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Philosophy Minor

Philosophy is more than just the pursuit of knowledge. It can empower and equip you to apply that knowledge and think it through with an understanding that, gaining knowledge and information is one thing, knowing how and why to use it is another.

A philosophy minor can greatly complement any major you pursue, helping you more deeply understand that knowledge. It helps you in knowing what questions to ask.

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What is Philosophy?

The term, “philosophy” comes from the Greek word philosophia meaning “the love of wisdom.” It is the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence, or "thinking about thinking." It can cover many areas, such as the arts, sciences, and religion.

For a fuller explanation, read "What is Philosophy" at

Why Study Philosophy?

[adapted with permission from "Why Study Philosophy?", University of Detroit Mercy Philosophy Department]

Philosophy is one of the best ways of enriching your life, even as it prepares you for life.

  • It broadens the range of things that you can understand and enjoy.
  • It makes a substantial contribution to your expressive powers.
  • It enhances your self-knowledge, foresight, and sense of direction in life.
  • It provides special pleasures of insight to your reading and conversation.
  • It can lead to self-discovery, an expansion of consciousness, and self-renewal.
  • It nurtures individuality and self-esteem.
  • It brings you into contact with the most important and fundamental human questions.
  • It helps you to live a more fully human life by demanding that you confront these questions.

Philosophy's critical skills offer the best defense against foolishness and falsehoods.

  • It allows you to see through cultural and intellectual fads.
  • It protects you from the often empty posturing of politicians.
  • It insulates you from the often inane prattling of media pundits and commentators.
  • It defends you from the slippery claims of advertisers and salespeople.
  • It protects you from foolish opinions and everyday nonsense.

Philosophy is one of the most practical majors in college.

  • It imparts skills that will be valued by any future employer.
  • It enhances your problem-solving capacities by contributing to your ability to organize ideas and issues, and to extract what is essential from masses of information.
  • It helps you to distinguish between different viewpoints and to discover common ground among them.
  • It helps you to appreciate a variety of perspectives so they can be synthesized into a unified whole.
  • It helps to eliminate ambiguities and vagueness from your speech, and enables you to present what is distinctive about your position through the use of systematic argumentation.
  • It develops your ability to explain and communicate difficult material.
  • It enhances your persuasive powers by providing training in the construction of clear formulations, good arguments, and apt examples that allow you to forcefully articulate and defend your points of view.
  • It teaches good interpretive, comparative, argumentative, and descriptive writing skills that will allow you to communicate ideas in a clear and powerful way.

How Does a Major in Philosophy Help Me in Other Academic Areas?

Philosophy is uniquely well-suited to preparing students for law, business and graduate school.

Philosophy's lessons of analytical thinking, clear expression, and good writing are indispensable to the graduate student in any discipline, including law and business.

According to a study of Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) published in 1998:1

  • the mean LSAT for Philosophy majors is higher than it is for both Political Science and Pre-Law majors!
  • the mean LSAT score for Philosophy majors is the highest for all majors except physics and math!

According to a study of Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores from 1988-19912, philosophy majors had:

  • the highest mean verbal score of students in all majors.
  • the second highest mean analytic score of students in all majors.
  • a higher mean quantitative score than all other humanities and social science majors.

For administrations of the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) from 1991-19961,

  • The mean score is higher for Philosophy majors than for any type of Business major -- including Accounting, Finance, and Management.
  • Outside of the hard sciences, Philosophy has had either the first or second highest mean score each year.
  • Including the hard sciences, the mean GMAT score for Philosophy majors is fourth or fifth highest of all majors. 

1. Nieswiadomy, Michael, "LSAT Scores of Economics Majors," Journal of Economic Education (Fall 1998): 377-379. Statistics online 

Articles and Opinions on Philosophy as a Major

"Want Innovative Thinking? Hire from the Humanities"
Harvard Business Review, March 31, 2011. As Amos Shapira, the CEO of Cellcom, the leading cell phone provider in Israel, put it: "The knowledge I use as CEO can be acquired in two weeks...The main thing a student needs to be taught is how to study and analyze things (including) history and philosophy."

"Philosophy is Back in Business"
Bloomberg, January 12, 2010. The financial and climate crises, global consumption habits, and other 21st-century challenges call for a "killer app." I think I've found it: philosophy.

"Finding Equality Through Logic"
National Public Radio's This I Believe, August 3, 2008. "Philosophy gave me permission to use my mind and the inspiration to aim high in my goals for myself. Philosophy allowed me to dare to imagine a world in which man can reason his way to justice, women can choose their life's course, and the poor can lift themselves out of the gutter. Philosophy taught me that logic makes equals of us all."

"In a New Generation of College Students, Many Opt for the Life Examined"
New York Times, April 6, 2008. "Philosophy is being embraced at Rutgers and other universities by a new generation of college students who are drawing modern-day lessons from the age-old discipline as they try to make sense of their world, from the morality of the war in Iraq to the latest political scandal..."

