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Best 12 Online Bachelor’s in Philosophy in 2021

April 23, 2021 | Staff Writers

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When you think about philosophy, does it conjure visions of Ancient Greece and the theoretical works of Socrates, Plato, or Aristotle? Although the study of philosophy does use the forefathers’ “love of wisdom” as a backdrop for a better understanding of the world and how we fit in it, there’s more to it than what meets the eye.

What you can do with a philosophy degree.

Because most philosophy programs teach you how to think, not just what to think, you’re better equipped to value multiple viewpoints, have effective communication skills, and work through complex issues. Jobs like financial or market research analyst, computer programmer, business consultant, lobbyist, writer, paralegal, lawyer, mental health counselor, and bioethicist can start with a philosophy degree. Postsecondary teachers — with an average salary of $79K — are projected to make the most impact on the job market through 2029… out-pacing all other philosophy degree potential paths by 10%.

The skills you’ll gain.

Philosophy grads are armed with the skills that most employers are seeking — regardless of the degree — like critical thinking, problem-solving, creativity, and persuasive verbal and written communication. Understanding ethics and values, figuring out what you believe and why, and what really matters to you also helps you live a more reflective, fair-minded, and flourishing personal and professional life.

Where to find the best online bachelor’s in philosophy.

We developed a list of institutions that offered a bachelor’s in philosophy, filtered out those that weren’t regionally accredited (the highest level of accreditation) or had an online option, then ranked the remaining 12 by lowest tuition (see Our Ranking Methodology for complete details).

Best 12 Online Bachelor’s in Philosophy

1. Fort Hays State University

Topping our list of online bachelor’s in philosophy, Fort Hays State University’s program requires 18 hours of core courses and 12 hours of electives, along with 90 credit hours that include foreign language, “free” electives, and general education. The philosophy curriculum includes critical thinking, knowledge, classical Greek, modern foundations, ethics, and a senior thesis. When students complete the 30 philosophy credits, they’ll also receive two certificates: General Philosophy (addressing the many schools of thought that shaped the discipline), and Moral and Political Philosophy (a bioethical concentration that answers questions for those interested in health care or medicine).

  • Total Tuition: $21,840
  • Credits: 120

2. American Public University System

At the American Public University System based in West Virginia, there’s no application fee or textbook costs for the online bachelor’s in philosophy. As part of the BA, students must choose a concentration — ethics, healthcare, legal theory, or STEM — and take eight-week classes like research, analysis, and writing, medieval philosophy, a religion/philosophy capstone course, and an ETS Proficiency Profile — a general education assessment. APUS also provides a tuition cap for active-duty service members, their spouses and dependents, National Guard members, and Reservists for all undergraduate, master’s degree, and graduate certificate programs.

  • Total Tuition: $22,320
  • Credits: 120

3. University of North Carolina at Greensboro

The BA in Philosophy at University of North Carolina at Greensboro can be split into five concentrations: logic, theory of knowledge, metaphysics, ethics, and pre-law. After major requirements like intro to formal logic, history of ancient and modern philosophy, and a senior capstone course, students can explore classes like knowledge, truth, and belief, ethics in the computer age, philosophy of race and gender, environmental ethics, and a variety of other asynchronous courses (no set class time).

  • Total Tuition: $22,320
  • Credits: 120

4. Portland State University

Portland State University offers a BA, BS, and minor in philosophy — online, on-campus, or a combination. Students in the real-time, face-to-face program can work closely with faculty on research and an honors seminar, as well as be part of the Socratic Society. The flexible curriculum includes classes like epistemology, Kant, classical figures (Nietzsche and Hume) and philosophy of mind, along with electives such as science and society, feminist philosophy, and philosophy of sport.

  • Total Tuition: $40,324
  • Credits: 180

5. University of Missouri — Saint Louis

With an online bachelor’s in philosophy from the University of Missouri — Saint Louis, students will have a better understanding of philosophical issues in the western tradition, as well as other disciplines like biology, art, education, epistemology, metaphysics, and value theory. This 120-credit program includes classes like critical thinking, present moral problems, knowledge and reality, a foreign language, and senior capstone course. UMSL also offers co-eds the opportunity to do research — either as a volunteer or by earning credit — along with philosophy as a part of a double major, minor, pre-law, combined BA/MA program, or MA.

