Technologies. 2021. Salary numbers and employment growth numbers are based on models that consider advertised job posting salary, Bureau of Labor Statistics data and other proprietary and public sources of information for multiple occupations.
median salary

Program structure

The philosophy major involves 30 credit hours of course work. UMSL’s general education requirements make up the rest of your degree.

The structure of the online bachelor’s in philosophy covers the following areas:

History of philosophy: Start to understand the emergence of philosophy as a discipline and ideas that have shaped centuries’ worth of arguments. Courses introduce you to the works and topics of early philosophers, including Plato, Socrates and Aristotle, and extend through the Middle Ages and Renaissance periods to the present. Along with learning about rationalism, empiricism, skepticism and other processes and ideas, you’ll examine these discussions in cultural and historical contexts. 

Logic: Understand how to debate better through courses examining the structure, language and applications of arguments, reasoning and deductive inference.

Normative philosophy: Explore moral and ethical dilemmas, skepticism, objectivity, obligation and value, justice, liberty and social contracts in both traditional and contemporary contexts.

Metaphysics and epistemology: Gain a stronger grasp on universals, causality, truth and the characteristics of space, time, substance, identity and being.

Delivery of this program is 100% online: no campus visits are required. Courses are semester-based. Program length and course load varies. 

Course work includes

Through all subject areas and electives, the online bachelor’s in philosophy covers:

  • Ancient and modern philosophy
  • Critical reasoning and logic
  • Ethics and philosophy of law
  • Philosophy of mind
  • Metaphysics and epistemology

Review all requirements and course descriptions for the online bachelor’s in philosophy.


100% online

Calendar system


Typical program length

3 years

Typical course load

2-3 classes per semester


The University of Missouri-St. Louis is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States.

Faculty spotlight

Eric Wiland.

Eric Wiland (University of Chicago, 1997) works primarily on topics in ethics and practical reason. He investigates problems in practical philosophy by thinking about people who have various cognitive and motivational flaws, especially those who recognize that they have such flaws. He is the author of Reasons (2012) and Guided by Voices (2021). He organizes the St. Louis Annual Conference of Reasons and Rationality. He teaches courses in various topics: happiness, ethics, philosophy of economics, racism, and deception.

Eric Wiland, PhD

Learn more about this program

This program is administered by the Department of Philosophy