The Value of Philosophy

The study of philosophy--literally, the "love of wisdom"--involves exploring some of most important, exciting, and practical questions that confront us as human beings. Philosophy is preeminent among disciplines in emphasizing and cultivating the use of our capacity to reason--the distinctive capacity that distinguishes us as human beings and makes our lives rich and interesting in ways that, say, the lives of hens and hummingbirds are not. The study of Philosophy also exposes student to the work and ideas of some of history's greatest and most influential minds: Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Descartes, Leibniz, Kant, Mill, Marx, Russell, Sartre, and many others. 

Critical Thinking Skills

The study of philosophy develops a student's ability to think clearly and systematically, to read news and information critically, to distinguish between good and bad arguments, to solve problems in original ways, and to seek the truth through the use of reason rather than emotion. 

Writing and Communication Skills

Philosophy courses emphasize the importance of clarity in both oral and written communication, and they provide students with the resources to learn how to express their ideas in the most compelling and effective ways possible. Philosophy majors score the highest of any major on the Analytical Writing Section of the GREs (Graduate School Admissions Test).

Philosophy and Law

Philosophy majors score the 2nd highest of any major on the LSATs (see source here). The study of philosophy provides the ideal preparation for Law School and the practice of law. The skills needed by law students and attorneys--careful analysis of texts, the ability to speak and write persuasively and effectively, sensitivity to vagueness and ambiguity, extraction of principles from cases, argument (often for propositions that one does not personally accept), criticism of arguments made by others, and the articulation of difficult concepts--are precisely those that are inculcated and refined in the study of philosophy.

The Philosophy Department at Wayne State offers critical reasoning courses that are especially pertinent to Law School Preparation, such as Critical Thinking and Introductory Symbolic Logic. We also offer a variety of courses relevant to legal theory, issues, and practice, including: Foundations of Law, Philosophy of Law, Professional Ethics, and Contemporary Moral Issues (see course descriptions here). 

For more information see our poster on Philosophy and Law.

Philosophy and Medicine

Philosophy majors have the highest rate of acceptance to Medical School of any major (see source here). The 50% acceptance rate of students who major in philosophy is notably higher even than that of Biology majors (35%), Chemistry majors (39%), or Physics majors (42%). 

The Wayne State Philosophy Philosophy Department offers a number of courses that intersect with topics and concerns in medicine and science, including: Ethical Issues in Health Care, Contemporary Moral Issues, Introduction to Philosophy of Science, Space, Time and the Philosophy of Physics, and Philosophy of Science (see course descriptions here).

For more information see our posters on Philosophy and Science and Philosophy and Medicine.

Philosophy and Business

Philosophy majors score the fourth highest of any major on the GMATs, which is higher than majors in Business, Economics, Finance, Marketing, or Management (see source here).

Employability and Earning

Forbes recently wrote that if you are majoring in Philosophy, "the consensus among the people with their fingers on the pulse of the job market, and those who live the success stories, is that your future is bright." According to recent reports by the Wall Street Journal and, Philosophy majors have the highest mid-career median salary of any Humanities major and a higher mid-career median salary than Business majors. Philosophy provides transferrable skills that spell success in any career, and as a result Philosophy majors find work in a diverse range of fields. For example, in 2006, 12% of Philosophy majors were employed in business and finance, and another 7% were employed in marketing and advertising (see source here). The value of a Philosophy degree is becoming increasingly widely recognized, and a number of recent articles have explored the demand for, and success of, Philosophy majors throughout the job market:

Salon, "Be Employable, Study Philosophy"
Business Week,
"Philosophy Is Back in Business"
"Selling Your Philosophy Degree"
The Guardian,
"I Think, Therefore I Earn"
Denver Post,
"More Seek Philosophy Degrees as a Basis for Kicking off Other Careers"
Philadelphia Inquirer,
"Study of Philosophy Makes Gains Despite Economy"
Business Insider,
"Successful Philosophy Majors"

Further Information

For more information about our Major and Minor programs in Philosophy, click here. For information about our course offerings, click here.

If you have any questions about our program, please feel free to contact our Undergraduate Advisors.

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