at a glance

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Here at Ave Maria, you’ll study the philosophy of Plato, Aristotle, Augustine and Aquinas, as well as modern movements. Our faculty members are deeply conversant with the Catholic intellectual tradition while being specialists in some particular area. Some of our best students have gone on to graduate studies at the Catholic University of America, the University of Arizona, Cambridge University, and the University of St. Thomas.

Careers: Teaching, law, business, medicine

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With a solid foundation in philosophy, you can be a good citizen, understand the principles underlying your work and make wise choices in your personal life. Countless lawyers, accountants, engineers, doctors and tradespeople major in philosophy, and have said that no other path of study would have given them the same deep and broad education.

light bulbFast Fact: Steve Martin, Harrison Ford, Alex Trebek, and Mary Higgins Clark were all philosophy majors.

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Skills you will gain with


  1. Writing. No matter your career path, the ability to clearly communicate an idea is a valuable asset desired by any employer.
  2. Critical thinking. Whether on a debate platform, in a classroom, or in a meeting room, when you can understand and articulate another person’s position, you can skillfully critique it and defend your own.
  3. Study skills. Believe it or not, many students double-major and use what they learned in philosophy to help them in medical school or graduate school in their field.
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A look into the


Philosophy is an excellent major for any field or career. There are countless lawyers, accountants, engineers, doctors, teachers, cabinet makers, builders, salesmen and (perhaps most important of all) homemakers, who have majored in philosophy and have said that no other path of study would have given them the same deep and broad education. Without a solid foundation in philosophy, it is difficult to be a good citizen, to understand the principles underlying our work, and to make wise choices in our personal lives. Philosophy is essential to the integration of faith and reason for a Christian.

Bl. John Henry Newman explained in his work, The Idea of a University, that the purpose of a university education is to develop the intellectual virtues. Perhaps no discipline fosters the intellectual virtues as well as philosophy: “The artist puts before him beauty of feature and form; the poet, beauty of mind; the preacher, the beauty of grace: then intellect too, I repeat, has its beauty, and it has those who aim at it. To open the mind, to correct it, to refine it, to enable it to know, and to digest, master, rule, and use its knowledge, to give it power over its own faculties, application, flexibility, method, critical exactness, sagacity, resource, address, eloquent expression, is an object as intelligible … as the cultivation of virtue, while, at the same time, it is absolutely distinct from it.”

We have an excellent undergraduate major which is soundly based on the philosophy of Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, and Aquinas, while also conveying an understanding of modern movements such as analytic and continental philosophy. All of our faculty members are deeply conversant with the Catholic intellectual tradition while being specialists as well in some particular area.

Because students can work closely with us, in small seminars, reading groups, and directed study, you will get personal attention here. There are many opportunities to associate with our faculty and become friends of professors outside the class environment. You can take your studies as far as you wish, and our best students have gone on to study at some of the best graduate programs around the world, including the Catholic University of America, the University of Arizona, Cambridge University, and the University of St. Thomas.

Janice Chik Breidenbach, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Philosophy

Janice BreidenbachEducation: A.B., Princeton University, Philosophy & Public Policy; M.A., Philosophy, University of Texas at Austin; Ph.D., Philosophy, University of St Andrews
Office: Henkels 2014B
Phone: (239) 280-1572
My Website:

Barry David, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Philosophy

Barry DavidEducation: B.A., History & Classical Philosophy, University of King’s College & Dalhousie University; M.A., History, Classics, & Religion, Carleton University; Ph.D., Medieval Philosophy, University of Toronto
Office: Henkels 3046
Phone: (239) 280-2534

Maria Fedoryka, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Philosophy

Maria FedorykaEducation: B.A., Philosophy, Christendom College; M.A., Philosophy, International Academy of Philosophy, Liechtenstein; Ph.D., Philosophy, International Academy of Philosophy, Liechtenstein
Office: Henkels 3047
Phone: (239) 280-2531
Curriculum Vitae: Download



Education: B.A., Philosophy, University of St. Thomas; M.A., Philosophy, Catholic University of America; Ph.D., Philosophy, Catholic University of America
Office: Prince 102
Phone: (239) 304-7933


Joseph Trabbic, Ph.D.

