Mount Mercy University’s applied philosophy major and minor stress the importance of careful, critical, and ethical thinking and action.

The program specializes in the history of philosophy, with an emphasis on the Catholicintellection tradition and the compatibility of faith and reason—unique among regional philosophy programs.

Students are engaged in one-on-one mentorship with faculty members who guide you in developing a personalized program of study based on your interests and goals. Courses also help you answer some of the most debated questions of human existence: How do we know what we know? What does it mean to exist, to be human? Does God exist? How can we live ethically?

Students may choose to pair philosophy with degrees in education, criminal justice, science, business, journalism, and other subjects. Many continue their education in law or graduate school.

What can I do with a major or minor in philosophy?

Mount Mercy alumni excel in graduate school—not only in philosophy, but also theology, law, history, criminal justice, and government.

Philosophy majors are also employed locally at:

  • Mercy Medical Center
  • U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Horizons: A Family Service Alliance
  • Area Substance Abuse Council
  • Brucemore historic site and community cultural center 

Research Project

Philosophy students work directly with a faculty member on a major interdisciplinary research project during their senior year. You’ll learn to articulate your own philosophical positions with clarity and depth both in writing and speech.

Recent research projects include:

  • The ethics of cloning humans
  • An examination of the ethics of intellectual property issues like copying software
  • Ethical standards in journalism
  • An ethical examination of human resources theories

What to Expect

By the time you graduate from Mount Mercy, you will have:

  • Thought deeply and carefully about important issues and applied that thought to real life situations
  • Read some of the most difficult texts that human civilization has produced
  • Had your logic evaluated many times
  • Researched and written reams
  • Had to speak before a crowd about difficult topics

These skills signal to any employer that philosophy majors can think, read, write, and speak well.


“I view my philosophy degree as a foundation on which to build an ethical and thoughtful professional life. The insight my degree has given me helps me think critically and problem-solve, no matter what situation I find myself in.”

— Elizabeth Meriwether '08, Business Development and Quality Improvement Coordinator, Mercy Care North Liberty

“MMU’s philosophy program caused the marriage of this ancient discipline of wisdom with my life and work.  By learning to think critically about the political, economic, social, and religious systems of our culture, moving beyond mere opinion or emotional invective, we can reclaim an authentic version of ourselves.”

Rev. Scott Jamieson ’01, founding pastor, Church Of Another Chancethe only full time church located in a metropolitan jail in the USA

You should schedule a tour or apply today.