About us

The Philosophy department at Wayne State University boasts a distinguished and ongoing tradition of pursuing philosophy in a lively and constructive fashion. Our mission is to offer training in all major areas of philosophy in the analytic tradition for both undergraduate and graduate students. The department also offers a number of service courses for other university departments and for the university's general education requirements.

Our philosophy faculty have been trained at some of the leading universities in the United States. The department's strength is its distinctive approach and vision, centering on the fundamental areas in analytic philosophy. Within that tradition, we offer courses in epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, the history of philosophy, logic, the philosophy of mind, the philosophy of language, the philosophy of science, the philosophy of art, and the philosophy of law.

The Philosophy department offers courses of study leading to the bachelor of arts (B.A.) degree, with a major or a minor in philosophy, at the undergraduate level, and to the master of arts (M.A.) and Ph.D. degrees at the graduate level. The size of our program (eleven faculty and roughly twenty-five graduate students) allows for considerable faculty-student interaction.

Learning outcomes and enhancement

The learning outcomes for our department's B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. programs are as follows:

Content knowledge

Students will demonstrate knowledge of important themes, figures, problems, and methods in the major areas of Philosophy.

Analytical reasoning

Students will demonstrate skill in identifying, constructing, evaluating, and reconstructing arguments.  

Clarity of thought and expression

Students will demonstrate skill at writing (or speaking) in an organized, informed, and precise manner.

Research skill

Students will demonstrate at identifying and evaluating relevant sources for the philosophical themes, figures, and problems they explore.

Assessment and program enhancement

The Philosophy department engages in an ongoing assessment that aims at ensuring the quality of our programs while also finding ways to enhance our programs in light of our stated learning outcomes. The following are some of the changes to our programs that were instituted during the 2014-15 academic year as part of this process.

Bachelor of arts program

We instituted new guidelines for our Writing Intensive course (PHI 5993). The new guidelines provide a timetable for completing a semester-long research paper, and they aim at advancing our students' research skills while also deepening their content knowledge in the area of their Writing Intensive project.

Master of arts program

We instituted new distributions requirements for the M.A. degree so that all students will now need courses in metaphysics & epistemology, ethics, and history of philosophy (in addition to logic, which was already required). The new requirements aim at increasing the breadth of our students' content knowledge.

Ph.D. program

We eliminated the cognate requirement for the Ph.D. (which required students to take graduate courses outside of the Philosophy Department) and also reduced the Logic requirement for the Ph.D. from three courses to two. These changes to our requirements aim at increasing the flexibility of the program and thereby making it easier for students to acquire greater depth in their chosen subfields.