Carroll College, Helena Montana
Carroll Philosophy Students


Philosophy at Carroll College

What to Expect

The Carroll philosophy major introduces students to the foremost philosophical thinkers and issues, and immerses hem in the ongoing human discussions about truth, the meaning of life, ethics, and why we believe what we believe. In the process, students improve their critical thinking skills, as well as their ability to form and defend arguments. The result is a graduate able to communicate and problem-solve effectively, as well as someone grounded in principles of ethics and truth.

The major in philosophy acknowledges three goals for its program of study:

  1. Introduce students to the discussion of the ultimate truth and ultimate good;
  2. Familiarize students with major philosophical issues and thinkers; and,
  3. Prepare majors, minors and others for graduate study in such professional fields as philosophy, theology, and law.

Life After Graduation

Some of the more common career areas open to graduates with a bachelor's degree in philosophy include:

  • Business
  • Journalism
  • Computer science
  • Public administration
  • Healthcare
  • Education
  • Communication
  • Public relations

Many Carroll graduates go on to pursue graduate study as well. Recent Carroll philosophy graduates have gone on to earn graduate degrees in philosophy and law at schools such as Christian Brothers University, Loyola Marymount University, University of Montana, and University of Iowa. 

The Search for Truth

The search for truth, the quest to fathom life’s meaning and God’s role in it, the exploration of ethics, the investigation into the history of human thought and the pursuit of why we subscribe to our core beliefs-these are the journeys Carroll College philosophy majors make every day in their coursework and academic inquiry.

Whether you plan to start a career after graduation or continue your education in law, philosophy, theology or another field, Carroll will prepare you to succeed. Ranked fourth best comprehensive college - bachelor’s in the West in 2002 according to U.S. News and World Report, Carroll is enjoying its eighth year in the top 10 for its category. With an impressive 13-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio and modest class sizes, Carroll offers students the opportunity to establish close relationships with their instructors and receive individualized attention from professors who maintain a sincere interest in their students’ achievements

Expect More

At Carroll, professors, not their assistants, teach classes and are accessible to students. Experts in their fields, Carroll professors will provide you rigorous academic challenges in an atmosphere valuing ethics and moral principles. Your education will include not only stimulating classes and discussions but also special events. Past special events include the April 2000 three-day conference, “The 100 Years That Made 2000 A.D.,” which was organized by Carroll philosophy professor Dr. Barry Ferst and evaluated how the years 311 to 410 transformed Christianity from an outlaw sect to the official religion of the Roman Empire.

Tough Stuff

"The practice of grappling with deep and sometimes not very well defined problems gives you the ability and self-confidence to deal with just about any problem that life will throw at you later." - Mark Smillie, Ph.D., Carroll Philosophy Professor 

Philosophy Honors Thesis Topics

Philosophy students may choose to write an honors thesis, which is required for Carroll students to be eligible for graduation honors. The honors thesis project stimulates creative thinking, student research, and individual academic inquiry. Past philosophy student honors thesis topics include:

  • "Biological, Metaphysical and Ethical Investigations Into the National Bioethics Advisory Commission’s Position on Human Cloning" - Ryan Hansen, Philosophy
  • "The Helena Community Garden is Providing an Important Opportunity for the Development of our Community" – Kendra Williams, Philosophy/Environmental Studies
  • "The Ethics of Pain" - Rodi Pitstick, Philosophy
  • "Awakening the Sacred in Environmental Ethics: A Study of the McDonald Gold Project" -Michael Willing, Philosophy
  • "Artificial Intelligence" - Michael Sangray, Philosophy/Computer Science 

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Philosophy majors consistently score higher on LSAT, GRE, and GMAT scores than other majors.

10 reasons

to choose carroll college for Philosophy

  1. Philosophy majors think... and therefore, they are (with apologies to Descartes)
  2. Philosophy majors are strong critical thinkers, persons who can reason well about anything at all and who are not likely to fall prey to the bad reasoning of others.
  3. Philosophy asks big questions-and gives even bigger answers.
  4. Our philosophical ideas–our concepts of security, success, beauty, love, social responsibility, and so on–direct and change our lives more than any facts. Facts alone have never influenced anyone.
  5. Dr. Ferst's jokes.
  6. Be subversive - philosophy challenges what everyone accepts and asks for proof when no one is in doubt!
  7. Philosophy majors consistently score higher on LSAT, GRE, and GMAT scores than other majors (Philosophy majors even test as better readers and writers than English majors!)
  8. In the world of work, people with degrees in philosophy might start lower, but they tend to climb faster and to retire higher than others do.
  9. Dr. Lambert's “philosophers of the day.”
  10. Thinking philosophically about art or literature or psychology or religion or science can help you understand and appreciate those fields better—which is especially useful if one of these is your primary academic discipline.