How do I find out more information, declare a major in Philosophy or Interdisciplinary Studies, or schedule an advising appointment?
Contact us to learn more about the department, to speak with one of our faculty members, to schedule an advising appointment, or to get involved with our activities!
What do philosophers do?
A little of this – but less than you might think!
More seriously, in Plato’s Apology Socrates says in his defense that the best thing we as humans can do with our lives is to discuss virtue and wisdom every day – and to test each other and ourselves on these subjects – because “the unexamined life is not worth living.” Philosophers, then, are simply those who take this advice to heart and attempt to follow it as best they can. For some, that means thinking, reading, and writing about what they understand to be the most important ideas, and teaching these ideas to their students – this is what professional, academic philosophers do. However, you don’t have to be a professor to do philosophy. Philosophers are found within all fields and in all walks of life… which is one reason that a philosophy degree is so useful!
What can I do with my Philosophy degree?
A major in Philosophy trains you for all jobs, not a specific job. Philosophy is the only major that is focused primarily on thinking skills, so it’s valuable in a quickly changing job market. Employers repeatedly assert that they prefer to teach employees the specific content of their field themselves, and that what they look for in new employees is the ability to think critically, present clear arguments, assess essential points, identify presumptions, and solve problems creatively. A philosophy major is the best way to develop these skills.
A major in philosophy is one of the best preparations for graduate work in a variety of fields, as well. Philosophy majors consistently score higher on LSAT, GRE, and GMAT tests than all other majors. Anyone considering entering law school, seminary, medical school, or graduate programs in business, journalism, political science, education, etc., should call those institutions and ask them about the value of a philosophy degree.
What can I do with my Interdisciplinary Studies degree?
It is often the case that although the professors in one discipline are well acquainted with the methods and subject of their particular field, they are far less familiar with the modi operandi of other disciplines. In a program such as the Interdisciplinary Studies degree, the professors are encouraged to find the intellectual connections that exist with other disciplines and use these connections to transcend their specializations. The goal in these courses is to use the questions asked within each discipline—which are remarkably similar in nature and scope—to develop a methodology that is unique to interdisciplinary studies rather than simply combining multiple disciplines into one course. The enriching and stimulating exchange of ideas that scholars typically experience when they cross their discipline-specific boundaries indicates that there is something more to interdisciplinary studies than a simple combination of fields of study. It is this ‘something more’ that we hope to capture in our interdisciplinary programs.