Why Choose Philosophy?

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the average person will change jobs 10 times between the ages of 18-38. Furthermore, it is widely held that by the time the average American retires, he or she will have changed careers between two and four times.

Philosophy does not prepare a person for a specific career the way a degree in social work or nursing might. Instead, philosophy is to other disciplines something like yoga or core training is to specific sports. Yoga and core training are very useful to athletes regardless of the specific sport for which they are training because they focus on the fundamental elements on which one needs to build if one is going to maximize one’s potential as an athlete: flexibility and good core strength. Similarly, philosophy focuses on the development of foundational skills that will be of great importance to a person regardless of the career that he or she chooses: critical thinking, critical reading, and critical writing skills. These skills as well as the development of the ability to “think outside of the box” – to use a contemporary cliché – lie at the heart of the discipline of philosophy. While many other disciplines teach these skills indirectly, philosophy focuses on them directly (in the same way that yoga and core training classes try to isolate these areas).

Finally, courses in the philosophy department – perhaps with the exception of the introduction to philosophy class – tend to be very small and upper-level courses often have fewer than ten students. By the time a student graduates, he or she will usually have participated in one, if not more, independent study course with a professor. In short, as a philosophy major or minor you will receive substantial individual attention from faculty. This becomes even more important when it comes time for professors to write letters of recommendation, as they will know their students quite well.

What Do Philosophy Majors and Minors Do After Graduation?