- Why Major in Philosophy?
- What do Philosophy majors study?
- What career opportunities are there for Philosophy majors?
- What Clubs and Extracurricular activities are sponsored by the Philosophy Program?
- How am I assigned an advisor?
- Can I change my advisor?
Why Major in Philosophy?*
For the money, of course! (This is a common joke among professional philosophers, but read on.) In order to do philosophy well, one must have a high level of reading comprehension, clarity of thought, and good communications skills (both oral and written). Put simply, then, philosophy teaches one how to read, think, speak, and write well. This might sound like a very modest set of outcomes, but even a little reflection reveals that these skills are fundamental to all intellectual endeavors. It's no coincidence that some of history's greatest scientists, theologians, and artists were also philosophers.
Here are some interesting facts1:
LSAT scores for philosophy majors rank third among the twenty-two undergraduate majors represented by examinees. Only mathematics and economics majors score higher, on average.
GMAT scores for philosophy majors rank second among the nineteen undergraduate majors represented by examinees. Only mathematics majors score higher, on average.
GRE/Verbal scores for philosophy majors are the highest among the twenty-four undergraduate majors represented by examinees. (Mathematics majors rank fourteenth.)
GRE/Quantitative scores for philosophy majors are ninth among the same twenty-four majors, ranking higher than business majors, all majors in the social sciences, and all other majors in the humanities. And consider the majors that rank higher than philosophy: physics, mathematics, engineering, computer science, chemistry, other sciences, economics and biology. These majors include extensive training in quantitative thinking, philosophy relatively little.
If we consider these four tests cumulatively by summing the respective rankings by major, philosophy majors come out on top (15), followed by math majors (18). Examinees majoring in chemistry (26), economics (30), and engineering (30) round out the top five; no other major is even close.
Conclusion: if you want to develop a broad range of skills that prepare you for a wide variety of intellectual challenges, you should seriously consider becoming a philosophy major.
1 Based on standardized test performance by undergraduate major between the years of 1977 and 1982, where rankings were calculated by average mean differential. The data were reported in Clifford Adelman's The Standardized Test Scores of College Graduates. Despite the fact that such a detailed compilation of recent data is for the most part unavailable, all evidence suggests that current performance is practically identical to that of Adelman's study.
As a philosophy student you will have the opportunity to take courses in the areas that follow:
- Philosophy of Science
- History of Philosophy
- Contemporary Philosophy
- Political and Legal Philosophy
- Metaphysics and Epistemology
- Philosophy of Religion and Art
Because the study of philosophy teaches students to think logically, critically, and ethically, philosophy majors are well prepared to pursue any number of challenging careers. The cognitive skills learned as a philosophy major are important in any number of professions such as:
- Research Analyst
- Computer Programming
Philosophy graduates are well prepared to seek graduate training in:
- Computer Science
- Social Science Teaching
- Religious Studies
The Philosophy Program sponsors the Philosophy Club. Membership in the Club is not restricted to Philosophy majors or minors. All are welcome.
The faculty advisor for the Philosophy Club is Professor Mary Lyn Stoll. She can be reached at 812/461-5244. Her email address is mlstoll.
When you declare Philosophy as your major, you may request that the department chair assign you a specific advisor from among the fulltime faculty in the Philosophy Program (Professors Drebushenko, Merriam, or Stoll). If you do not request a specific advisor, an advisor will be randomly assigned. You may change your advisor at any time. Just let the chair of the Philosophy Department know which fulltime philosopher you want to be your new advisor.
Yes. If you are a Philosophy major, you may change your advisor at any time. Just let the department chair know which fulltime philosopher, Professors Drebushenko, Merriam, or Stoll, you want to be your new advisor.
If you have just declared Philosophy as your major and do not have a philosophy advisor, you may request that the department chair assign you a specific advisor from among the fulltime faculty in the Philosophy Department -- Professors Drebushenko, Merriam, or Stoll. If you do not request a specific advisor, an advisor will be randomly assigned.