Associate’s Degree in Philosophy Online

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Nikita Nath

Nikita is a psychologist working primarily with children using a child rights-based approach. She also writes content for various websites and blogs on diverse topics, focusing primarily on academia. Her hobbies include traveling, reading, and discovering different coffee-making techniques.

Degrees

Bachelors in English, Journalism, and Psychology; Masters in psychology with clinical specialization

Areas of Expertise & Credentials

  • 2 years of experience working as a content writer with various start-ups
  • 1 year of experience working as a child psychologist with Insight
  • Working on various projects of inclusion for neurodivergent children
  • 2+ years of experience teaching psychology online

By Nikita Nath

Updated January 12, 2024
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Philosophy is a discipline where one understands different questions about human existence, reason, and experience. Through the associate’s degree in philosophy online program, students can gain skills and knowledge and learn about different pathways to philosophy and related careers. An online philosophy associate’s degree would also introduce them to the basic techniques and principles of argumentation and logical thinking and look at the history of philosophical thought, which asks a basic set of questions about fundamental philosophical problems. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 473,500 were employed in 2019 in the fields of philosophy and religion[1], showing a sizeable job market for philosophers.

Associates-Degree-in-Philosophy-Online

Best Online Associate’s Degree
in Philosophy Programs

An associate’s degree in philosophy online could be a gateway for students interested in philosophy and philosophy-related careers. It is critical for students to consider the reputation of the institution, the courses on offer, accreditation, affordability, graduate rates, and other factors when choosing an associate’s program in philosophy. FBD teams have considered these and several more critical components and drawn up a list of some of the best online philosophy associate’s degrees in the United States: *

Liberty University (LU), founded in 1971, is a private evangelical university in Lynchburg, Virginia. Consisting of 17 colleges, most of its enrollment is in online courses. LU’s student body comprises over 95,000 students.
Univ Address
Liberty University 1971 University Blvd, Lynchburg, Virginia 24515

Universities and programs are ranked by various factors, such as affordability, curriculum and coursework, reputation and availability, program length, statistics, the potential of employment, and return on investment for the students. For a more in-depth analysis, please read about our rankings methodology page

What to Expect from the Associate’s Degree
in Philosophy Online Program

Every associate in philosophy program differs by institution. However, across all programs, students are provided with a meaningful education with well-designed curricula that can be taught on-campus, online, or in the hybrid mode. These associate programs in philosophy aim to teach precision and critical thinking in the use of language and assist students in developing the habit of speaking, writing and thinking.

A typical associate’s degree in philosophy would require between 42 and 60 credits, taking about two years or so to complete. Most associate programs are designed for students who plan to transfer to a bachelor’s program in philosophy at a four-year institution. The curriculum of the degree would include general academic courses and additional electives. Philosophy curricula differ significantly from program to program, depending on the college, instructors, and other factors. Teachers usually encourage students to critically analyze ideas, develop their thoughts, and differentiate and see the similarities between different concepts. They emphasize simple reading and encourage students to think about unconventional and intangible matters. Students are also encouraged to formulate thoughts and reason and share their views on various questions humans have.

The usual course of study for philosophy students would include many subfields. Students could meet this requirement by taking introductory courses like the history of ancient and modern philosophy, with one course in a subfield like philosophy or ethics of religion, etc. Some of the common courses included in the curriculum of the philosophy associate’s degree program are:

  • Reasoning
  • Introduction to Ethics
  • Introduction to Philosophy
  • Introduction to Logic
  • The Christian Scriptures 
  • Introduction to the Philosophy of Art
  • Contemporary Moral Issues
  • Eastern Philosophy
  • Women and Religion
  • Social and Political Philosophy
  • Religions of the World
  • Introduction to Religion
  • Hebrew Scriptures
  • The Buddhist Scriptures
  • The Islamic Scriptures

The curriculum of the program uses instructional methods designed to meet students’ academic needs and recognizes their diverse learning styles. Most programs include combinations of group discussions, lectures, audio-visual presentations, collaborative learning processes, and the writing of assignments. They introduce basic techniques and principles of argumentation and logical thinking, basic problems in philosophy, and the history of philosophical thought. By the end of the program, students will be able to analyze, identify, and deal with epistemology, value theory, and metaphysics.