  • Total Tuition: $44,520
  • Credits: 120

6. University of Memphis

With the same requirements as the on-campus BA in philosophy, the online courses at the University of Memphis are rotated every year, focusing on ethical theories and problem-solving. The two to four year program is heavy in reading, writing, and discussion, and includes courses in contemporary moral problems, data ethics, business ethics and society, and philosophy of law. Students can also pursue the 3+3 Accelerated BA/juris doctor degree in six years, follow a pre-law track to complete their undergraduate in four years, or minor in legal thought and liberal arts. The Tennessee institution provides cost reduction opportunities for UM Global enrollees, including in-state tuition rates for out-of-state students.

  • Total Tuition: $49,680
  • Credits: 120

7. University of Tennessee — Martin  

With four or five year options to complete the 120-credit online bachelor’s in philosophy, the University of Tennessee — Martin offers courses like the adventure of ideas, science and human values, philosophy and film, symbolic logic, and an internship in race relations. The Canvas-supported curriculum is asynchronous with multimedia access (Power Points, images, lecture, movie clips, etc.) and provides 24/7 free tutoring. UT also offers minors in philosophy, ethics, history, African American studies, and religious studies.

  • Total Tuition: $50,280
  • Credits: 120

8. Oregon State University

Oregon State University’s online bachelor’s in philosophy “analyzes classical and contemporary issues emerging in popular culture, social media, artificial intelligence, and politics.” Students enrolled in the 180-credit BA or BS program will have classes like reasoning and writing, the meaning of existence, introduction to Buddhist and Hindu traditions, knowers/knowing/and the known, Native American philosophies, and religious liberty and tolerance. OSU e-campus co-eds also have access to success coaching, free online tutoring, and career guidance.

  • Total Tuition: $57,240
  • Credits: 180

9. University of Arizona

The University of Arizona BA in philosophy degree has two options — a general path or an ethics track — both of which require a minor or dual major, such as business, marketing, political science, law, or environmental science. The core curriculum for the 120-credit program touches on several areas, including logic, ethics and value theory, metaphysics, epistemology, language, and science, with classes like philosophy of happiness, and minds, brains, and computers. Electives include Jewish philosophy, meaning and language, and African American studies.

  • Total Tuition: $60,000
  • Credits: 120

10. Franciscan University of Steubenville

At the Catholic institution Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio, the online bachelor’s in philosophy is housed in the school of theology and philosophy. The flexible, virtual classroom program uses video lectures, discussion threads, podcasts, Vodcasts, wikis, email, video mail, and more for classes like epistemology, intermediate foreign language, foundations of Catholicism, American founding principles, and foundations of ethics, along with a senior seminar and thesis. FU also offers a minor and associates degree in philosophy, plus an accelerated masters.

  • Total Tuition: $63,000
  • Credits: 120

11. University of New Orleans

Although it isn’t a requirement to earn a BA in philosophy, the University of New Orleans strongly recommends having completed some college coursework before enrolling in the online program. With some post-secondary classes under their belt, philosophy majors typically can earn their online degree in one or two years. Some of the curriculum includes engineering ethics, analytical reasoning, Darwin and the evolution of thought, and philosophy of comedy. UNO also awards $1,000 to philosophy majors twice — one before their final semester and one after graduating.

  • Total Tuition: $74,832
  • Credits: 120

12. University of Colorado — Colorado Springs

Rounding out our top 12 online bachelor’s in philosophy is the University of Colorado — Colorado Springs. The 120-credit degree includes classes such as cyborgs and monsters, cosmology and culture, modern Islamic philosophy, and a senior thesis. Plus, courses in biomedical ethics, practical ethics, politics and the law, critical thinking, and world religions are in the process of being developed. UCCS also offers four double majors with philosophy (psychology, political science, history, and sociology), along with three minors within the Department’s centers — Center for Religious Diversity and Public Life, Classics at UCCS, and Center for Legal Studies.

  • Total Tuition: $85,320
  • Credits: 120

Our Ranking Methodology

Using the National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator, we searched the database for online bachelor’s in philosophy.

From the 16 we found, we removed one that wasn’t regionally accredited and three that didn’t offer an online degree. We ranked the remaining 12 by lowest in-state tuition costs (minus fees, etc.).

Have Problems With Your Ranking?

If you’re employed by one of the schools listed and disagree with the information we’ve provided, please feel free to contact us and we’ll make the correction.

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