Valpo philosophy students explore and analyze the views and research methods of humanity’s greatest thinkers, from both Western and non-Western traditions. In doing so, they come to understand how ideas about the meaning of human life, the sources of value, human freedom, the nature of knowledge, and so on, have shaped history and culture. They also become better able to recognize and grapple with the ideas that shape life today, and to devise creative alternatives to them. Apart from the intrinsic interest of the subject matter and the humanistic values served by mastering it, there are strong practical reasons to study philosophy.

It is a myth that a degree in philosophy only qualifies someone to teach philosophy. That’s one option, of course, but it’s an option that usually requires an advanced degree in philosophy (M.A. or Ph.D.). A degree in philosophy is excellent preparation for further study and/or a successful career in many fields. In fact, the general reasoning skills that enable philosophy majors to do so well on standardized tests are so broadly applicable that the real challenge isn’t to think of fields in which they’re crucial, but to think of fields in which they aren’t. Thus, Jordan Kotick says the correct response to the question “what can you do with a philosophy degree?” is “absolutely anything you want.” And Kotick should know. After earning a bachelor’s in philosophy and economics and then a master’s in philosophy, Kotick landed a job as vice president and technical market strategist at J.P. Morgan Chase. He is now Global Head of Technical Analysis at Barclays Capital.

Philosophy students regularly perform better than every other major on the verbal and analytical writing sections of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) and perform better than any other humanities major on the quantitative reasoning section. Philosophy majors are also among the highest-scoring groups of students on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT), regularly outscoring students from other majors that are often thought to be “the right majors” for people wanting to go into law or business.