Program and Careers

Painting of WVO Quine

Title: Desert Landscapes
W.V.O. Quine
Artist: Renee Jorgensen Bolinger

Philosophy Major - What to expect from the major

Philosophy's range of application is particularly broad. Through philosophy one may think about and develop perspectives on topics as diverse as god, science, language, logic, truth, ethics, politics and law. Typically philosophy leaves aside the doing of the religion, science, etc. and asks fundamental questions about the nature of and justification for the various perspectives. Philosophy is valuable just for the signficance of the questions it asks, and skills it develops.

Here are some questions you might encounter in a philosophy class: What is the nature of the mind?  Is it identical with the brain? Does God exist?  If so, what is God like? Can we prove such a being exists? What makes an action right or wrong?  What makes a society a just one? What distinguishes science from non-science?  What is a scientific theory? Are numerals (like "4") names for objects?  If so, what are these objects (presumably numbers) like? What is knowledge?  Under what conditions do you have it?

The philosophy major requires a (relatively) low number of units, and is often added as a second major. Provision is made for internships, independent research projects, honors program, and minors. Small class sizes ensure personalized attention. The Logic Lab is a gathering place for majors, with tutors and specialized software. An outstanding faculty includes published scholars, active researchers and experienced teachers.

For questions of any sort about the philosophy program or degrees, please talk to a faculty member or contact the Philosophy office at UH 235, 909 537-5869, philosophy@csusb.edu. See also Philosophy Advising.

Degrees and Requirements: Major and Minors

Major

The Major in Philosophy requires 57 units. So graduation with a degree in philosophy requires a total of 180 units: 82 units in general education courses, 57 units in philosophy major classes, and 41 units in free electives. These elective units may contribute to further courses in philosophy, a minor, or even to a second major. Handout on the Philosophy Major.

Minors

The Minor in Philosophy requires 32 units. It is a sort of reduced version of the major, especially useful for students who desire a grouding in philosophy short of the full major. Since each course in the minor is included in the major, the minor is easily "converted" to a philosophy major.

The Minor in Philosophical Logic provides an opportunity to learn logic at a level rare in undergraduate institutions in the United States. The logical material is foundational to disciplines as diverse as philosophy, mathematics and computer science. The logic minor consists of 24 units including Phil 200, Phil 300 and an additional four courses to push beyond that required of CSUSB Philosophy majors. Handout on the Minor in Philosophical Logic.

The Law and Philosophy Minor enables students to examine what makes law valid and the extent to which its claims on us are legitimate -- while at the same time developing skills necessary for succeeding in law school and becoming a well-rounded lawyer. The minor requires 28 units, 12 units of core requirements and 16 units of electives. Handout on the Law and Philosophy Minor.

The Minor in Philosophy, Policy, and Economics is an interdisciplinary minor between Philosophy, Economics and Political Science. Oxford University made famous a program in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics – an interdisciplinary approach to understanding real-world problems that requires students to grasp the politics and economics of potential solutions, and to reflect upon their normative merits; this program has been replicated at universities across the US and now is available at CSUSB. The minor requres 24-36 units divided among Philosophy, Economics and Political Science.

Career Opportunities

Because of its general nature, people trained in philosophy appear in just about every career field. Philosophy is excellent preparation for a career in education, law, business, government, religion, journalism, etc. and for different sorts of graduate and professional study. Philosophy focuses on clear thinking and writing, and critical evaluation of unusual and unorthodox ideas. These are are skills that will serve you well in any context. As is the case with most liberal arts majors, philosophy does not provide training in specific job tasks. Rather, it focuses on basic skills that will prepare you for the more challenging tasks to which you will advance over your career.

Philosophy is valuable not only intrinsically, but also practically. Students who major in philosophy do well compared to many other majors. For data on careers for philosophy majors, see our short slideshow, Philosophy: What can you do with that? additional and related information is available at Value of Philosophy and Philosophy: What can it do for you?, and the USC Dornsife Undergraduate Philosophy page. See also, Who has a degree in philosophy? (a poster by Catherine Nolan).

Some of the same information is recapitulated below.

  1. Philosophy majors are successful!

    Major Median Mid-Career Salary
    Economics $98,600
    Computer Science $95,500
    Finance $88,300
    Information Systems $82,300
    Philosophy $81,200
    Political Science $78,200
    Business Management $72,100
    Communications $70,000
    Nursing $67,000
    Biology $64,800
    Psychology $60,400
    Criminal Justice $56,300
    Nutrition $55,300
    Music $55,000
    Education $52,000

    Data collected from the Wall Street Journal.

  2. Philosophy majors do well on the Law School Admission Test:
    Top Average LSAT Scores by Major
    Major Score
    Physics/Math 160.0
    Philosophy/Theology (157.4)
    Economics (157.4)
    International Relations (156.5)
    Engineering (156.2)

    The study can be found on the Social Science Research Network website

Philosophy Majors do well on the Graduate Record Exam (image followed by text equivalent):

The Power of Philosophy, GRE Scores By Intended Graduate Major, 2011-2012
Verbal
(Average score out of 170)
Philosophy 160
English 157
Political Science 156
Physics 156
Economics 154
Biology 153
Chemistry 153
Psychology 152
Education 151
Communications 151
Business 150
Computer Science 149
Quantitative
(Average score out of 170)
Physics 161
Economics 159
Computer Science 158
Chemistry 157
Philosophy 153
Biology 153
Business 152
Political Science 151
English 148
Education 148
Psychology 148
Communications 147
Analytical Writing
(Average score out of 6)
Philosophy 4.4
English 4.3
Political Science 4.2
Physics 4.0
Psychology 4.0
Economics 4.0
Biology 3.9
Chemistry 3.9
Education 3.9
Communications 3.9
Business 3.7
Computer Science 3.4