Since its founding in 1820, philosophy, in the form of natural religion, moral philosophy, and logic, has been part of the University's curriculum, and was recognized as a regular senior course of study in 1829. In 1874, the University included a Department of Mental, Moral, and Political Philosophy. Shortly thereafter philosophy was available as an area of major concentration, and in the late nineteenth century the Department began offering graduate instruction leading to the M.A. By the turn of the century, there was an autonomous Department of Philosophy in the College of Liberal Arts.
The curriculum of the Department of Philosophy narrowed as other departments emerged: in 1930 a separate Department of Psychology was formed, and in 1960 the University established an independent Department of History and Philosophy of Science.
The Department's faculty currently research a broad range of subjects within the history of philosophy; various problems in social and political philosophy, ethics and aesthetics; logic and the application of logical and mathematical techniques and results to philosophical issues; and assorted issues in metaphysics and epistemology.