Divison of Humanities
Department of Philosophy
Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Philosophy
Minor in Philosophy (with effect from AY2007-08)
Master of Arts by research
Ph.D. by research
What is it about
The aim of the Philosophy curriculum is to foster critical thinking skills in students while enabling them to appreciate the philosophical traditions of both the East and the West. Philosophy is also often studied via its cultural heritage, such as that bequeathed by the Ancient Greeks and Romans, the Chinese and Indian traditions, Medieval Scholars in both Europe and the Arabic world, and modern Western cultures, including that of Anglo-America and Continental Europe. The Philosophy B.A. programme in the Department of Philosophy supplies an academic grounding in the subject, as well as in the thought of important philosophers both past and present. By selecting appropriate modules, students may experience the thrill and frustration of grappling with profound and challenging issues first-hand, as well as learning how great philosophers have approached them. The philosophical skills developed in the process, including systematic critical thinking, sensitivity to opposing viewpoints, and the appreciation of complex systems of belief, can be applied to wide areas of life.
Since philosophy is a focal discipline which examines the fundamental presuppositions involved in all disciplines, there is an emphasis on techniques of analytical and critical thinking from the very first year. For this same reason, the Department has attracted students from other faculties. All modules, except those of level 4000, are open to non-FASS students.
The Department also has a thriving graduate programme, with both Ph.D. and M.A. students. Graduate research scholarships are available to outstanding candidates on a competitive basis.
Members of the department are often invited by external organisations interested in the views of philosophers, especially in the context of public policy issues. They have been invited to help in the development of school curricula and to talk to members of public and government bodies in such areas as Asian philosophy and environmental policy. For example, members of the Department have served, or are serving, on the Bioethics Advisory Committee, The National Advisory Committee for Laboratory Animal Research, and the Research and Development Panel, National Arts Council. They have also given talks on medical ethics to healthcare professionals in seminars organised by the Singapore General Hospital. The department provides Mentors for students in the Gifted Education Programme as well as for Junior College students under the Humanities & Social Sciences Research Programme.
The critical and analytical skills that students develop in studying Philosophy, as well as their knowledge of Asian philosophical traditions, allow them to do well in many career areas. Philosophy graduates have been recruited by such diverse organisations as The Straits Times, MediaCorp Pte Ltd, multinationals such as Shell and IBM, the Economic Development Board, Neptune Orient Lines, Singapore International Airlines, established commercial banks, and numerous divisions of the Civil Service.
Large organisations and employers value the evidence of independent thought, capacity for good writing & research, and flexible, integrative and critical thinking that an education in Philosophy provides. Last, but not least, the department provides ample opportunity for students who wish to pursue the subject at a higher level to do so. This may lead to a career in the research and teaching of Philosophy.