Philosophy students explore and analyze the views and research methods of humanity’s greatest thinkers, from both Western and non-Western traditions. They come to understand how ideas about the meaning of human life, the sources of value, human freedom, the nature of knowledge, and so on, have shaped history and culture. They also become better able to recognize and grapple with the ideas that shape human life today, and to devise creative alternatives to them.
Apart from the intrinsic interest of the subject matter and the humanistic values served by mastering it, there are strong practical reasons to study philosophy. It is a well-supported fact that the study of philosophy succeeds in developing a balanced mix of conceptual creativity and high-level critical thinking, writing and problem-solving skills better than any other major field. This is borne out by the fact that, in rankings by undergraduate major, philosophy students regularly perform better than every other major on the verbal and analytical writing sections of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), and perform better than any other humanities major on the quantitative reasoning section. Philosophy majors are also among the highest-scoring groups of students on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT), regularly outscoring students from other majors that are often thought to be “the right majors” for people wanting to go into law or business.
If you are interested in philosophy but too concerned about career preparation to put all of your eggs in the philosophical basket, why not consider philosophy as a minor or a second major? Students frequently combine their studies in philosophy with studies in business, history, political science, psychology, English, and many others.
Learn more about what kinds of careers philosophy graduates pursue by visiting the careers section.
Meghan Davis, Philosophy Major