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How Will Philosophy Help My Career?

Comic: Your Belief System is Shot

Like many liberal arts, philosophy does not aim at studying the subject matter of any particular occupational field.  Nevertheless, studying philosophy provides a uniquely rigorous intellectual training that equips its graduates with critical thinking and verbal skills that give them an advantage in virtually any career they choose to pursue.  Many students combine philosophy with a course of study related to the occupation of their choice because studying philosophy will help boost their standardized test scores and enhance their desirability to employers and postgraduate institutions in comparison to their peers who lack the rigorous intellectual training of a philosophy degree.

  • Philosophy students acquire skills that employers want such as:
    • Critical Thinking
    • Logical Analysis
    • Creative Problem Solving
    • Writing
    • Communication Skills
    • Ethical Awareness 
  • Philosophy majors have the second highest average score on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) (tied with economics, and beaten only by math). 1
  • Philosophy majors are said to have the highest rate of admission to law school, beating out both political science and criminal justice majors. 2
  • On the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), required by most business schools, philosophy majors score higher than any other humanities major, higher than any social science major (including economics), and higher than any business major.  They are outscored only by two majors: math and physics. 3
  • Philosophy majors have the highest acceptance rates to medical school (50%).   While students need to take specific science courses in order to be accepted, majoring in a science is not necessary.  In fact, non-science majors actually have an advantage. 4
  • On the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE), required by most academic graduate programs, people with philosophy as their intended graduate major have the highest average score of any major on both the verbal and the analytic writing sections (better than English!), and they score well above average on the quantitative section. 5
  • Philosophy graduates go on to pursue careers in 
    Law, religious work, business management, consulting, writing, editing, broadcasting, public relations, teaching, and many other areas. 6

 

The Power of Philosophy

 

Ready to declare Philosphy as your major or minor?  
Just contact the chair of the department.

Once you declare philosophy as a major or minor you and your advisor will be able to track your remaining course requirements in PAWS.  When you declare philosophy as a major you will be assigned a major advisor in the philosophy department.  

[1] Nieswiadomy, Michael, LSAT Scores of Economics Majors: The 2008-2009 Class Update (June 25, 2009), http://ssrn.com/abstract=1430654

[2] Based on unpublished 1999 data from the Law Schools Admission Council, according to  “Majoring in Philosophy at Simons” http://www.simmons.edu/undergraduate/academics/departments/philosophy/docs/Philosophy-Handbook.pdf, and “Is Majoring in Philosophy Right For You” http://www2.gsu.edu/~phlkkk/foryou.html.

[3] Graduate Management Admisssion Council, “Profile of Graduate Admissions Test Candidates 2006-07 to 2010-11.” http://www.gmac.com/~/media/Files/gmac/Research/GMAT%20Test%20Taker%20Data/profileofgmatcandidates_ty200607to201011.pdf

[4]  Jung, Paul, “Major Anxiety: If You Think Biochemistry is Your Ticket Into Medical School, Think Again” The New Physician, 49: 6 (September 2000),  http://www.amsa.org/AMSA/Homepage/Publications/TheNewPhysician/2000/tnp275.aspx

[5] Educational Testing Service, “Table 4: General Test Percentage Distribution of Scores Within Intended Broad Graduate Major Field Based on Seniors and Nonenrolled College Graduates” (2012), http://www.ets.org/s/gre/pdf/gre_guide_table4.pdf.  In 2011-2012 the mean Verbal score for philosophy was 160, the mean Analytic Writing score for philosophy was 4.4, and the mean Quantitative score for philosophy was 153.

[6] Fogg, Neeta and Harrington, Paul.  The College Majors Handbook with Real Career Paths and Payoffs.  2nd ed. Indianapolis: JIST Publishing (2004). Ch. 47.