Choose a Practical Major!

Philosophy is about finding the meaning of life, uncovering the deepest secrets of the universe, and reflecting on the nature of justice and your role in society.

Everyone does philosophy. Everyone wonders whether there can be life after death, or what our moral obligations to our neighbors are, or what it means to be a good citizen, or whether God exists, or when we should trust science. Philosophy is a part of being human, and so it's practical and relevant to everyone.

But there are many other practical benefits as well.

  • Students who study only one narrow set of skills, especially skills that computers or robots also possess, are in danger of losing their jobs to automation. You should ensure that you build a flexible foundation of vital intellectual skills.
  • Philosophy majors score at or near the top in all post-graduate exams and admission rates to professional schools, such as graduate school, law school, medical school, and business school.
  • Philosophy makes the world better. The return to society on investment for a philosophy major is similar to that of an engineering major.
  • And—believe it or not—philosophers are well-paid too!

You can read more here about all these practical benefits.

... Or a Practical Minor

Chances are, you only need three or four other courses beyond your degree requirements to minor in philosophy. Choose a minor that helps you stand out from the competition and shows you have the intellectual flexibility and skills to excel at anything you choose.

To minor in philosophy, you need to take PHL 101, plus five other courses in philosophy: two at the 200-level and three at the 300/400 level. For example, if you took a 200-level and a 300-level for your core-curriculum requirements, plus another 200-level for your Ethics requirement and a 300-level for your Integrations requirement, you'd only need one more course for the minor. It's easy!

A set of images of philosophers.

Get a Fun, Well-Paying Job

Let's ask some managers and entrepreneurs.

CEO Sabine Heller, on what she looks for in hiring:

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.

CEO Nick Miller, on why he (a philosophy major) is a successful entrepreneur:

After all, many of the same qualities that make a good entrepreneur are the same qualities that make a good philosopher. Both occupations require clear communication, critical thinking and the ability to sell your ideas. And while these are just a few skills that entrepreneurs share with philosophers, there are many more valuable lessons that founders and CEOs can learn from this ancient yet timeless discipline.

Matthew Stewart, management consultant and entrepreneur, on why managers should study philosophy and not business:

But what does an M.B.A. do for you that a doctorate in philosophy can’t do better? ... The best business schools will tell you that management education is mainly about building skills—one of the most important of which is the ability to think (or what the M.B.A.s call “problem solving”). But do they manage to teach such skills? The recognition that management theory is a sadly neglected subdiscipline of philosophy began with an experience of déjà vu. As I plowed through my shelfload of bad management books, I beheld a discipline that consists mainly of unverifiable propositions and cryptic anecdotes, is rarely if ever held accountable, and produces an inordinate number of catastrophically bad writers. It was all too familiar .... [Philosophers} are much better at knowing what they don’t know.

Entrepreneur Mark Cuban predicts that a philosophy degree will be worth more than a computer-science degree:

I’m going to make a prediction .... In 10 years, a liberal arts degree in philosophy will be worth more than a traditional programming degree .... What is happening now with artificial intelligence is we’ll start automating automation .... Artificial intelligence won’t need you or I to do it, it will be able to figure out itself how to automate [tasks] over the next 10 to 15 years.

Don't get replaced by a robot. Major in philosophy!

A set of images of famous philosophy-majors.

Recent Graduates Agree ...

Choosing to study Philosophy over my original major of Business has had a profound impact on my life and the way I view the world. I also frequently make a point to tell people that studying Philosophy was one of the best decisions I ever made. Not only had my major taught me how to think and how to write, it has also taught me the importance of being informed of every side of an argument. The study of philosophy enables you to think outside the box and view the world through a different lens. Philosophy gives you the tools that enable you to identify with people who have different opinions as well as helping you to form your own, more concrete world view. Studying philosophy has undoubtedly been a life-changing choice that not only impacted my academic ventures in a positive way, but also my life in general.

— Alexis Esneault, class of ‘16

Philosophy helps us understand the power of ideas as well as the diversity and depth of ideas throughout history and the world. Consequently, through philosophy, I have learned some essential skills for my time at Spring Hill College as well as my future: how to further open my mind to new ideas, how to think more critically about ideas both new and old, and how to communicate ideas and arguments clearly and strongly. A serious study in philosophy opens so many doors in school, society, and the future.

— Jeremy Buckner, class of ‘15

I greatly enjoyed studying philosophy at Spring Hill. Since starting law school I have been pleasantly surprised at how prepared I am in relation to my classmates. The philosophy department at Spring Hill helped in the development of my critical thinking skills and my ability to read and understand difficult texts. Studying philosophy showed me that more often than not there is more than one answer or theory to life's great questions. Knowing that things are not always so black and white will undoubtedly aid me in law school and in my future career.

— Katelyn Pierce, class of ‘14

I now attend Mississippi College Law School, which is where philosophy comes in. After I decided against pre-med, which many of you shall do, I went into political science and philosophy. I always enjoyed reading the ancient philosophers and philosophical texts. Moreover, philosophy has played a huge role in my academic career. I would advise any student majoring in anything to at least minor in philosophy. Here's why:

1)   The study of philosophy is difficult. Really, it’s hard to understand, aggravating to read, and even harder to apply. However, you learn how to get through difficult readings, have Socratic discussions (special to law school), and use methods to break down complex concepts.

2)   Philosophy teaches you foundations of literally every other subject. In political science and law you will often see Aristotle, Bentham, Plato, Marx, and so on. You learn so much about why and how the philosophers thought and reasoned it often makes your other classes much easier.

3)   Philosophy majors often score higher on the LSAT and the GRE. Again, you learn how to quickly read and break down complex difficult material when you've read Aristotle and Plato (and so many others) for four years.

Finally, I feel like I became a better person with my philosophy background. I learned about equality, broke stereotypes, and grew as a man in ways I could never imagine from my education. That being said good luck, welcome to SHC, and may the force be with you!

— Jonathan Barlow, class of ‘14

Rather than teaching its students a specific topic, philosophy teaches a deeper style of thinking, and then applies it to an array of questions asked by human beings throughout our history. Through this process, philosophy has taught me how to listen, ask questions and learn without biases and with a focus on rationality. These skills provide a constant reminder that I do not have all the answers, but what is important is that I seek out understanding.

— Bennett Champagne, class of ‘15

Many of my classes, but philosophy, in particular, has taught me to change the way I think. I’ve altered my perception on a lot of things, which was essential to my growth as a person. Existentialism also taught me even more about myself and my religious self. Honestly, if I hadn't taken the classes so late, I would have made philosophy my minor at SHC.

 — Twarner Witherspoon, class of ‘15

I knew that I wanted to minor in philosophy even before I finished introductory logic. For me, it was an opportunity to explore ideas that I had never really been exposed to before, and throughout my classes I was able to evaluate some of the most important questions and debates there are. The ultimate objective was always just to think, and because of that I was able to come to my own conclusions to issues that define who I am. As a scientist, being able to explain utilitarianism or virtue theory might not be terribly useful to me, but understanding those ideas and others like them have allowed me to form my own educated opinions. And that is invaluable.

 — James Kizziah, class of ‘15 

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. 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
Professor, Department Chair