The Philosophy Major

At Spring Hill College, all students take at least three philosophy courses, but many take more. 

Why? Because more and more people are realizing that an undergraduate degree in the humanities, and particularly in philosophy, is one of the most valuable degrees to have. And in case you’re wondering, it’s not (just) humanities professors who are saying this; as Catherine Rampell has written, scientists are themselves are arguing that the skills humanities studies cultivate will be essential to getting the best jobs. The reason is simple: philosophy (and the other pure humanities) teach you how to think.  Studying philosophy gives you phenomenal skills in critical thinking and writing that actually give you broader job prospects than other majors that are geared towards specific jobs.  

Philosophy & The Jesuit Tradition

Spring Hill College is a Jesuit institution, and as a Jesuit institution, it has an unwavering commitment to philosophy as a major part of the curriculum.

Often, students treat college as if it were a trade school:  thinking of just taking the twelve or so courses that a major demands, and then being free to go practice a trade. But with Spring Hill College’s commitment to philosophy, among other core disciplines in the liberal arts, students are not just taught a trade or skill—as if they came here to be welders or blacksmiths—but they also learn to become reflective beings.

Philosophy, more than any other discipline, demands us to be the most rigorously self-reflective. Thus, many students choose to take courses like Philosophy of Human Nature, where we reflect on the place of the human being within the rest of nature; or Ethics, where we reflect on what it is to do something right and what it is to do something or wrong; or Philosophy of Religion, where we ask whether there are any good reasons to believe that God exists or cares about us; and so on. In sum, at Spring Hill, the philosophy discipline is an ineliminable part of the college’s curriculum.

Let's Talk about Who's Hiring

The numbers on graduate school tests bear this out, too.  Think about it:  if you study accounting, you’re qualified to be…an accountant!  But if you study philosophy, you’re qualified for any number of jobs.  Even managers are talking about it, as can be clearly seen in the NYT’s recent interview of CEO Sabine Heller.  In response to the question, “Let’s talk about hiring. What are you looking for?” she says:  ”I’m much more interested in understanding the way someone thinks than what they have done…So what I do is have a conversation with them to understand how they problem-solve, to understand how agile their mind is, to understand why they do what they do.”  

And if all that wasn’t enough, our evidence suggests that the people who tend to get promoted from entry level positions are the ones with strong liberal arts backgrounds – exactly the kind of education that a degree in Philosophy from Spring Hill College gives you.  And if you’re worried about salary – well, the latest studies show that “by their mid-50s, liberal arts majors with an advanced or undergraduate degree are on average making more money those who studied in professional and pre-professional fields.”

UPDATE:  In a recent NYT article, Gary Gutting spells out exactly how important philosophy, and the humanities, are – even if you’re not a philosophy major!

Want to know what you can do with a philosophy major?  Just follow the link for some of the many possibilities!

Small Class Sizes, Individual Attention

Spring Hill College’s small class sizes and flexible course offerings allow us to tailor teaching and mentoring to the needs of each student, not only within a single class but across the curriculum. In the spirit of our Jesuit humanities core, many students take two or more courses with the same professors, working with us throughout their college career to address the fundamental questions about truth, meaning, human nature, and the values and commitments that give shape to our personal, political and spiritual lives.

Our majors are bright, enthusiastic and collaborative, and minoring in philosophy at Spring Hill is easy, since every student fulfills about half of the requirements already, just by completing the College’s core curriculum.

Interviews with employers in a wide variety of fields show that SHC philosophy majors stand out in their ability to gather and synthesize vast sources of information, solve new and complex problems, and speak persuasively to issues of vital importance to whatever career they are pursuing as job applicants and employees.

For More Information

Dr. C. R. Dodsworth
Associate Professor, Department Chair