Program Description

The study of philosophy aims to cultivate wisdom and understanding regarding the foundational elements of the human experience, pursued through the application of rational argument and critical thinking.

An Associate in Arts degree in Philosophy at Arizona Western College will prepare students for transfer to a university by providing a basic knowledge and analytical skill in philosophy. The program lays the groundwork for students planning to pursue university studies in philosophy, law, education, communications, and art, among others.

Graduates of these programs will successfully complete the following learning outcomes:

  • Recognize the distinctive contributions made by major philosophers and philosophical traditions down through history
  • Articulate the contents of their thinking and reasoning through written prose, with appropriate attention to and concern for the conventions and principles of composition and argumentative discourse
  • Identify the basic parts of arguments (i.e., premises and conclusions) as well as to distinguish an argument from a non-argument (e.g., an assertion, explanation, disagreement, etc.)
  • Recognize the differences between inductive and deductive argument forms
  • Evaluate the soundness/cogency of an argument by looking for problems of ambiguity, false premises, faulty assumptions, and structural invalidity (both formal and informal)
  • Make connections between major philosophers and their particular writings and ideas
  • Describe how the ideas of one philosopher were both influenced by and subsequently impactful on other thinkers
  • Explain the unique contributions made by the major philosophers in the formation and development of the central branches of philosophical study (i.e., logic, epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, etc.)
  • Construct and advance, in writing, an original thesis, defining and clarifying key terminology, as well as providing true evidence that supports the thesis and renders it plausible
  • Anticipate and respond to potential objections to one’s thesis, as well as explain why alternative views are questionable and implausible
  • Obey conventional rules of grammar, syntax, and spelling, in addition to conforming one’s writing to a consistent set of style guidelines, citing any and all sources, and having a clear and logical arrangement of ideas

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Degree(s) / Certificates(s)

Title Local Bachelor's
Philosophy - A.A. Transfer Degree -

Career Outlook

uccessful completion of this program may lead to a variety of employment opportunities, most of which require continued higher education at the university level. Below are examples of related occupations and annual mean wages in Arizona according to a May 2020 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates Report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Counsel with emphasis on prevention. Work with individuals and groups to promote optimum mental and emotional health. May help individuals deal with issues associated with addictions and substance abuse; family, parenting, and marital problems; stress management; self-esteem; and aging.
Postsecondary Teaching Assistants
Assist faculty or other instructional staff in postsecondary institutions by performing instructional support activities, such as developing teaching materials, leading discussion groups, preparing and giving examinations, and grading examinations or papers.
Paralegals and Legal Assistants
Assist lawyers by investigating facts, preparing legal documents, or researching legal precedent. Conduct research to support a legal proceeding, to formulate a defense, or to initiate legal action.
News Analysts, Reporters, and Journalists
Narrate or write news stories, reviews, or commentary for print, broadcast, or other communications media such as newspapers, magazines, radio, or television. May collect and analyze information through interview, investigation, or observation.
Marketing Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists
Research conditions in local, regional, national, or online markets. Gather information to determine potential sales of a product or service, or plan a marketing or advertising campaign. May gather information on competitors, prices, sales, and methods of marketing and distribution. May employ search marketing tactics, analyze web metrics, and develop recommendations to increase search engine ranking and visibility to target markets.
Plan, coordinate, revise, or edit written material. May review proposals and drafts for possible publication.
Postsecondary Philosophy and Religion Teachers
Teach courses in philosophy, religion, and theology. Includes both teachers primarily engaged in teaching and those who do a combination of teaching and research.
Study cognitive, emotional, and social processes and behavior by observing, interpreting, and recording how individuals relate to one another and to their environments.
Human Resources Managers
Plan, direct, or coordinate human resources activities and staff of an organization. 
Financial Managers
Plan, direct, or coordinate accounting, investing, banking, insurance, securities, and other financial activities of a branch, office, or department of an establishment.
Marketing Managers
Plan, direct, or coordinate marketing policies and programs, such as determining the demand for products and services offered by a firm and its competitors, and identify potential customers. Develop pricing strategies with the goal of maximizing the firm's profits or share of the market while ensuring the firm's customers are satisfied. Oversee product development or monitor trends that indicate the need for new products and services.
Represent clients in criminal and civil litigation and other legal proceedings, draw up legal documents, or manage or advise clients on legal transactions. May specialize in a single area or may practice broadly in many areas of law.
Successful completion of this program may lead to employment in a variety of different occupations and industries. Check the above for additional information.

Contact Information

Department Contact(s)

Social Sciences

Hours of Operation
Faculty/Staff Contact(s)
Name Title Phone Email
Stuart Gibson Associate Dean of Business, Education, Socials and Behavioral Sciences (928) 317-6417
David Burris Professor of Philosophy (928) 344-7714