Weissman School of Arts and Sciences

Career Opportunities in Philosophy?!

It is the best kept secret on campus. Philosophy can be good for your future. No, really!! It is true that most students study philosophy because it is fun and interesting -- not easy, but fascinating and challenging. Most people would describe it as thought-provoking. It is the discipline for people who like ideas, as many Baruch students do. But many students who like philosophy hesitate to major because they think it is impractical. Nothing could be further from the truth.

A philosophy BA will not get you a job. But that is true of most BA's today. What many modern students are realizing is that the best professions require some sort of graduate degree: JD, MBA, MD, MS, or PhD. And philosophy is an excellent pre-professional degree. There is none better.

Perhaps you plan to study accountancy because you want a secure career path. Did you know that with a BA in philosophy following the fast track plan you can get an MS in accountancy in just one more year right here at Baruch? Many of the best MBA programs prefer an undergraduate degree in the liberal arts.

Philosophy has a special affinity with the legal profession, in which argumentation and the application of general rules to particular cases is central. Many law schools recognize this and look for philosophy majors. There simply is no better preparation for law school than philosophy.

Finally, if you do plan to head for law school, graduate school, or an MBA program, the first step is to get in the door. Statistical studies consistently show that philosophy majors tend to do better on the GRE, LSAT, and MCAT. Here is one example of a general study:

A study of all students who took the GRE within a three year period showed that those who listed philosophy as their focus of study ranked 6 out of 50 disciplines, well ahead of CIS (at 11), English (17), History (18), Political Science (21), Finance (26), Psychology (33), or Accounting (44). Only astronomy and physics(1), mathematics (2), and engineering (3-5) scored higher than philosophy.

Here is an example of personal testimony, a letter from a former Baruch student:

Dear Prof. Roy,

...I was in your logic class last summer. I wanted to write to express my gratitude for the gift of your teaching. I must admit that at first I wasn't very enthusiastic about the class - I was worried about grades since I was planning on applying to veterinary school and your class was very challenging. In the end I found myself enjoying the challenge. Also, I thought you might like to know that my GRE score on the analytic section increased by 100 points (from 670 to 770) after taking your course! That's 770 out of a possible 800 - I think that speaks louder than anything I might say. I also wanted to share my good news - I was accepted to Cornell University's veterinary program. So once again, thank you for your excellent course!

We are pleased but not surprised by these success stories. Philosophy trains people to think. The Socratic method in philosophy develops basic skills that are crucial to success in any field. Critical thinking, reading comprehension, listening and analyzing, writing ability, persuasion and argumentation, general problem solving, ethical evaluation: all are the focus of development in philosophy. All professions need these skills. People who have them are in demand. So, philosophy will prepare you for whatever profession you pick.

The City University of New York