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Indiana University Bloomington

Undergraduate Program

Why should you major in Philosophy?

Philosophical training is relevant to any career in which analytic and synthetic skills are required.  Philosophy makes an excellent undergraduate major for students going on to certain careers typically involving graduate study, for example law, fields relating to social policy and public affairs, and business administration.  

  • The acceptance rate of philosophy majors who apply to medical schools is greater than that of any of the following majors: physics, mathematics, chemistry, biology, history, English, and political science. Of thirty-two undergraduate majors listed, only four have an acceptance rate equal to or higher than that of philosophy (Medical School Admission Requirements, published by the Association of Medical Colleges, 1981).
  • Law schools expect their students to be capable of careful analysis and deductive reasoning, precisely the skills emphasized in the study of philosophy. The recently revised Law School Admissions Test now contains sections on logic, reasoning and analysis, which have replaced sections on math problems and English grammar. The Philosophy Department offers logic courses, which deal exclusively with these skills, but in fact all philosophy courses involve, and allow students to improve these skills.
  • In the business world, employers value articulateness, clarity of expression, logical rigor and analytical skills: skills which the student sharpens in philosophy courses. A recent study off the Graduate Record Examination shows that of the 98 fields of study, students in philosophy placed 8th overall, ranking in the top 2% of the fields on basic verbal skills and the top 9% of the fields in analytical skills. Companies do not hire majors, they hire people with particular skills. A recent survey of executives from 428 of the nation's largest corporations rated a student's academic major 42nd out of 70 factors they considered significant in hiring college students. Those executives ranked such factors as ability to get things done, writing skills, initiative and dependability significantly higher than the applicant's academic major.