Frequently Asked Questions, Philosophy
Why would I study philosophy?
A better question would be, 'Why wouldn't I study philosophy?' The ability to analyze problems or issues, critique positions, and develop coherent arguments is central to just about anything you'll do after your undergraduate education. Thus, a philosophy degree prepares you for any career. Most college graduates will change careers multiple times during their lives. The reasoning, analytical, and evaluative skills learned in philosophy can give you the flexibility necessary to adapt to new jobs and new situations. Moreover, the department has a good record of preparing undergraduate majors for graduate work in philosophy and other areas. In this regard, philosophy students do better than average on the Graduate Record Examination, the Law School Admissions Test, and other tests required for graduate education.
What can I do with a philosophy degree?
What can't you do with a philosophy degree? Students who have completed the philosophy program have gone on to a wide variety of careers, to graduate schools in philosophy, to law school, and to a variety of other graduate programs. For example, recent graduates have gone to the University of Texas Law School, University of Kentucky Medical School, and the University of Hawaii in American Studies. And because the philosophy major is relatively small in terms of credit hours, students easily combine it with other majors'including many that typically lead to immediate post-graduate employment.
What can I expect to get out of my philosophy courses?
The courses that students take in the philosophy program will:
- foster ethical understanding, analytical reading, logical thinking and clear expression of ideas:
- illuminate the assumptions, methods and foundations of other disciplines;
- acquaint them with paradigms and perspectives from past philosophies that provide recurring thought patterns whose strengths and weaknesses an autonomous individual should know;
- prepare them to deal with problems for which there are neither simple nor obvious solutions;
- equip them for graduate and professional study in fields such as law, government service, management, medicine, the ministry, and philosophy.
This sounds good, but what if I'm not sure?
Because philosophy is seldom studied in high school, most students have no idea what to expect in a philosophy class. Because the department's introductory classes all meet some general education requirement, it is possible for students to get a taste of philosophy on a 'no risk' basis; that is, the class can simply be used to fulfill a general education requirement or it may also be used as a first step toward a major or minor. Either way, the course counts toward fulfilling graduation requirements.
Why study philosophy at Western Kentucky University?
The philosophy program at WKU is one of the most successful in the state. Its faculty contains internationally recognized scholars in the field who are committed teachers.