The goals of philosophical training are:
- to think critically and make well-grounded arguments, both orally and in written work;
- to understand key philosophical problems and major traditions;
- to learn variegated approaches to solving problems;
- to detect problems and puzzles that are not readily apparent;
- critical listening;
- a step-by-step approach to the mastery of public speaking; and
- reading and interpreting all forms of text—news reports, books, film, television, etc.
Deparmental initiatives include:
- applying philosophical concepts to everyday affairs;
- creating community through an undergraduate colloquium series, movie nights, the philosophy club, optional 1-hr lab sections to work more closely with research faculty, the undergraduate journal—Labryrinth, and public lectures with distinguished visiting speakers;
- outreach and engagement; for example, through the service-learning course, PHIL:3920 Philosophy in Public, the K-12 Iowa Lyceum Summer Philosophy Institute, and outreach with the Johnson County Senior Center;
- prompt and helpful advising;
- career guidance and support.
- an annual newsletter that connects students with successful alumni.
The Philosophy Department also participates in the 3+3 program with the UI College of Law, in which students apply to the law school in their junior year and, if accepted, begin attending law school in what would have been their undergraduate senior year.
The department offers a Bachelor of Arts and a minor in philosophy.