Degree Types for Associate’s Degree
in Philosophy Online Programs

The philosophy associate’s degree is usually available in two options – the Associate of Arts in Philosophy and the Associate of Science in Philosophy. Both degrees share similarities in coursework, but how students analyze and apply the academic methodologies to study religion would differ to a certain extent.

Associate of Arts in Philosophy

The Associate of Arts in Philosophy or AA in philosophy takes a more multi-disciplinary approach to studying philosophy. Students take courses like ethics, logical and critical thinking, theories of nature and reality, foundations of knowledge, history, culture, etc., in this program.

Associate of Science in Philosophy

The Associate of Science in Philosophy or AS in philosophy is a comprehensive program that takes a more scientific and logical approach to studying philosophy. Students learn skills that will help them in research and writing, helpful in building a firm academic background and analytical mindset.

Areas of Specialization for Associate’s Degree
in Philosophy Online Programs

Specializing in one area of philosophy can help students pursuing a philosophy associates degree gain a competitive edge over others. They can increase their orientation toward specific areas within philosophy, thereby gaining specific knowledge and deeper insights. Specializations at the associate level will also help students understand which areas they are interested in and study them further in advanced degrees. It must be noted, however, that not all colleges offer specialization options. The ones that do may provide concentrations such as:

Area of Specialization Description Career Options
Modern PhilosophyIn this specialization, students learn about the developed modern era associated with modernity today. They study the Early Renaissance period and literature related to philosophers like Descartes, Spinoza, Berkely, etc.Technical writers, critics, cultural affairs officers
Philosophy of ScienceThis specialization is concerned with science’s methods, implications, and foundations. Students look at important questions about what qualifies as science, the purpose of science, and the reliability of theories in science. Careers in political science, business, social science, academics, etc.
Philosophy of ReligionThis concentration deals with the philosophical study of the nature and meaning of religion. Students analyze different religious concepts, terms, arguments, and practices of different religious believers. They also look at various theistic faiths around the globe.Librarians, social workers, museum conservators, professors, clergy, journalists, etc.
Social and Political PhilosophyThis concentration looks at the role an individual plays in society and the role of different governments in the construction of society. Students study various philosophical questions to understand the social behavior of humans. Careers in journalism, health services, politics, government offices, academia, etc.

Why should I do an Associate’s Degree
in Philosophy Online?

An associate’s degree in philosophy online could be beneficial for students who want to understand the core questions that the discipline of philosophy answers. This formative degree could be a gateway for students to understand the nature of reality and what the truth is in different situations around us. The ideas students understand through this degree could be applied to understanding, not just philosophical concepts but to dealing with matters and issues in other fields as well.

Students would be able to use philosophy to break down complex ideas and create persuasive arguments about different situations. They learn to understand various topics using critical thinking, analysis, and other transferable skills. They also study human knowledge and different human conditions and ethics from varied viewpoints. One further progresses to understanding how people are positioned in their challenges and the assumptions people make. For those interested in exploring topics like whether or not God exists, why we dream, and the purpose of life, an associate’s degree in philosophy is an excellent place to start.

On completing the associate degree in philosophy, students would have acquired the ability to:

  • convey philosophical ideas and make precise and clear distinctions about different philosophical topics; 
  • demonstrate knowledge in the topics of logic, ethics, philosophy of the mind, political philosophy, etc., and convey these topics to others with clarity;
  • infer critically from varied perspectives to be able to achieve new insights into the field of philosophy and apply such insights to researching additional topics in philosophy;
  • critically analyze and evaluate written documents and include their analyses in arguments and discourses appropriately; 
  • demonstrate a breadth of knowledge in the field of philosophy and draw parallels with other areas; 
  • recognize and draw conclusions that logically follow from different assumptions; and
  • display extreme professionalism as a student and professional, and work ethically in diverse situations.

