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Fundamentals of Success

Philosophy Takes You Places

Skills Acquired By Studying Philosophy

Scores to Achieve

The student of philosophy learns the fundamental theories and concepts that have framed our intellectual heritage, as well as essential tools to investigate and develop the ideas that shape both our lives today and our futures.

Philosophy is especially equipped to teach skills that are important for success in almost any endeavor: how to think critically, how to construct arguments and examine reasons, and how to formulate and express ideas clearly in speech and writing.

The study of philosophy provides a solid foundation for advanced study in almost any field or for entering the job market with confidence. Because it trains the student to think clearly and critically, it is excellent preparation for the many professions that require these skills.

UB's Philosophy Department offers a major and a minor in philosophy, and also provides the opportunity for joint degrees with other programs. Many of our students are joint or double majors with such departments as Psychology, English and Computer Science.

Philosophy students often continue studies in law and medicine. Others enter a business field, journalism, politics, computer science, the arts, or academic life in another discipline.

The UB Department of Philosophy's special focus on biomedical ontology and biomedical ethics gives our students unique opportunities to pursue careers in a variety of health-related fields, including the rapidly expanding field of biomedical informatics.

 

Critical Thinking Skills

  • The ability to think logically and to identify the key issues in a discussion.
  • The ability to assess the pros and cons of proposed solutions;
  • The ability to ask the right questions;
  • The ability to see beyond superficial categorizations (i.e., “to think outside the box”);
  • The ability to draw accurate conclusions from confusing data;
  • The ability to clarify purposes, principles, and general objectives;
  • The ability to differentiate fact from value.

Problem-Solving Skills

  • The ability to find creative solutions to hard problems;
  • The ability to define the parameters of a problem and to factor complex problems into solvable pieces;
  • The ability to look at a problem from different angles and to identify alternative courses of action;
  • The ability to identify useful resource materials for solving a problem.

Argument Skills

  • The ability to use argumentation techniques to persuade others;
  • The ability to assess the implications of a proposal.

Communication Skills

  • The ability to express and to explain difficult ideas clearly and straightforwardly;
  • The ability to express one’s point of view while respecting the views of others;
  • The ability to use a variety of tools and strategies to convey information.

Information Management

  • The ability to sort, compile and rank data;
  • The ability to evaluate information and to use it to solve problems;
  • The ability to use creative insight to guide information searches;
  • The ability to abstract concepts in order to summarize information;
  • The ability to focus on the big picture, to see the forest and the trees;
  • The ability to discern what is valuable from what is irrelevant.

Philosophy and the GRE

Philosophy majors:

  • Have the highest average verbal reasoning score of students in any major.
  • Have the highest average quantitative reasoning score of students in any humanities major.
  • Have a higher average quantitative reasoning score than students in any social science major.
  • Are the only humanities majors with an average quantitative reasoning score that is above average.
  • Have the highest average analytic writing score of students in any major.

Students declaring an intention to go to graduate school in Philosophy:

  • Have the highest average overall score of students in any major in the arts, humanities, social sciences, life sciences, education and business.
  • Have the highest average verbal reasoning score of students in any major.
  • Have a higher average quantitative reasoning score than students in any social science major except economics.
  • Have the highest average analytic writing score of students in any major.

Philosophy and the LSAT

Philosophy majors:

  • Have the highest average score of students in any humanities major.
  • Have a higher average score than students in any social science or natural science major, except mathematics and economics.
  • Have a higher average score than students in other popular pre-law majors like political science, communications and public administration.

Philosophy and the GMAT

Philosophy majors:

  • Score 15% higher than any type of business major (accounting, finance, management, etc.).
  • Have a higher average score than students in any major, except mathematics.

The reason usually given for such excellent performance on these examinations is that philosophy majors develop problem solving skills at a level of abstraction that cannot be achieved through the case-study or profession-specific approach favored in disciplines geared towards occupational training. People with strong abstract reasoning skills do better in applied fields, on average, than people who lack the ability to abstract from particular problem-situations.