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Philosophy: the 'in' Subject in British and U.S. Colleges

Philosophy provides students with critical thinking, writing, and arguing skills necessary in today’s competitive working environments.
BY Braingain Staff Writer |   31-03-2015
Rodin's The Thinker in front of the Philosophy Hall at Columbia University.
Once scoffed at as a luxury major, philosophy is one of the trendiest courses in universities across the globe. It is being embraced by a new generation of college students, who say that what they learn in class can translate into practical skills and careers. There's a lot more to studying ancient Greek philosophy than meets the eye. Interest in studying philosophy begins with the desire to ponder life’s biggest questions: finding the meaning of human existence, making sense of reality, giving systematic form to our ethical and political intuitions, and expounding the history of human ideas.

It is often seen as a pre-law track because it emphasizes the verbal and logic skills prized by law schools — something Rutgers University's top-ranked philosophy department encourages by pointing out that their majors score high on the LSAT. The study of philosophy, one of the oldest and most rigorous disciplines, also provides students with critical thinking, writing, and arguing skills necessary to succeed in today’s workplace.

What Can You Do With a Philosophy Major?

Philosophy majors are the highest average scoring group on the LSAT, GMAT, and GRE. They gain employment on graduation at higher than average rates, rank highly in median mid-career salary, and enjoy a well-earned reputation for rigorous thinking. An article in the "London Times" described philosophy as the "ultimate transferable" work skill noting that it prepares students for a number of jobs.

Students pursuing a PhD in Philosophy, will likely be looking for tenure-track teaching positions at colleges and universities. Philosophy graduates can also consider themselves well-prepared for careers in advertising, journalism, law, technology,

Dare to Think

Philosophy is becoming a popular course in British and American universities as recruitment agencies put a premium on college graduates who "dare to think."

"The great virtue of philosophy is that it teaches not what to think, but how to think. It is the study of meaning, of the principles underlying conduct, thought and knowledge. The skills it hones are the ability to analyse, to question orthodoxies and to express things clearly. However arcane some philosophical texts may be — and not everybody can come to grips with the demands of Austrian logical positivism — the ability to formulate questions and follow arguments is the essence of education," rightly noted "The Times."

U.S. schools with established philosophy programs like Texas A&M, Notre Dame, Rutgers University, the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, now have twice as many philosophy majors as they did in the 1990s.



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