Undergraduate Program

Why Major in Philosophy?

  • Philosophical study places an emphasis on thinking clearly about abstract subjects, reasoning critically, justifying one's positions, solving problems, and being open-minded.
  • Philosophy teaches you to think independently, analytically, creatively, and constructively; to read critically and understand difficult texts; and to write and communicate persuasively.
  • According to a recent comprehensive study of college students' scores on major tests used for admission to graduate and professional schools shows students majoring in philosophy received scores substantially higher than the average on each of the tests studied.
  • Philosophy majors scored the highest of all majors on the GRE verbal, the second highest on the GMAT (outscoring business majors by 15%), and the third highest on the LSAT. Although philosophy majors only came in ninth on the GRE quantitative, their average rank for these four test scores was the highest among all majors, just edging out mathematics.
  • In a study of performance on the GRE from 2001-2004—which included an analytical section as well as verbal and quantitative sections—philosophy majors scored the highest of all majors on both the verbal and the analytical sections.
  • It is interesting to note that 48% of philosophy majors who applied were accepted to medical school, compared with 43% of biochemistry majors, 42% of pre-med majors, 35% of biology majors, 25% of nursing majors, and only 22% of pharmacy majors.
  • Philosophy teaches the ultimate transferable skill: critical reasoning. Employers value this, especially in the information age and in an economic climate in which experts say that workers will change jobs several times over their lifetimes.
  • The American Bar Association gives the following advice to undergraduates considering law school: "Solid grades in courses such as logic, philosophy, and abstract mathematics are generally considered a plus."
  •  Philosophy: What can it do for you? 
  • "What Can I Do With a Humanities Degree"
  • "Salary Increase by Major"
  • "Philosophy Degrees and the Famous People who Have Them".
  • "The Management Myth", The Atlantic, June 2006.
  • "In a New Generation of College Students, Many Opt for the Life Examined", New York Times, 6 April 2008
  • "To beat the market, hire a philosopher", New York Times, 10 January 1999.
  • "Philosophers Find the Degree Pays Off in Life And in Word", New York Times, 26 December 1997.
  • "Think On: Philosophy is a quintessentially modern discipline", London Times, 15 August 1998.
  • What can you do with a philosophy major? Click here for a list of people who were philosophy majors or minors (or the equivalent)

Looking to Enhance Your Freshman Experience?

Dean’s Seminars are small, seminar-style courses providing first-year Columbian College students with a focused intellectual challenge as they explore significant academic issues under the guidance of full-time faculty members. Students engage in directed critical inquiry while exploring the unique resources of the nation’s capital and the University. They not only learn to evaluate the scholarship and traditions that have formed our world view, but also create their own scholarship of consequence.