"Excellent" Philosophy Major

Studies demonstrate that the critical skills philosophy offers are exactly the qualities that employers in all fields (business, law, education, etc.) seek in their future leaders. The U.S. Department of Education undertook a study of standardized testing of undergraduates on the three principle examinations for entry into graduate school (GRE), law school (LSAT), and business school (GMAT). Conducted from 1964 to 1982, it showed a direct correlation between student performance and major. Of the more than thirty majors surveyed:

  • The only two groups that performed substantially better than the national average on each of the tests were philosophy majors and biology majors.
  • The highest performers on the verbal portion of the GRE were philosophy majors.
  • The only majors among the humanities and social sciences to perform significantly higher than the national average on the quantitative portion of the GRE were philosophy majors and economics majors.
  • The highest performers on both the LSAT and GMAT were philosophy majors, mathematics majors, and engineering majors.

The study concluded: "students who major in a field characterized by formal thought, structural relationships, abstract models, symbolic languages, and deductive reasoning consistently outperform others on these examinations" (Clifford Adelman, Senior Associate of the National Institute of Education, The Standardized Test Scores of College Graduates, 1964-1982, p. 33).  Want the exact numbers for the LSAT?  

These are kinds of skills you will develop in the philosophy program at Hampden-Sydney.


If you decide to pursue graduate work, you'll be happy to learn that students who took the GRE between August 2011 and April 2013 with the intention of doing graduate work in philosophy scored first out of all fifty fields on both the verbal and analytic writing sections of the exam.

Source: http://www.ets.org/s/gre/pdf/gre_guide_table4.pdf