Free Courses for Associate’s in
Philosophy Online Students

Free courses help students stay updated on whatever developments occur in their field of study. When studying philosophy, acquiring knowledge on diverse topics can help widen a student’s understanding and perception. At an associate degree level, taking up free courses in philosophy will give students an idea of the diverse range of topics in this field. Some free philosophy associate degree courses one can explore are:

CourseDescriptionProvided by
Ancient Philosophy: Plato and His PredecessorsIn this course, students learn about essential aspects of philosophy. They understand how philosophy differs from religion, science, and other modes of human discourses. The course also traces the origins of western traditional philosophers and thinkers of Ancient Greece.Coursera
The Path to Happiness: What Chinese Philosophy Teaches Us About the Good LifeThis course is based on ancient Chinese philosophy, political theory, and ethics. It challenges students’ assumptions about being happy, living meaningfully, and changing the world. Students can complete it in 13 weeks in a self-paced mode of learning. edX
JusticeHarvard University provides this free course on Justice that introduces several moral and political philosophy concepts to students. It explores the different theories of justice.Harvard University

How to get into the Associate’s in
Philosophy Online Program?

As with other associate degrees, the requirements for a philosophy associate’s degree are simple and few. In most instances, students enrolling in an associate’s degree in philosophy online would require a high school education or GED and submit their academic transcripts along with their application. Because admission requirements differ by institution, it is always wise to check with the college one is applying to for exact and specific requirements. Some of the frequently common ones are:

  • Completed application form and the prescribed fee
  • Previous academic transcripts
  • Completion of high school with a GPA of 2.5 or a GED certificate (GPA requirements vary by institution)
  • Submission of American College Test (ACT) scores or Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores
  • Proof of English proficiency is the native tongue is not English

How Long does it take to complete the Associate’s
in Philosophy Online Program

Most associates in philosophy degrees take around two years to complete. While this duration is applicable for full-time students, part-time students may require at least three years to finish the program. Regardless, the duration of an associate’s degree in philosophy depends on the coursework, program structure, and delivery mode (online, offline, or hybrid).

Accelerated Associate’s in Philosophy
Online Programs

By opting for an accelerated philosophy associate’s degree, students can fast-track the completion of their programs. They will cover the same content as the traditional degree in a shorter period. Schools reduce their degree duration in different ways, like offering associate to bachelor’s degree integrated pathways, condensing the semester schedules, and giving the student the option of taking up heavier course loads. Accelerated programs allow students to save on tuition fees and enter the workforce faster or complete their undergraduate degree in lesser time.

Accreditations for Associate’s in
Philosophy Online Programs

The accreditation process checks an educational institution’s quality. Students are assured of the quality of education when they pursue degrees from accredited colleges. Prospective students of an associates in philosophy degree can check the accreditation status of a college on the official U.S. Department of Education (USDE) or Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) websites.

In most instances, universities are accredited by one of six regional accrediting agencies, which are:

  • New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)

To understand more about accreditation, read the Guide to College Accreditation.

How to Pay for an Associate’s Degree
in Philosophy Online?

Although associated degrees tend to be cheaper than bachelor’s or master’s degrees, many students may find they need financial aid to pay for college. Several funding options are available to deserving and financially weak students from private entities and the government. Here are a few common ones to explore:

Scholarships

Scholarships are monetary awards that need not be repaid unless the student fails to keep up with the terms and agreements of the scholarship. They are generally merit-based, given to students with excellent academic track records

Grants

Like scholarships, grants too are monetary awards that need not be repaid. However, grants are more need-based than merit-based. They are frequently given out by federal and state governments, businesses, non-profits, and community groups.

Private Student loans

Students who may not be eligible for grants or scholarships can take out an education loan from a bank or financial institution. Loans attract interest and therefore drive up the cost of education.

FAFSA

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA is an application that determines whether a student is eligible for any federal student aid. More information on FAFSA is available in the FAFSA Student Aid guide.

FAQs Related to the Associate’s Degree
in Philosophy Online Program

 What is philosophy?

Philosophy is the study of different fundamental questions about human nature and society. In philosophy, students will learn how to challenge everyday assumptions about ourselves, society, and the world around us.

Is an associate’s degree in philosophy worth it?

 What can you do with an online philosophy associate’s degree?

Can a student enroll in an undergraduate degree with an associate’s degree in philosophy?

 What skills will a student acquire in the associate degree program in philosophy?

What kind of courses are offered in the philosophy degree?

How much time does it take to complete the associate in philosophy?

