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Department of Philosophy
Undergraduate Program

BA in Philosophy

Students in this four-year, full-time, BA program will complete 40 semester-long courses, half of which will be in philosophy. Students will supplement their philosophy classes with courses in the social sciences, in other humanities fields, and in other areas. Students also have the option of completing one or two minors in a wide range of fields.

This program will include diverse learning formats that incorporate experiential learning, independent and group study, group discussion, public dialogue, and lectures. Courses like Project in Applied Philosophy (PHL 802) and Philosophy Engaging Communities (PHL 803) allow students to apply their coursework to contemporary social issues.

Graduates from this program possess the analytical, critical thinking, abstract-reasoning and problem-solving skills that serve them well in a wide variety of professions, careers, and educational pursuits.


Other ways to study Philosophy

In addition to our four-year, full-time BA in philosophy, there are many other ways to get a philosophical education at Ryerson. Click on the list items below for more details.

English-Philosophy Double-Major

The study of English and Philosophy explores some of the most fundamental and perennial questions such as: What is truth? What is beauty? What can we know? Through scholarly research and thoughtful analysis of philosophical and cultural texts, students in the English and Philosophy Double Major, attempt to answer these and other basic questions by considering the contributions to these debates of some of the most inventive, creative, and critical minds.  

For more information, go to the Ryerson Calendar page for English-Philosophy Double-Major.


History-Philosophy Double-Major

The study of History and Philosophy enriches our awareness by asking questions that probe beyond simple answers and seeks to explain cultures and peoples, political and economic systems, ideas and issues, and conflict and change in order to understand the complexities of the human experience both in the past and the present. How should we act? What is truth? What can we know? Are we free? Spanning much of the period of recorded culture, courses in the History and Philosophy Double Major program offer students a well-rounded understanding of philosophy's central debates and their historical contexts. The program develops students' critical argumentation, research, and analytical skills, and provides students with the chance to examine the practical applications of the theories and methods of History and Philosophy.

For more information, see the Ryerson Calendar page for the History-Philosophy Double-Major.

Philosophy Minor

The Philosophy Minor develops essential skills in critical thinking and analysis in general. A Minor in Philosophy enhances career possibilities in a number of different areas including the teaching profession, law, and virtually any field where ethics plays a critical role, such as nursing, journalism, business, and community services.

Philosophy in ACS

Students who are enrolled in Ryerson's BA in Arts and Contemporary Studies may choose to study philosophy in any of these ways:

  • by enrolling in the Philosophy Option. This involves taking 12 semester-long courses in philosophy (out of 40 overall in the Arts and Contemporary Studies BA degree). Students who complete this Option will have a special notation placed on their official Ryerson transcript.
  • by enrolling in any one of the following Options: Culture StudiesDiversity and Equity StudiesGlobal Studies, or Inquiry and Invention. Each of these interdisciplinary Options allows students to select one or more elective courses in philosophy. Students who complete any one of these Options will have a special notation placed on their official Ryerson transcript.
  • by enrolling in the General ACS Option. This Option allows students to select many elective courses in philosophy.
  • by choosing Liberal Studies courses in Philosophy.

All students in Arts and Contemporary Studies must complete six Liberal Studies courses, of which at least three must be Upper Level. Many philosophy courses are available. Note: students enrolled in the Philosophy Option must complete six Liberal Studies courses, but they may not choose Liberal Studies courses in philosophy.

Undeclared Arts

Undeclared Arts is a gateway program that allows first year students to explore various degrees in the Faculty of Arts before selecting one that best matches their interests and goals. Students in Undeclared Arts may sample philosophy courses, and may subsequently transfer to the new BA in Philosophy, or to the BA in Arts and Contemporary Studies, or to other degree programs in the Faculty of Arts. See the Transferability Guidelines.

Liberal Studies

Every student at Ryerson who is enrolled in an undergraduate degree program must complete Liberal Studies courses. Most programs require students to complete 6 Liberal Studies courses, at least 3 of which must be at the Upper Level. Many philosophy courses are available at both the Lower Level and the Upper Level. Check the details of your program's curriculum in the Ryerson Undergraduate Calendar, and note that some restrictions apply.

Ethics Minor

The Philosophy Department offers a minor in ethics, which consists of 6 courses.

Ethics Certificate

The Philosophy Department offers a Certificate in Ethics, which consists of 6 courses (2 required and 4 elective). You do not need to be enrolled in a degree program at Ryerson to enroll in this Certificate. If you are currently enrolled in a Ryerson degree program, and if some of the courses listed in the Certificate in Ethics are part of your program's curriculum, you may count 3 of these towards the Certificate.

Part-Time Studies

Ryerson's G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education offers a wide range of Philosophy courses. These are available for part-time students, and also for full-time students who are attracted to the School's evening, spring/summer, and distance formats. If you are currently enrolled in an undergraduate degree program, make sure that any courses you take from the Chang School are listed on your program's curriculum in the Ryerson Undergraduate Calendar. Any courses you take that are not part of your program's curriculum will not normally be counted towards your degree.

Awards Available to Philosophy BA Students

To be eligible for these awards, you must be enrolled in either the BA in Philosophy, or in a double-major program where one of those majors is Philosophy.

  • The Community Service Award honours a student who has made outstanding achievements in one or more of the following: cultivating the Philosophy community at Ryerson University; acting as an ambassador of the Philosophy or Double Major program both within the Ryerson community and/or externally; serving in governance roles such as program councils and Senate; collaborating internally and externally on initiatives that promote the BA Philosophy or double-major program or enhance the student experience. Value: $500
  • The Bronze Essay Award recognizes an excellent essay written by a student in one of his or her Philosophy courses. Value: $250.
  • The Silver Essay Award recognizes an excellent essay written by a student in one of his or her Philosophy courses. Value: $300.
  • The Gold Essay Award is given for the best essay written by a student in one of his or her Philosophy courses. Value: $500.
  • The First Year Academic Excellence Award in Philosophy recognizes the outstanding academic performance by a first year philosophy student. Value: $500.
  • The Second Year Academic Excellence Award in Philosophy recognizes the outstanding academic performance by a second year philosophy student. Value: $500.
  • The Third Year Academic Excellence Award in Philosophy recognizes the outstanding academic performance by a third year philosophy student. Value: $500.
  • The Fourth Year Academic Excellence Award in Philosophy recognizes the outstanding academic performance by a fourth year philosophy student. Value: $500.

[PDF] Previous Award-Winners

Most years, Ryerson Philosophy students will have the opportunity of going abroad and earning 3 course credits towards their BA requirements through the Italy Credit Program in partnership with Vancouver Island University.

The Italy Credit Program provides an exciting and stimulating interdisciplinary examination of one of the most dynamic and significant periods in the history of European culture. The setting - the city of Florence - is particularly suitable because of its immense contribution to the Renaissance, the 15th and 16th century reawakening of humanistic learning and artistic endeavour. 

This program has been designed so that you can earn 3 course credits during the spring without interfering with your normal Fall and Winter terms.

Information workshops will normally be held in October of each year. 

Detailed information about the program can be found here.

For more information, please contact Prof. John Caruana at

For other international opportunities, see the Student Handbook.