What Can Philosophy Do For You
Leave your preconceptions about the value of philosophy courses and a philosophy degree at the door! Philosophy delivers highly marketable, highly transferable skills. If your ideal career requires thinking, talking, or writing, taking philosophy will help you prepare.
Get a job!
- According to a Wall Street Journal article, studies show that Philosophy majors show the most rapid increases in earning power from beginning to mid-career:http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/info-Degrees_that_Pay_you_Back-sort.html
- According to a 2012 survey of employers, 30 percent said they target new employees with a liberal arts background, vs. 18 percent targeting those with undergraduate business degrees: http://upstart.bizjournals.com/news/wire/2012/05/14/survey-on-millennial-hiring-highlights-power-of-liberal-arts.html?page=all
- Former management consultant Matthew Stewart, founder of a 600 employee consulting firm, writes in “The Management Myth”, Atlantic Magazine (2006): “Most of management theory is inane… If you want to succeed in business, don’t get an M.B.A. Study philosophy instead.” Warning: He has a D.Phil. from Oxford, not an M.B.A. He is now a full-time writer.
- Business schools are aware of the importance of philosophy – of thinking outside the box and beyond the bottom line. See Wall Street Journal, “Why Some MBAs Are Reading Plato”, April 30, 2014: http://www.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303948104579533610289092866?mod=pls_whats_news_us_business_f&mg=reno64-wsj
Do more school…
- Graduate School? Philosophy majors have long had the highest average score on the verbal reasoning and analytical writing sections of the GRE, the standardized test for graduate school.
- Business School? Philosophy majors outperform all but physics and math majors on the GMAT, the standardized test for graduate business schools.
- Law School? Only physics and math majors do better than philosophy majors on the LSAT, the standardized law school exam.
- OK, how about Medical School? Statistics have shown that a higher percentage of philosophy majors get into medical school than any other major!
Philosophy and Prelaw
Thinking of going to law school? You should major in philosophy! There are three reasons for this.
First, studying philosophy helps students develop the skills that law schools value and successful legal careers require. The American Bar Association advises pre-law students to take college courses that teach them to think critically, challenge their beliefs and increase their tolerance for uncertainty and criticism, enhance their ability to read and analyze complex textual material, and help them learn to speak and write clearly and persuasively. This is exactly what philosophy courses do. A typical course in philosophy teaches students to evaluate complex arguments, consider alternative perspectives, engage in reasoned debates, and speak and write clearly and precisely. A philosophy major teaches students to think like lawyers.
Second, because of the overlap in content between philosophy and law, students who study philosophy are able to explore many of the same topics that they will study in law school and deal with in their career. Students with interests in justice and human rights, for example, can take courses in ethical theory and political philosophy. Students with interests in environmental or medical law can take courses in environmental ethics or bioethics. Students with questions about evidence and rational belief can take courses in epistemology. And of course all students can take a course in the philosophy of law.
Third, there is evidence that philosophy majors perform extremely well on the law school admissions test (LSAT) and get admitted to law schools with a high rate of success. Philosophy majors have the highest average LSAT score (157.4 – tied with economics) of the twelve disciplines that send the most students to law school, and they get accepted to law school at a higher rate than any major except physics.
So consider a major in philosophy!
If you have questions, contact Professor Warren Herold (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Philosophy and Religion
Is there a God? And if there is, what is God like? These questions are fundamental not only to philosophy but also to the examined life. And while people often naively assume that philosophy and religion are adversaries, that is very far from the truth. Indeed, for fifteen hundred years, most of the best work in philosophy and the best work in theology were written by the same people. And even since the Enlightenment, philosophy has not stopped exploring the questions of God’s existence and nature.
If you are interested in studying religion, you can minor in religious studies at the University of Arkansas but you’ll have to major in something else. Philosophy is a great choice because it will allow you to take courses that bear on matters of religion as part of your degree program (e.g., we offer the courses “Philosophy of Religion,” “Jewish Philosophy,” and “Philosophy and the Christian Faith). For those of you considering the possibility of seminary and a career in ministry, a combined Philosophy major and Religious Studies minor is exceptional preparation.
If you have questions, contact Professor Tom Senor (email@example.com).
Philosophy and X – Double Majoring in Philosophy
We urge all students interested in Philosophy but not sure about majoring in it to consider a double major. Philosophy can broaden and deepen your intellectual horizons, and a philosophy major looks good on your resume.
Double majoring in Philosophy and another area is attractive for several reasons:
- Philosophy builds skills in reading, writing, communicating, and thinking critically that are valuable in pursuing any subject.
- Students who are interested in Philosophy but unsure about its practical applicability or relevance to their career path can have it both ways by double majoring.
- Students interested in field X will find important food for thought in courses in the Philosophy of X and related areas of philosophy. For instance, students also majoring in political science will find courses in professional and applied ethics, social and political philosophy, and philosophy of law to complement and supplement their political science curriculum.
- Philosophy is close to unique in presenting students with the opportunity to look at a broad variety of topics ranging from “What is the good life?” to “What is the number one?” from a range of different perspectives.
If you have questions, contact Professor Ed Minar, Chair of the Philosophy Department (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Possible double majors include (but are not restricted to):