Career Opportunities and Salaries after an
Associate’s Degree in Philosophy

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for careers in philosophy is $55,000. Students who have completed a philosophy associate’s degree find entry-level jobs in education, management, community and social service, legal, business, and finance-related occupations. Although many positions require additional educational qualifications and certifications, associate degree holders can land themselves some of the following careers:

Occupation Job DescriptionSkills RequiredMedian Annual SalaryJob Growth (up to 2030)
Teacher AssistantsTeacher assistants help a licensed teacher give additional instruction and attention to students. They usually work at childcare centers, religious organizations, and other settings.Communication skills, decision-making skills, divergent thinking$29,3605% (as fast as average)
Paralegals and Legal AssistantsParalegals and legal assistants are professionals who perform many tasks to support lawyers. They work in various settings like governmental agencies, law firms, corporate legal departments, and more.Highly organized, communication skills, analytical skills$56,23014% (much faster than the average)
Secretaries and Administrative AssistantsSecretaries and administrative assistants are entrusted with various routine organizational and clerical tasks—most work in professional, scientific, technical services, education, healthcare, etc.Meticulous documentation skills, typing skills, computational skills$39,680-8% (decline)
Social and Human Service AssistantsSocial and human service professionals provide client services in varied fields like rehabilitation, social work, and psychology. They work with non-profit organizations, state and local government, and profit social service agencies.Communication skills, decision-making skills, creativity$37,61012% (much faster than average)
Community Health WorkersCommunity health workers work in settings where they must promote wellness by helping people adopt healthier behaviors. They are typically employed in government agencies, hospitals, and nonprofit organizations.Collaboration skills, active listening skills, verbal skills$48,86012% (much faster than average)

Certifications and Licensing for Associate’s
Degree in Philosophy Students

Students with board or professional certifications demonstrate to the public and employers that they have the necessary knowledge and skills in their field. They are an excellent way to ensure easier employability and attract higher pay. There is no mandated certification and licensing for students who have completed an associate’s degree in philosophy online. However, where the opportunity presents itself, it is always advisable to be certified in an area that complements philosophy.

Additional Resources for Online Associate’s
in Philosophy Students

Philosophy is an endless subject that goes beyond what the eye can see. Therefore, connecting and collaborating with like-minded individuals and renowned philosophers can lead to newer discoveries, stories, and insights, all of which will serve students pursuing an associate’s degree in philosophy online well. To that end, here are a few resources for students to consider:

Title/ResourceDescription
The Philosopher’s CouncilThe Philosopher’s Council helps students learn about the various ways to cultivate their understanding of making philosophy useful to themselves and others. The council provides resources, referrals, content creation opportunities, community building, and more.
The American Philosophical AssociationThe American Philosophical Association sponsors many conventions and conferences, including annual divisional meetings. They also support more specialized and minor philosophical associations and foster international cooperation.
American Association of Philosophy TeachersThe American Association of Philosophy Teachers, or AAPT, aims to improve and promote the quality of philosophy instruction at different education levels. They encourage experimentation, investigation, and research in teaching philosophy.
American Philosophical SocietyThe American Philosophical Society fosters activities focused on freely exchanging ideas and conveying convictions of intellectual inquiry and critical thoughts related to the discipline of philosophy, suitable for public knowledge. They honor and engage scientists, professionals, and scholars through interdisciplinary opportunities and intellectual fellowships.
Association for the Scientific Study of ConsciousnessThe Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness (ASSC) is a research organization that promotes rigorous research and organizes annual conferences to better understand the nature, function, and underlying mechanisms of consciousness.

Author Bio:

Nikita Nath

Nikita is a psychologist working primarily with children using a child rights-based approach. She also writes content for various websites and blogs on diverse topics, focusing primarily on academia. Her hobbies include traveling, reading, and discovering different coffee-making techniques.

Degrees

Bachelors in English, Journalism, and Psychology; Masters in psychology with clinical specialization

Areas of Expertise & Credentials

  • 2 years of experience working as a content writer with various start-ups
  • 1 year of experience working as a child psychologist with Insight
  • Working on various projects of inclusion for neurodivergent children
  • 2+ years of experience teaching psychology online

Disclaimer:

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