Why a Philosophy Minor complements ANY Major
Philosophy is well-known for the meaning and satisfaction students derive from the study of big, historically influential ideas and thinkers. Less well-known are the practical benefits deriving from adding philosophy courses to your schedule – whether for mere GenEd electives, a Minor, or a second Major. Consider three such practical benefits (for further benefits of adding philosophy courses to your schedule, see our “Why Study Philosophy” page):
Philosophy is arguably the most interdisciplinary of academic fields. The history of every other academic discipline traces back to philosophy. Whether you're majoring in psychology, biology, physics, or whatnot, your discipline was founded by philosophers working on specialized topics unique to (what has become) your field. Part of the legacy of these philosophical origins is that scholars across all fields continue to earn PhD degrees – “PhD” abbreviates “Philosophy Doctorate”. The philosophical foundations underlying other disciplines makes the study of Philosophy particular well-suited as Minor or a second Major. Many of our course titles are a tribute to the interdisciplinarity of philosophy – such courses as “Philosophy of Biology”, “Philosophy of Physics”, “Philosophy of Science”, “Philosophy of Social Science”, “Philosophy of Mind”, “Philosophy of Language”, “Philosophy of Law”, “Philosophy of Literature”, “Philosophy of Education”, “Philosophy of Art” . . . you get the idea. Bottom-line: The study of Philosophy combines fantastically well with a Major in any other field. Adding a Philosophy Minor or second Major typically rewards students with a deeper understanding of issues relevant to their first Major.
The study of Philosophy provides skills that will help you get into a better graduate program. Philosophy students consistently outperform other students on standardized grad school prep exams – e.g., GRE, LSAT, MCAT, GMAT. Those exams do not emphasize discipline-specific knowledge; rather, they emphasize skills with logical reasoning and comprehension of logic-rich texts. Why? The thinking is that if you are good with logical reasoning, then we can train you! Philosophy students do fantastically well on these exams for the simple reason that Philosophy courses focus on logical reasoning. Adding a Philosophy Minor or second Major will help improve your prep exam scores, and that will likely get you into a better-ranked graduate program.
The study of philosophy improves students' reading and writing skills. If mastery with creative writing (among other forms) is your goal, then English courses are terrific. If instead, the goal is mastery of reading and writing skills associated with academic, journal-style texts – i.e., writings rich in logical reasoning – you can do no better than to take Philosophy courses. Indeed, recent data for the GRE exam show that for the two portions of the exam associated with verbal and writing skills, Philosophy students earned the very highest scores of any Major. (English Majors also did well, though, in both categories, they came in second to Philosophy Majors.) Adding a Philosophy Minor or second Major will improve your reading and writing in your first Major, helping you to earn better grades.
The Philosophy Department offers three distinct Minors (explained below).
21 credit hours
The field of applied ethics consists in the analysis of ethical issues as they arise
in the management and resolution of real-world problems. Applied ethics promotes an
ongoing "conversation" between specific cases and pressing issues.
18 credit hours
How does the mind work? How do our thoughts tell us about the world around us, and are these thoughts accurate? These questions have been asked for thousands of years, and it is against this background that the field of cognitive science emerged.
18 credit hours
Philosophical inquiry encompasses a wide range of topics, across a wide range of disciplines,
including interrelations between disciplines. Nearly every academic discipline is
a historical outgrowth of philosophy.