Why Study Philosophy?

As a philosophy major, you will receive a solid liberal arts education that stretches and sharpens your mind.

The most basic benefit of studying philosophy is that it increases your ability to think, read and write critically. These skills are essential for almost any career or profession. A second benefit is that it deepens your understanding of culture. By challenging common assumptions about your beliefs, values and practices, and by studying the classic texts of your traditions and the traditions of others, you gain a deeper insight into the nature of society as well as alternatives to it.

Philosophy courses encourage you to think for yourself. You can strengthen and develop your ability to:

  • Think critically and organize your thoughts in a clear and logical fashion
  • Express yourself clearly and forcefully in writing and conversation
  • Read complicated material with genuine understanding

Philosophy students develop these skills to a high degree. This helps them excel on a wide range of admissions tests used by graduate and professional schools, including MCAT (medical schools), LSAT (law schools), GMAT (graduate schools of business) and GRE (used by most M.A. and Ph.D. programs).

Average scores on graduate and professional admission tests by philosophy majors are higher in:

  • Verbal skills compared to all other majors except classical languages (Greek and Latin)
  • Analytic skills compared to all other majors except mathematics, physics and related mathematical disciplines
  • Quantitative skills compared to all humanities and social science majors except classical languages, architecture and economics

Because there is no graduate program in philosophy at VCU, as an undergraduate, you will get the full attention of your professors. Upper-level classes typically have 10-20 students and involve a great deal of classroom discussion and feedback from your professors.

What can I do with a degree in philosophy?

A philosophy degree, like most other liberal arts degrees, provides a broad education that prepares you for a wide variety of careers. Philosophy is among the most useful undergraduate liberal arts degrees because it so heavily emphasizes critical thinking, reading and writing.

Some philosophy majors go on to pursue graduate study in philosophy and careers as philosophers, but most go into areas such as law, medicine, theology, business, government and public service. Any career that requires skills in thinking and reasoning is one which philosophy majors will be well prepared.

Explore career paths for philosophy majors.