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The Breakdown

Is evil necessary?  Does God exist?  What is truth?  These are the types of heady questions that philosophers wrestle with on a daily basis.  If you’re constantly contemplating queries such as these, then perhaps your academic future lies within the philosophy department.

If you choose to major in philosophy, you’ll come to understand the evolution of mankind’s ideas, beliefs and presuppositions.  You will study concepts such as free will and the nature of perception and you’ll discover how philosophical inquiry can lead to a deep appreciation of language, thought and motivation.  While you’ll definitely have flexibility with your class schedule, most philosophy programs require their students to take a class in logic, the history of philosophy and ethics, as well as a course in metaphysics and epistemology.  No matter the classes in which you enroll, you can expect a heavy workload with dense reading assignments.  

Philosophy students are deep thinkers with a facility for language and argument.  They are often highly analytical and extremely inquisitive.  Moreover, they possess strong writing and communication skills.  And, they know how to have fun with syllogisms. 


Nuts and Bolts

As a philosophy major, you’ll be asked to ruminate on a variety of topics and ideas in classes such as: The Power of Logic, Social Ethics, Aesthetics, Existentialism, Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Law, Critical Thinking, Theories of Human Nature, Modern Philosophy: From Descartes to Kant, Introduction to Metaphysics, East Asian Thought, Philosophy of Art, Concepts of Self, Moral Luck, Ancient Greek Philosophy and The Problem of Evil.

Decisions, Decisions

Philosophy majors are interested in the development of thought and ideas and how they manifest themselves in our culture.  To that end, philosophy undergrads might also be interested in studying political science, history, English/comparative literature, anthropology, theology, peace studies, sociology, international relations, classics, rhetoric, linguistics and communications.

What's Next

All right – the job boards aren’t necessarily littered with openings for philosophers.  However, the skill-sets you acquire and hone as a philosophy major are applicable to many industries and highly valued by employers.  Indeed your critical thinking, communication and argument skills will be a boon to most any employer.  Of course, a philosophy major is also a great stepping stone to a professional degree, be it in law, business or medicine.  In fact, philosophy majors are often amongst the highest scorers on the GRE, LSAT, GMAT and MCAT.  Nonetheless, certainly not all majors head to graduate school.  Undoubtedly, you can find philosophy grads working in fields from publishing and journalism to finance, marketing and the government.  Really – all you need to do once you’re armed with your degree is to ask yourself where you want to be.  And as a philosophy student, posing a question like that shouldn’t be too daunting.



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Don Munce