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The Value of a Philosophy Major

The intellectual enthusiasm which philosophy inspires in its students makes graduate work in philosophy, perhaps followed by teaching, a natural aspiration for many philosophy majors. Accordingly, providing a solid preparation for graduate level work in philosophy, or in another Humanities or related discipline, is one goal of the Philosophy Department.

At the same time, most of the skills which philosophy teaches are highly transferable to work or study in other fields. The study of philosophy stresses skills in critical reasoning, including the ability to extract arguments from difficult material, to analyze a position from multiple points of view, and to exercise creativity and sound judgment in problem-solving. Philosophy majors are trained to be excellent communicators, and to be able to express themselves in a clear, compelling way both in speech and in writing. And philosophers are trained to research problems thoroughly – to learn how to ask the right questions and to develop standards to answer them.

Indeed majoring in philosophy provides basic skills which will serve you well in any endeavor you choose to pursue. It is not surprising, then, that philosophy majors have gone on to successful careers in law, business, medicine, religion, all levels of education, government, computers, and writing, design and the arts. Furthermore, philosophy majors consistently score among the very highest levels on such standardized tests as the GRE, the GMAT, and the LSAT. Perhaps most important, though, is the personal satisfaction which many students find that the study of philosophy can lend to their life. In this respect, it is well to recall the Socratic adage, which inspires all of philosophy, that the unexamined life is not worth living. Students considering a major or minor in philosophy may discuss their program and interests with any member of the Philosophy Department, or contact the department office for the designated Philosophy advisor(s).