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Should I be concerned about my child majoring in philosophy?

Some people think philosophy majors are less likely to find good jobs and earn high salaries. They might also think philosophy won’t teach you real world skills, skills to help you succeed in an ever-changing global economy. It turns out those people are wrong. And there is a lot of good evidence that shows just how valuable studying philosophy can be.

Even if your child has already chosen a major, all UMass Dartmouth students must complete 120 credits (40 courses) to graduate. Rather than taking courses simply to meet the credit requirement, students could study philosophy in order to reap greater benefits from their college education. A philosophy major is eleven courses, and a philosophy minor is only six courses.

Our major and minor are designed to allow students to pursue their interests, have course scheduling flexibility, and enjoy the benefits of philosophy. Philosophy is related to all other disciplines and therefore makes an ideal second major or minor. Psychology majors might take philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, mind and machines, or philosophy of happiness. History majors can explore philosophical works from historical periods of interest to them. Data science students can take courses in logic and ethics. Religious Studies students might take classes on Buddhism or Atheism & God.

There are three primary practical benefits of studying philosophy: (1) philosophy will enhance students’ critical thinking skills and enhance your learning in other fields of study; (2) philosophy will increase students’ chances of gaining admission to graduate school, law school, business school or medical school; (3) philosophy will increase students’ earning potential and adaptability in a changing economy.

Evidence suggests that studying philosophy can give you an advantage in applying to graduate school, law school, medical school and business school.

 

The GRE is a standard test used to determine admission to graduate programs in many disciplines. Using data from 2015-2018, philosophy majors score more standard deviations above the mean on the GRE than any other major.

 

Philosophy majors score higher than any other major on both the Verbal and Analytical Writing sections of the GRE.

 

Philosophy majors score higher than any other humanities major on the GRE Quantitative section.

 

Philosophy majors outperform criminal justice majors, pre-law majors and every other humanities major on the LSAT, the standardized test used for law school admissions. Philosophy majors ranked first or second out of all majors for multiple years on the LSAT.

 

Philosophy majors score higher than any other humanities majors on the GMAT and rank behind only physics, mathematics and engineering majors.

 

Philosophy majors continue to have one of the highest law school and medical school acceptance rates of all majors.

 

Philosophy majors earn impressive salaries and demonstrate highly useful real-world skills. Average mid-career salaries for philosophy majors is $84,100 which is higher than any other humanities major and ranks 16th out of fifty common majors. Philosophy majors also have the highest percentage average salary growth from initial salary to mid-career salary.

For a summary of just some of the benefits of studying philosophy, check out the department's brochure:

PHL department brochure 2021

The course choices your child makes and the major or minor your child selects are important life decisions, and we believe you should be as informed as possible. There are several great resources we encourage you to explore for yourself and to share with family and friends:

 

https://philosophyisagreatmajor.com/

https://cdn.ymaws.com/www.apaonline.org/resource/resmgr/Data_on_Profession/Philosophy_performance_on_LS.pdf

https://www.apaonline.org/page/data

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/20/mark-cuban-philosophy-degree-will-be-worth-more-than-computer-science.html

https://dailynous.com/2019/01/03/philosophy-majors-make-money-majors-humanities-field/

https://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/info-Degrees_that_Pay_you_Back-sort.html

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/why-philosophy-majors-rule_n_4891404

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/why-wall-street-legends-bet-on-philosophy-majors-is-a-good-investment-2018-01-18

 

We encourage you to contact the chair of the Philosophy Department with questions and concerns: Prof. Jennifer Mulnix (jmulnix@umassd.edu).

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