"I Think, Therefore I Earn"
The Guardian, November 20, 2007. "Lucy Adams, human resources director of Serco, a services business and a consultancy firm, says: 'Philosophy lies at the heart of our approach to recruiting and developing our leadership, and our leaders. We need people who have the ability to look for different approaches and take an open mind to issues. These skills are promoted by philosophical approaches.' ..."

Philosophers Find the Degree Pays Off in Life and Work
New York Times, December 26, 1997. "What can you do with a philosophy degree? In an age of M.B.A.'s and computer scientists, more than 4,000 American college students graduate each year with a bachelor's degree in the ancient discipline. Sometimes their parents and friends wonder what will happen to them. ..."  

Philosophy and Careers

Philosophy Among Best-Paying Undergrad Degrees

A Non-Academic Career? Information, Resources, and Background on Options for Philosophers
American Philosophical Association. "These are absolutely fundamental abilities, applicable to pretty much any kind of work at all. A person who has the philosopher's skills and talents, as well as whatever other training and abilities are required, is to a very great extent that much better fitted to succeed in a career outside of the academy."

How Does Philosophy Relate to My Career?
Wilfrid Laurier University. "People today often emphasize 'marketability' when they talk about a university education. ... If marketability means learning what will make you an attractive candidate for employment, then philosophy has a great deal to offer. ..."

What Can I Do with a Humanities Degree?
University of Central Florida. "Probably the most common question prospective humanities majors ask is 'What good is a humanities degree? I really enjoy what I am studying, but I need to be concerned about getting a job. What can I do with a humanities degree?' This question looks like one question, but it really disguises several related ones. Distinguishing them will allow us to answer each of them more clearly..."

Why Study Philosophy?
University of North Texas. "In recent years, ... such papers as The New York Times have been proclaiming the rediscovery of the philosophy major. Major employers of university graduates are finding that philosophy majors have finely honed analytic skills and problem solving abilities that make them extremely effective in a variety of professional careers...."

Will Your Philosophy Degree Get You a Job? Studying Philosophy as Part of a Non-Academic Career
Australasian Association of Philosophy. "Unlike medicine, law or veterinary science, philosophy is not a vocational degree ? it does not provide automatic entry into specific professions in the non-academic workforce. But your philosophy degree can still be of great benefit when joining the workforce. Studying philosophy will have provided you with an advanced level of generic skills that are immensely useful in a wide range of jobs, in such diverse fields...."

Jobs in Philosophy

Those with degrees in philosophy can enter into virtually any career.  Because the degree trains individuals to master such skills as logical thinking, problem solving, and writing well to communicate information effectively, the job fields are wide open.

Lawyer: Those with degrees in philosophy are among those with the highest LSAT scores and highest rates of acceptance to law schools.  The degree’s emphasis on critical thinking, analysis, and well-presented arguments in writing and speech make philosophy degree holders highly prized in this career field.

Business: The degree in philosophy can provide a remarkable set of skills useful for dealing with difficult challenges and problems in business careers.  Some popular business careers for philosophy degrees include: managers, stockbrokers, marketing, publishing, real-estate, publishing and editing.

Health Professional and the Sciences: Those with degrees in philosophy are employed in a variety of fields within the health and health care profession.  These include but are not limited to: health administration, research, psychiatry, neurology, ophthalmology, biology, physics.

Information Technology: Computers operate in logical patterns.  Information Technology is a natural fit for those with interests in technology and their application in all fields of computer applications in the job market. 

Local, State, and Federal Government: Numerous opportunities exist as all levels of public service careers.  Philosophy allows one to combine their intellectual skills with their interests.

What Do Graduates Think?

"I found that while pursuing a philosophy minor in conjunction with a political science degree, the courses directly corresponded with my major courses. This complimented my studies perfectly by improving my critical thinking skills and successfully launching me into law school and beyond." - Meredith Shea

"Being a philosophy minor was a rewarding decision. Every class challenged my views of the world, and helped me develop the manner in which I process new ideas. Having the philosophy minor also enabled me to stand out in my graduate school interviews." - Laura Rodes

“Studying philosophy at UNG helped me to develop the skills I needed to succeed in the practice of law. I've used the tools and methods I learned there to help represent the indigent and those sitting on Georgia's death row.” - Zachary Trippe

Philosophy Coordinator

Dr. George Wrisley

The Sally Wiedmann Philosophy Award

The Sally Wiedmann philosophy award is named after Dr. Sally Wiedmann (retired), who developed the philosophy minor under the former North Georgia College & State University. This award is presented annually to a university graduate with academic excellence and dedication in the study of Philosophy.  Nominees are submitted by the department faculty.

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