Philosophy may be described in many ways: it is the systematic study of ideas, the reasoned pursuit of fundamental truths, a quest for a comprehensive understanding of the world, the love of wisdom, and much more.

Every aspect of human life raises philosophical questions and calls for philosophical thinking.  In addition, philosophical methods of critical thinking and analysis apply to every subject and to any vocation. Department faculty enthusiastically pursue answers to philosophical problems and work to develop these skills in their students.  Faculty members have earned doctorate degrees from prestigious universities across the country.

Studying philosophy is excellent preparation for life as well as preparation for careers in almost every industry. On graduate school entrance examinations, philosophy majors are one of the top three scoring undergraduate majors. According to an editorialist for The Times, philosophy is one of the best majors for developing transferable work skills:

In the US, where the number of philosophy graduates has increased by 5 percent a year during the 1990s, only a very few go on to become philosophers. Their employability, at 98.9 per cent, is impressive by any standard. Philosophy has always been a good training for the law, but it is equally useful for computer scientists. In this country, the Higher Education Statistics Survey puts philosophy of science right up with medicine in its employment record for graduates.  Philosophy is, in commercial jargon, the ultimate "transferable work skill". 

In 2008, the Philosophy Department began to oversee the Religious Studies program. Religious Studies is recognized as an interdisciplinary program within UW Colleges.