Department of Philosophy at St. Bonaventure University


The Department of Philosophy offers a major program that serves two different goals:
  • For students who desire to achieve a general liberal arts education and who do not plan to do graduate work in philosophy, courses are selected to enable the student to become a cultured, liberally-educated person.
  • For students who plan to do graduate work in philosophy, the department has designated a faculty adviser for preprofessional philosophy. This adviser carefully selects a series of courses and seminars in order to give the students a firm grounding in the discipline and prepare them for acceptance into graduate school.

The Value of Philosophy

Philosophy addresses one's life as well as one’s career.

The aim of philosophy courses is to help the undergraduate student examine the ultimate nature of people, the universe, God, the basic principles of moral evaluation as they apply to personal questions and social and political policies.

Since these concepts underlie most human endeavors, the study of philosophy, together with the practice of its methods of analysis and argumentation, prepares students to responsibly address basic problems later encountered, whether personal, social, or professional.

Nationally, philosophy majors rank second of all (nearly 100 tested) majors in verbal and analytical aptitudes.

Philosophy assists the student in reasoning well and writing effectively. Consequently, a philosophy major serves as an excellent preparation for the professions, including law, business, and government service as well as for graduate study and the teaching of philosophy.

Philosophy Prelaw

The department offers a philosophy prelaw program for those students interested in philosophy or a general arts education, and in pursuing a legal career. It is generally acknowledged that a concentration in philosophy and the other arts provides an appropriate basis for the study of law. Students in the prelaw program complete the requirements of philosophy track Law and Politics, which are presented on our Curriculum & Courses page.

Learn more about the prelaw track by contacting Dr. Steve Nuttal, associate professor of philosophy, by email at or by phone at (716) 375-2260..

Faculty Research & Honors

    Sep 12, 2017

    Barry L. Gan
    Barry L. Gan
    Professor, Philosophy Department

    Barry L. Gan, professor of philosophy and director of the Center for Nonviolence, presented a talk and led a discussion last summer at the Centre for Gandhian and Indian Studies at Fudan University in Shanghai, China. The title of the talk was "Gandhi’s Influence in the West: Two Focal Points." Among those in attendance were visiting scholars from Japan, Germany and Italy. The talk will be published next year in an anthology of essays on pacifism under the title "The Gandhi-King Tradition and Satyagraha." Subsequently, he delivered a lecture to graduate and undergraduate students and professors at Xibei University. The topic was the relevance of Gandhi's and King's lives to students currently worried about job prospects after graduation. Gan also authored two articles that appeared last summer. One is titled "The Practice of Ahimsa" and appeared in a two-volume work “Nonviolence as a Way of Life” published in India and edited by Predrag Cicovacki and Kendy Hess. The other was the article on nonviolence in the “Sage Encyclopedia of Political Behavior,” edited by Fathali Moghaddam

A Great Choice

100% of our philosophy grads from 2011 to 2014 said they would choose the same major if they had to do it again.