Department of Philosophy

Mathematics and Science Center, Room 752
146 Library Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4479
(location map)
(248) 370-3390
fax: (248) 370-3144

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High School Outreach Program

The great majority of American students have no opportunity to study philosophy until college, despite a growing body of research that shows that pre-collegiate engagement with philosophy helps students improve their reasoning, motivation, independence, and self-esteem. Although Southeast Michigan is fortunate to have a thriving culture of high school ethics bowls, there are few opportunities for students at most high schools to learn about philosophy. The goal of the High School Outreach Program at Oakland University is to fill this gap, by providing opportunities for high schoolers to learn about philosophy.

Still in its fledgling phase, the Outreach Program currently sponsors two sorts of activities: summer philosophy camp, and classroom visits. Learn more about each of these programs by clicking on the tabs below.

Philosophy Summer Camp

Oakland University's Second Annual Philosophy Camp will be occurring July 22-26 2019, at the Oakland University campus. The camp will focus on logical reasoning skills, philosophical inquiry, and methods of argumentation. It will be a day camp, occurring for 5 hours per day over a five-day period. Any current high school student can attend.

If you are interested in signing up for camp, please fill out the following form, and we will contact you with more information in the coming months: Philosophy Camp Mailing List Signup.

Questions should be addressed to

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FAQ about Philosophy Camp at OU

When is the deadline to sign up for summer camp?

The deadline will be June 1st, 2019.

Who may attend OU philosophy camp?

Anyone who is currently in high school, who will be entering high school in the fall of this year, or who has just graduated high school is eligible to attend.

Can I invite my friends?


What will we be learning about in summer camp?

Broadly, students will learn about logical reasoning and argumentative skills. We have a theme each year, and we will be announcing the theme in the coming weeks.

I’m not planning on studying philosophy in college.  Is philosophy camp for me?

Of course! Philosophy is useful in developing critical thinking skills and becoming a better thinker. It’s for everyone!

I’ve never studied philosophy, and I’m not even really sure what it is.  Can I still attend camp?

Yes! No prior experience is required.

What will a typical day at philosophy camp look like?

A typical day will consist of a quick recap of what we talked about the previous day, followed by our first professor-taught session, followed by our first breakout session. We will then have a quick snack break, and go right into the second professor-taught session, followed by our second student breakout session. The professor-taught sessions will be about 30-45 minutes, with time for questions. The student breakout sessions will be about 30 minutes.

Each day at camp will begin at 9 AM, and end at 1:30 PM.

Who will be teaching the classes?

Students will be attending two sessions taught by Oakland University professors each day, and each session will be accompanied by a discussion period led by an undergraduate philosophy major at OU.

How can I help contribute to summer camp?

We are always looking for donations!  Donations should be given to the philosophy department through Ann Zimmerman:  We also have some need for volunteers; if you would like to help, contact Daniel Propson at

What procedures are in place to protect students who attend camp?

The staff of Philosophy Camp are absolutely committed to the safety and welfare of students in our care.  We follow the procedures laid out in Oakland University's youth protection policies, found at  All members of staff are over 18 and have received background checks through the university.

I have a question, but it isn’t on this list.  Should I go somewhere and cry?

Nope, you should email us at, and we will answer your question to the best of our ability!

High School Classroom Visits

The goal of our classroom visits program is to enhance the education of high school students in their own high school curriculum, while also letting them know more about the discipline of philosophy. Through this program, philosophy professors from OU visit high school classrooms or assemblies to raise important philosophical questions about ethics, politics, science, epistemology, and the history of ideas.

If you have an interest in learning more about this program, or having an OU professor visit your classroom, please contact Daniel Propson at

News and Events

Philosophy Summer Camp 2018 a Big Success

On July 23-27, 2018, the Oakland University Philosophy Department hosted its first high school summer camp.  With presentations from Elysa White, Joyce Havstad, Mark Navin, Anthony Williams, Paul Graves, and many others, it was a tremendous success.  Attendees of the camp were enthusiastic about the camp's future, and several of them expressed interest in going on to study philosophy at a college level.

Research on the Effects of Pre-College Philosophy Instruction Underway

The Daily Nous has a link to a new summer camp program in philosophy that is researching the effectiveness of such camps.  See:

Oakland University Philosophy Summer Camp Starts Summer 2018

During the summer of 2018, the Oakland Philosophy Department will be having its inaugural week of Philosophy Summer Camp!  Many thanks to students Samantha Sinclair, Genevieve Schmidt, Ian Anderson, and Nicole Diroff in helping make this happen.