College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences > Academics > Philosophy > About > Why Study Philosophy?
A major in philosophy provides the finest in a liberal arts education. A liberal arts education helps you gain basic skills that are absolutely essential for success in virtually every career path, especially in today's information age. As you think about the career opportunities a philosophy major provides, there are several things to consider:
Critical Thinking Skills:
the ability to identify the key issues in decision-making or problem solving; to identify a general principle that links together related problems, points, data; to define the parameters of a problem.
the ability to use argumentation techniques to persuade others; to reason from premises to conclusions; to assess the implications of a position which has been taken.
Information Management Skills:
the ability to summarize the content of a message clearly and objectively; to differentiate fact from value; to express one's point of view without violating others' rights; and to explain ideas and principles to others.
Management and Administration Skills:
the ability to analyze tasks and set priorities; to identify resource materials useful in the solution of a problem.
Design and Planning Skills:
the ability to look at a problem from different angles and identify alternative courses of action.
Research and Investigation Skills:
the ability to seek out information; to identify problems and needs; to systematically define a problem; to formulate questions relevant to clarifying a particular problem, topic, or issue.
LSAT & GRE Testing Skills:
Did you know that
Philosophy majors outperform virtually all other majors on the LSAT and the GRE?
Data collected from the
Wall Street Journal.
These are basic skills—the reasoning, researching, planning, and communication tools you need to successfully communicate, problem-solve, and argue effectively. All employers are looking for people who have these skills and you are more likely to be hired and eventually advance in your career if you possess them. These skills provide you with the ability to learn in a new situation.
These are transferable skills—not job-specific. You can take these skills with you from one setting to another. This is critical, given the latest prediction that in your professional/career lifetime, you can expect to hold 10-12 jobs in three to five different fields. You will be prepared to be a life-long learner both professionally and personally, and help you find personal satisfaction while pursuing just about any area of interest such as reading, writing, sports, gardening, music, chess, and politics.
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A philosophy major also provides excellent undergraduate preparation for law school, MBA programs, medical school, and seminary.
On standardized tests for law school (LSAT), philosophy majors rank the third highest in performance (mathematics majors are first followed by economics). On standardized tests for graduate school (GMAT) philosophy majors rank the second highest, preceded by mathematics majors. Philosophy majors rank first on standardized verbal tests for graduate school (GRE/verbal).