The Department of Philosophy offers numerous ways for students to get involved in scholarship, research, clubs and more.

Honor Society

Phi Sigma Tau (PST) is the International Honor Society in Philosophy. Founded in 1930, the Society has more than 200 chapters throughout the United States and Canada. Dominican has hosted PST’s Mu Chapter since 1995.

The purpose of the society is to honor students’ achievements in philosophy classes and to encourage interest and activity among students. PST also promotes ties among philosophy departments in accredited institutions.

PST members are invited to submit contributions to the organization’s national journal, Dialogue, which covers contemporary philosophical research. Members also receive the PST newsletter, which is published three times yearly and features news from local chapter activities around the country.

Undergraduates are eligible for membership if they:

  • Have completed at least three semesters of college coursework
  • Have completed at least two courses in philosophy
  • Have a 3.5 GPA in philosophy with an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher

New members are inducted each spring.

Philosophy Club

The Philosophy Club is open to any Dominican student who is interested in discussing philosophy and philosophy-related issues. Philosophy Club activities have included:

  • Sponsoring talks by student members, Dominican faculty and invited guest speakers from outside the University
  • Hosting discussions of films
  • Organizing debates on socially relevant issues

A top priority of the Philosophy Club is to support the University’s participation in the Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl, an academic competition sponsored by the Association for Practical and Applied Ethics. Each October, Dominican holds its own campus-wide ethics bowl. In November, the winners of the campus bowl participate in a regional tournament, where they compete for a spot in the national tournament.

Community-Based Learning

As a Catholic university, Dominican places a strong emphasis on service learning, a method of teaching that combines academic instruction with community service. Service learning gives students the opportunity to see theories in action, to bring their service experiences to share with the class, and to deepen their understanding of various social issues.
 

Some philosophy classes include service learning options. Additionally, service learning can be self-initiated through an agreement among the student, the professor and the Community-Based Learning Center. The self-initiated option carries one unit of academic credit.

Undergraduate Research

Dominican has committed extensive resources to fostering undergraduate research in all fields through the Office of Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creative Investigations (URSCI).

A highlight is the URSCI Expo, a day-long event in which students from all departments present papers, poster sessions and panels relating to their independent research.

Other opportunities include:

Advanced philosophy students should strongly consider pursuing undergraduate research opportunities through URSCI.

Awards

At Dominican University, each department is proud to recognize its most accomplished students. The Outstanding Senior award is given to a graduating student who with an excellent GPA and who has made consistent outstanding academic and co-curricular contributions within the philosophy department.

Capstone Seminar

All philosophy majors must complete a capstone seminar, PHIL 410, to graduate. Students in the seminar pursue in-depth studies of topics in philosophy, chosen in consultation with faculty members. The seminar takes place during the spring semester of the senior year, and philosophy minors are encouraged to take the seminar as well.

"We typically decide in conversation with students what shape the capstone seminar needs to take—we know what their strengths and weaknesses are, and we try to give them the opportunity to explore something that really excites them."
–Kelly Burns, PhD
Associate Professor of Philosophy and Department Chair

Preparation for Law School

The study of philosophy at the undergraduate level provides ideal training for the rigors of law school. Among other qualifications, law schools seek students who have taken challenging courses involving complex and critical reasoning. Careful thinking and the ability to create and support an intellectual argument are crucial skills in both philosophy and law.

Philosophy students considering a law career should discuss this interest with their academic advisor as early as possible. They are also encouraged to take Philosophy 250 Logic and Critical Thinking.

In addition, the pre-law advisor in Dominican’s pre-law advising program provides guidance and resources to Dominican students in any major who are interested in a legal career.

"The skills we emphasize in philosophy—critical thinking and careful arguments made  using language very precisely—are exactly what lawyers do when they're writing a contract or arguing a case."
–Kelly Burns, PhD
Associate Professor of Philosophy and Department Chair

Advising

Sensitive, informed academic advising is essential for any well-rounded undergraduate experience. Small departments with close faculty-student relationships are the norm at Dominican, and the philosophy department is no exception. Philosophy majors work closely with their advisors to tailor their class selections to meet their academic needs and interests.

All majors will benefit from completing the Philosophy Advising Worksheet early in the process.

In particular, students who hope to attend graduate school in philosophy should discuss their plans with their advisor as early as possible. Some philosophy courses may only be offered every other year, so careful planning is essential.