Goals and Objectives


Learning Goals and Objectives for the Philosophy Undergraduate Major.

Students who graduate with a BA in Philosophy should be able to demonstrate the following knowledge, skills, and values.

Goal 1:  Knowledge of history of philosophy:

  •   Demonstrate an understanding of major concepts in classical ancient philosophy, such as knowledge, form, matter, human happiness.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of major concepts in foundational Christian philosophy (from late antiquity and the middle ages) such as freedom of the will, arguments for the existence of God, the problem of evil.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of major concepts in early modern philosophy, such as mind and body, perception, causality, certainty, subjectivity.
  • Be able to explain and illustrate connections and influences between various historical philosophers studied.

Goal 2:  Knowledge of areas of philosophical inquiry and application:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of relationship and differences between main areas of philosophy.
  • Demonstrate thoughtful application of philosophical concepts to several specific areas of human experience, such as the history of ideas, cognition, culture, interpretation, social interaction, law, religion. 
  • Students in the area specific tracks (cognitive studies, continental philosophy, cultural studies, history of philosophy, philosophy and religion, pre law, social and political philosophy and ethics) should be able to clearly explain application of philosophical ideas to the main concepts of the track area that they have chosen.

Goal 3:  Analysis:

Class discussion and written work demonstrates clear thinking and writing, and the ability to use of primary source textual evidence in:

  • Evaluation, critique, and articulation of reasons for positions in philosophical texts
  • Comparison of different philosophical texts, showing interconnections, disagreements, and shared assumptions.
  •  Application of philosophical thinking to other areas of human experience and use of philosophical concepts to support claims and interpretations.
  • Articulation and defense of positions where available knowledge and evidence do not support a single conclusion and where multiple interpretations are possible.

Goal 4:  Appreciation of and engagement with challenging and ambiguous concepts:

  • Demonstrate openness to new ideas by being able to reflect upon and re-evaluate deeply held assumptions and views.
  •  Demonstrate awareness of the complexity of issues and willingness to examine issues from many different perspectives.
  •  Demonstrate ability to reflect on and critically evaluate new and unfamiliar concepts. 
  •  Demonstrate awareness of underrepresented voices (such as those of women, people of color, non-western and indigenous people, and the more than human world).


Approved: April 16, 2014

Philosophy at Villanova

The Philosophy Department is committed to serving Villanova students in all the undergraduate colleges. Philosophy courses, by stressing the reading of primary texts and by teaching critical thinking, writing and discussion skills, introduce students to important philosophical concepts. As part of their introductory course, all students examine the perennial questions at the heart of Catholic philosophical inquiry through the study of ancient and medieval texts.

Through the philosophy major, the Philosophy Department provides students with advanced study, developing valuable skills that can be utilized in a wide range of careers. The diverse courses offered by the department allow students to pursue their interests while exploring the riches that philosophy has to offer.  

The Department strives to fulfill and further the mission of the University by fostering in our students the spirit of critical, reflective thinking and a sense of the importance of values in their lives.