Philosophy | Earlham College



Pondering essential questions

The Philosophy curriculum at Earlham is distinctive in its depth of coverage of the history of philosophy. The department's emphasis on the living tradition and its continuity with contemporary movements shows that ancient philosophy is not obsolete and contemporary philosophy is not rootless. As students learn to be conversant with the ideas of the major figures of the Western tradition, they learn the vocabulary, methods, questions and standards of the discipline. At the conclusion of the four-course history sequence, Philosophy majors spend most of their time in advanced courses and seminars examining a particular problem or the thought of a particular philosopher.

Earlham Philosophy majors successfully pursue a wide variety of occupations and post-graduate studies. Every year, some go to graduate school in philosophy. According to HEDS data, Earlham is ranked 29th (in the 98th percentile) among 1,533 institutions of higher learning in the U.S. in the percentage of graduates who go on to receive Ph.D.s in the humanities. Many Earlham philosophy graduates go to law school or into seminary training, and many others go into secondary school teaching.

Special Learning Opportunities

The Philosophy Department frequently has students enroll in the Associated Colleges of the Midwest off-campus program at the Newberry Library in Chicago.

Many philosophy majors participate in Earlham’s Germany May Term program.

Philosophy majors complete Senior Capstone Projects that allow students to explore topics in depth.

Our students regularly present their scholarship at academic conferences or publish them in journals.


Our alumni often enroll in graduate programs in philosophy.

Philosophy majors pursue a remarkable range of careers. A sampling of famous people who majored in philosophy include: Actress Susan Sarandon, Filmmaker Ethan Coen, Civil Rights Leader Martin Luther King Jr. and NFL Quarterback John Elway.

Philosophy is also good preparation for careers in law, politics or activism. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, President Bill Clinton and Activist Angela Davis all majored in philosophy.

Philosophical Earlhamites

Simone Leigh
Timeless Art

What do you get when you mix training in traditional American studio ceramics, knowledge of ancient African pottery techniques and a strong education in philosophy?

Distinctively Earlham
Independent studies offer students chances to explore areas of special interest, working in close collaboration with faculty.


Earlham ranks 29th (in the 98th percentile) among 1,533 institutions of higher learning in the U.S. in the percentage of graduates who go on to receive Ph.D.s in the humanities.
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Earlham College, an independent, residential college, aspires to provide the highest-quality undergraduate education in the liberal arts, including the sciences, shaped by the distinctive perspectives of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).

Earlham College
801 National Road West
Richmond, Indiana
1-765-983-1200 — Main Switchboard
1-800-EARLHAM (327-5426) — Admissions