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What is the Philosophy program about?

Philosophy is critical inquiry into the most fundamental questions we face. What is the nature of the world? What is the meaning of life? How should we live? How can we know anything and what should we believe? What is a good person? What would a just society be like?

Many other subjects originated in philosophy, including physics, biology, political science, psychology, and artificial intelligence. Philosophy is still relevant to these subjects, because it investigates their foundations, their presuppositions, and the ways they reflect or fail to reflect human needs and desires.

Philosophy is the oldest subject studied at universities, but its concerns are directly relevant to the urgent issues of today. The progress of science and technology, they ways in which our society and economy are organised, and the ongoing environmental crisis all raise fundamental philosophical issues.

Philosophy has never been more important.

"The critical thinking and communication skills philosophy teaches you are also the most important skills in today’s flexible workplace."

— Dr David Coady, Philosophy Major Coordinator

Raising big-picture issues in the Senate for Tasmania

"Philosophy taught me how to argue. It helped me in respecting other people’s points of view whilst also arguing against them. It gives such an insight into who we are and why things are the way they are. Philosophy changes how you see the world."

Read Lisa Singh's story

Why study Philosophy with us?

Our philosophy program offers unique study opportunities: you can explore units in Asian philosophy, and a summer program to study Tibetan Buddhism in India.

We teach across a range of philosophical traditions, Western and Eastern, and explore interdisciplinary connections with the sciences and humanities, near and far.

Undertake a major in Philosophy on-campus in Hobart or Launceston, or anywhere in the world online.

Learn from internationally recognised staff whose research in Philosophy has elevated the University of Tasmania's research ranking in the discipline above world standards*.

Develop your skills in critical thinking, analysis and clear communication, and contextual understanding of professional fields including science, law, health, media and policy-making.

What careers does Philosophy relate to?

Modern workplaces are invariably changing; responding to economic, political and social forces, which means employees need the basic intellectual capacities to adapt to change. Employers value Philosophy graduates who can thoughtfully challenge assumptions and think objectively.

Employers depend on people who are effective communicators and decision-makers, with demonstrable skills in critical thinking, problem solving, research and investigation. These abilities are fundamental for graduates in Humanities and Social Sciences, which includes Philosophy.

  • Advocacy and counselling
  • Communications and public relations
  • Computer science
  • Linguistics
  • Foreign relations
  • Education
  • Finance
  • Healthcare and healthcare ethics
  • Information technology
  • Journalism and publishing
  • Law
  • Manager in private and public enterprises
  • Marketing and advertising
  • Philosopher
  • Politics and public policy-making
  • Psychology
  • Public health and welfare
  • Researcher

Did you know? Ethan Coen (filmmaker), Susan Sarandon (actress), Hon. Justice Pamela Tate (Supreme Court of Victoria), Larry Sanger (co-founder of Wikipedia), Angela Brennan (Australian painter), Ricky Gervais (comedian) and Christopher Hitchens (journalist) all studied Philosophy.

How can I learn about Philosophy?

Many people who undertake a major in Philosophy treat it as valuable adjunct to another major in their undergraduate degree. It is also a popular choice as the Arts major in combined degrees such as the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Law, or the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Sciences.

The major involves core and elective units in Philosophy. As Philosophy is a diverse discipline, the core units will provide a necessary grounding in essential sub-fields, while the elective units will allow you to follow your particular interest.

Interested in studying with us? Explore our course and research opportunities below.

Each course and unit is linked to its own page with more detailed information and entry requirements on the Courses & Units website.

Your learning experience in Philosophy goes beyond the lecture and tutorials.

You will be taught by experts, and gain perspective from guest lecturers and forums; gain a competitive advantage with real-world experience prior to graduation; study abroad for a fortnight, a month, a semester or a year, as part of your degree; have options to complete your studies your way, whether on-campus, online, part-time or full-time;  pursue your passion or specialisation with a range of scholarships, bursaries and financial assistance programs, or meet your career goals with our pathway options.

The College of Arts, Law and Education, including the School of Humanities and Philosophy, offers a growing collection of units that are available to be completed either wholly or partially online to enable flexible study.

* The online availability for each unit is indicated on each individual unit page under ‘Availability’, then ‘Attendance options’ by the ‘Off-Campus’ icon .

Read more about Online Study options

We provide access to a variety of scholarships and bursaries at a University, College and Discipline level. The main application period begins in August, and closes on the 31st October the year prior to study commencing.

Browse Scholarships

Don't meet the traditional entry requirements? The School of Humanities offers an alternative entry pathway into our undergraduate programs. The Arts pathway is a great introduction into university study, and can assist you in gaining the qualifications and experience you need for your chosen career. This foundation year of study provides students with the skills and knowledge related to studying the arts and social sciences, with additional support and guidance to help you succeed.

If you would like to study a Bachelor of Arts, completing this year of foundation study in Diploma of University Studies (Arts Specialisation) (21A) will assist you in achieving your goals.

Pathway Programs at the University

An overseas study program gives you the opportunity to experience different cultures, study languages, undertake work placement or internships, make new friends and explore the world while receiving credit toward your degree and creating professional and life experiences. It provides a 'total immersion' experience in a variety of study areas and locations. You can choose a program length that suits you, from a 2-week fieldtrip, a short-term summer program to a full semester (or two).

Find out more about Overseas Study opportunities

Take your passion for ideas further than you ever imagined.

We offer a collegial, supportive environment, with experienced supervision, regular seminar series, research skills training, and many opportunities to work with peers and academics on your areas of interest. We supervise across a range of methodologies and conceptual/theoretical approaches, and encourage scholarship that draws on ideas from across diverse fields.

Choose a research topic that reflects your interests and identify a supervisor with the expertise to guide you in your research. Search for a discipline staff member via our staff profiles, or by an area or expertise.

The School of Humanities welcomes qualified applicants to undertake a research degree with us in any of our areas of research strengths and interests.

To find out about application procedures, entry requirements, and scholarships, refer to College of Arts, Law and Education Research Degrees.

Our research in Philosophy & Gender Studies

The program in Philosophy and Gender Studies has particular research strengths in feminist philosophy, Heidegger, Buddhist philosophy, applied epistemology, Ancient Greek philosophy, logic, and philosophy of religion. We conduct research on same-sex marriage, hate speech, and on prominent women in the history of philosophy including Hannah Arendt and Iris Murdoch. Our internationally recognised research expertise spans:

  • Ancient Greek philosophy
  • Applied epistemology
  • Applied ethics, bioethics and neuroethics
  • Asian Philosophy
  • Continental philosophy
  • Feminist philosophy
  • Meta-philosophy
  • Philosophy and religion
  • Epistemology
  • Metaphysics and philosophy of science
  • Moral and political philosophy

The University of Tasmania is ranked above world standard in the field of Philosophy*. Our research in Philosophy and Gender Studies is published by leading journals and academic presses, with many members of our team having received, or currently holding, prestigious research grants.

We welcome proposals from qualified applicants to undertake research degrees at both the Masters and PhD levels, and are pleased to discuss proposals that cross disciplinary boundaries.

*State Of Australian University Research 2015–16, Australian Research Council.

Frederic Gilbert

Featured Research | Associate Professor Frederic Gilbert

Frederic Gilbert's area of specialisation is Applied Ethics, in particular Neuroethics and Bioethics. His current research consists in exploring the ethics of brain-computer interfaces and Artificial Intelligence (AI). His has pioneering some aspects of human-computer interactions, especially the effects of implantalbe AI on agent's sense of control, autonomy, agency and self.

View Frederic's full researcher profile Browse our academic staff profiles