Department of Philosophy

Mathematics and Science Center, Room 752
146 Library Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4479
(location map)
(248) 370-3390
fax: (248) 370-3157

Students sitting in classroom

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.

The Outreach Program currently sponsors two sorts of activities: summer philosophy camp, and philosophy takeovers. Learn more about each of these programs by clicking on the tabs below.

Philosophy Summer Camp

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we are sad to say that we will not be holding a 2021 Philosophy Camp.  We are making preparations for a camp in July 2022, and with the help of the college and our supporters, we expect to see this camp come back refreshed, reimagined, and better than ever!

If you are interested receiving updates on our camp, please sign up for our mailing list: Philosophy Camp Mailing List Signup.

Questions should be addressed to, with the subject line including "PHILOSOPHY CAMP".

Summer 2019 Philosophy Camp was a success. We had 19 campers, almost double the participation in 2018. Students came from a variety of high schools to discuss the theme of "identity" from a variety of perspectives, including ethics, metaphysics, philosophy of gender, philosophy of religion, and political philosophy. One of our undergraduate student leaders said, "My experience was fantastic, to say the least. I think I really found my calling, working with philosophy at the high school level." Another commented on the leadership skills gained from this experience, saying, "Philosophy Camp helped me practice the roles of public speaker, planner, improviser, and friend all at once."

Students sitting together in common area, smiling

FAQ about Philosophy Camp at OU

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. Specifically, students will be introduced to the different subfields of philosophy through the lens of the year's theme.

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 lecture. This will be accompanied by an undergraduate led breakout sessions where students will have the option between two or three activities to participate in, all being relevant to the lecture they just attended. Each lecture will be approximately 30-45 minutes with following breakout sessions being 30 minutes. Morning lecture and breakout sessions will be followed by lunch and some time for recreational activity around OU’s campus. Lunch will be followed by another lecture/breakout session.

Each day at camp will begin at 10:00 AM, and end at 3:00 PM.

Who will be teaching the classes?

Students will be attending two lectures taught by Oakland University professors each day, and each session will be accompanied by an interactive breakout session led by an undergraduate philosophy major at OU.

Will lunches be provided?

Lunch and snacks will be provided during camp. Lunch will be provided through Oakland’s very own Vandenburg Dining Hall. If you have any food allergies/restrictions, please let us know so we can accommodate you.

Is this an overnight camp or should I plan on listening to philosophy podcasts on the commute every day?

Philosophy podcasts! This is a day camp and overnight lodging is not provided. However, we are happy to assist in finding lodging nearby if you are interested.

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:

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!

Philosophy Takeovers and HS 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.

2019 Update: We now have a new program called Philosophy Takeovers.  And it's pretty awesome.  In a Philosophy Takeover, a group of philosophy undergrads from Oakland visit a high school classroom for 20-30 minutes, bringing their philosophical training to younger students while engaging these students in an enthusiastic set of questions and answers.

If you have an interest in learning more about either of these programs, or participating in them, 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.