College of Humanities : Department of Philosophy

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What is Philosophy?

The word “philosophy”is from Greek and means “love of wisdom”. Philosophy examines the grounds for fundamental beliefs and analyzes the basic concepts employed in the expression of such beliefs. That is, philosophy is a domain of study of the ultimate reality, causes, and principles underlying our being and thinking.

Philosophy falls into three major branches: Epistemology, Ontology, Theory of Value (ethics and aesthetics). Epistemology investigates the nature of knowledge and the process of knowing. Ontology (Metaphysics) inquires into the existence and existential nature of everything of the universe. Ethics deals with the problem of right conduct and aesthetic attempts to determine the nature of beauty and the criteria of artistic judgment.

The Eastern world is another source of philosophical thoughts. Most eastern philosophy was founded on religious ideas and contains rigorously developed systems. Buddhism, Confucianism, Hinduism, Taoism, Jainism are representative eastern thoughts of philosophy.

Though there are differences between eastern and western philosophy, both commonly explore the essential and fundamental areas of all knowledge. So, philosophy is called “science of science”or “studies not for knowledge, but for knowledge itself.”

Philosophy at Kyung Hee

The Department of Philosophy was founded in 1979, under the name of National Ethics. The name was changed to Department of Philosophy in 1987. The department has 5 faculty members, roughly 160 undergraduate students, and about 20 graduate students.

The Department offers programs of study leading to the degrees of Doctor of Philosophy, Master of Arts, and Bachelor of Arts. The programs emphasize comparative philosophy, metaphysics, ethics, history of philosophy, Buddhism, and Confucian philosophy. The program leading to the Bachelor of Arts emphasizes training for the fundamentals of scholarly research and teaching.

The great advantage of the Department of Philosophy is that it offers academic excellence on a personal scale. Although the Department is still young and relatively small, intellectual life within the Department can be both intimate and challenging. At the same time, it is possible-and in fact quite common-for students to reach out to other disciplines for scholarly growth. In sum, it is a department that spans the universe of knowledge yet provides a wealth of opportunities for individual achievement and recognition.

Seminars and colloquia on various issues and topics are scheduled regularly, consisting of talks by visiting and resident philosophers and other humanists. These constitute an important component of the student educational program.

The Department awards various types of fellowships and scholarships to help students meet the cost of education. These awards are intended to further the recipients’education and recipients are expected to devote full time to their studies and to any required research and training.

Degree Requirements - Bachelor of Arts

To receive the Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy, a student must:

Complete the required units as follows.

Students who major in philosophy should:
  • Complete a minimum of 130 credit units
  • Satisfy a minimum of 72 units of Major Courses for philosophy as follows:
    • Complete 9 units of Basic Major Courses for philosophy
    • Complete 18 units of Prerequisite Courses for philosophy
    • Complete 45 units of Technical Electives for philosophy
Students who minor in philosophy should:
  • Complete a minimum of 130 credit units
  • Satisfy a minimum of 18 units of Prerequisite Courses for philosophy
  • Students who double major in philosophy should
  • Complete a minimum of 130 credit units
  • Satisfy a minimum of 42 units of Major Courses for philosophy as follows:
    • Complete 9 units of Basic Major Courses for philosophy
    • Complete 18 units of Prerequisite Courses for philosophy
    • Complete 15 units of Technical Electives for philosophy

Satisfy a graduate examination through a graduation thesis.


Year 1

Complete 3 cultural studies in philosophy department, such as Logic & Thinking, Base of Eastern Philosophy, and Base of Western Philosophy.

Year 2, 3, 4

Complete 6 prerequisite courses of philosophy, such as History of Chinese Philosophy, History of Korean Philosophy, Introduction to Buddhism, Greek Philosophy, Epistemology, and Ethics.

Also complete more than 15 selective courses of philosophy (9 selective courses required for a multiple major, but none required for a minor), related to Metaphysics, Taoism, Confucianism, Social Philosophy, Aesthetics, German Philosophy, French Philosophy, Philosophy of Science, Analytical Philosophy, Historical Philosophy, Hindu Philosophy, Teaching Methodology for Discourse, and other realms

Careers and Graduate Destinations

There are many routes for graduates of our department. Many students choose to enter the education field as instructors in middle or high schools. Others occupy philosophy-related realms, such as communication areas and publishing circles.

Most students get jobs in companies of various fields and have active careers. Some graduates go on to the next stage of education and pursue master's or Ph.D. degrees of philosophy at various universities.

Other students choose another field of graduate course, such as sociology, politics, theology, economics, and literature. Our department offers students a strong program of developing requisite abilities such as critical thinking, language ability, and personality, to become an excellent agent in society.

Graduate School - Department of Philosophy

The master’s degrees program began in 1982 and the doctoral program in 1992. While our curriculum especially focuses on comparative philosophy, students can choose a major in various regional concentrations, such as Western Philosophy, Chinese Philosophy, Indian Philosophy, Korean Philosophy, and various philosophical branches, such as Epistemology, Metaphysics, Ethics, Social Philosophy, Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Culture, and so on.

These studies should deepen and develop the students ’knowledge of the major. Our practical mission in the graduate course is to develop students’ability to become professional educators in all academic platforms which require philosophical instruction.

Degree Requirements

  • At least 24 course units of graduate level credit in Philosophy courses are required for the master’s degree and 36 course units for the doctoral degree. Both degrees require 3 steps of common thesis research courses during 3 semesters.
  • Students must pass a qualifying examination (3 subjects for the master’s degree and 4 subjects for the doctoral degree).
  • Students must pass a foreign language examination. This is common for master’s and doctoral degrees.
  • Students who completed the alternative-language program are exempt from it.
  • Students must pass a doctoral (or master’s) thesis for a degree


Studies in Ancient Philosophy, Studies in the Philosophy of Science, Studies in Modern Philosophy, Studies in the Social Philosophy, Studies in Dialectics, Problems of Buddhist Philosophy, Studies in Comparative Philosophy, Studies in Philosophy of History, Studies in French Philosophy, Studies in Korean Confucianism, Studies in Thoughts of Modern China, Studies in Hermeneutic, and so on.