Chair of the Philosophy Department, Associate Professor of Philosophy

Joseph TrabbicEducation: B.A., Philosophy, University of Dallas; M.A. Philosophy, Fordham University, Ph.D., Philosophy, Fordham University
Office: Henkels 3049
Phone: (239) 280-1647

  • Famous philosophy majors include: Steve Martin, Harrison Ford, Alex Trebek, and Mary Higgins Clark.
  • Many members of the Monty Python group are philosophers. There is a close connection between comedy and philosophy. Both deal with the absurd. Both look at ordinary things in radically new ways.
  • St. Pope John Paul II taught philosophy for many years at the Catholic University of Lublin, before becoming bishop of Krakow and later Pope.
  • St. Thomas Aquinas referred to Aristotle simply as “The Philosopher.”
  • Philosophy is the only discipline which includes, as a subject within that discipline, what the nature of the discipline is. (“What is philosophy?” is a question in philosophy, but “What is physics?” is not a question in physics.)
  • The great mathematician Kurt Goedel loved philosophy and took inspiration from philosophy for his famous “incompleteness proof.” His proof is a sophisticated development of the Liar Paradox: Is the statement “I am now lying” true or false? (It seems to be false, if it’s true, and true, if it’s false.)

In addition to the core curriculum, philosophy majors take the following courses

PHIL 203 Logic

PHIL 205 Nature and Person and PHIL 206 Ethics are prerequisites for all required and elective courses

PHIL 300 Metaphysics

PHIL 302 Ancient Philosophy

PHIL 305 Medieval Philosophy

PHIL 412 Modern and Contemporary Philosophy

Two Elective Major Courses*

*An 18-20 page thesis will be written in a 300 or 400 level course of the student’s choice in the fall or spring semester of senior year.

Click the button to view our typical 4-year plan.

As undergraduates, philosophy majors can work as research assistants or interns to professors, whether at the university, at centers of ethics and public policy, or at think tanks.

Top philosophy majors can go on to graduate studies and academic careers. Philosophy is considered excellent preparation for law school. Many students double-major in philosophy and something else: for example, students who double-major in a science often take pre-med courses and go on to medical school.

The writing skills required for philosophy can be applied in journalism and in effective written communications in business. The debating skills fostered by philosophy are valuable for discussions and deliberations in every area of life and business.

Monica Waldstein (double major) –medical school student at Creighton University Medical School

Elizabeth Ann Del Curto (double major)—recently completed a Masters degree in Classics at the University of Arizona

Maureen Bielinski–graduate student in philosophy at the University of St. Thomas, Houston

Joseph Thomas—graduate student in philosophy at the Catholic University of America

Jackson Egan, entrepreneur and web consultant, currently a developer at Chaotic Moon and co-founder of In Media Res.

  • 2 Core Philosophy Classes (PHIL 205 Nature and Person & PHIL 206 Ethics)
  • PHIL 300 Metaphysics
  • 3 Additional Philosophy Courses

More to help you


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Career Services prides itself on providing students, alumni and employers with the opportunity to connect. No matter where you are in your career search, whether it’s deciding on a path, preparing for your first job interview or working on graduate school or fellowship applications, we can help.

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Catholic Culture

The spiritual life on campus is the beating heart of Ave. Whether it’s attending Mass, receiving the sacraments, participating in retreats or getting spiritual direction, you’ll find the spiritual support you need from the priests and staff of Campus Ministry.

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With AMU’s core curriculum, you’ll not only achieve breadth of knowledge, but also depth of knowledge. You’ll encounter the truth about God and His creation more completely through the dynamic interplay of all of the liberal arts, including theology and natural science.

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Sunny skies, warm temperatures, a beautiful campus. What more could you want? How about a community-like atmosphere, quality instructors who care about your success, a wealth of spiritual activities, expert career guidance… and that’s only the beginning. Imagine your future at AMU. It all starts by filling out our free application today.


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