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Philosophy at St. Thomas: providing students excellent analytical tools and reasoning skills.

Learning opportunities outside of the classroom:

Internships. Internships for philosophy majors can be designed for virtually any field. Internships at law firms have been particularly attractive to our majors.

Study abroad. We have one study-abroad course that is regularly offered — Ethics: East and West. It has been offered in Hawaii during J-Term, and in Tibet during the summer. Our faculty members offer other courses abroad from time to time ... in Ukraine and Rome, Italy, for example.

Work with the Philosophy Club. Philosophy students organize colloquia, debates, and film discussions. There are great opportunities here for students who want to take a leadership role.

Serve as a tutor. Approximately a half-dozen top philosophy majors each year work for the department as paid philosophy tutors.

We encourage majors to explore all these opportunities, in part because they expand horizons. Studying philosophy does that also. The philosopher Bertrand Russell eloquently makes the point: 

"The mind which has become accustomed to the freedom and impartiality of philosophic contemplation will preserve something of the same freedom and impartiality in the world of action and emotion. It will view its purposes and desires as parts of the whole.... The impartiality which, in contemplation, is the unalloyed desire for truth, is the very same quality of mind which, in action, is justice, and in emotion is that universal love which can be given to all, and not only to those who are judged useful or admirable. Thus contemplation enlarges not only the objects of our thoughts, but also the objects of our actions and our affections: it makes us citizens of the universe, not only of one walled city at war with all the rest."

---Bertrand Russell, Problems of Philosophy

Faculty research, presentations, publications, etc.

All our faculty members have active research agendas. Take a look at the individual Web pages of faculty members for a picture of the sort of research they do.

Faculty members work with advanced students on research projects in which the students are interested. All our majors do a substantial supervised research project as part of a senior seminar. Sometimes these projects lead to student presentations at philosophy conferences. 

What jobs are possible with a Philosophy major?

Philosophy students build skills that are highly desirable to employers. You will learn to think critically and imaginatively, analyze concepts and problems, develop rigorous arguments, interpret difficult texts, debate about a wide variety of issues, and communicate with clarity.

Philosophy majors go on to a wide variety of jobs, including:

  • Attorney
  • Teacher (college/high school)
  • Public policy analyst
  • computer programer
  • Editor
  • Writer
  • Public relations specialist
  • Research analyst
  • Top and mid-level manager, executive
  • Program coordinator
  • Philanthropic organizer
  • Artist
  • Entrepreneur

Many of our majors go on to study at seminaries. The Philosophy department offers courses that emphasize Aristotle and Aquinas, thinkers foundational to the Catholic intellectual tradition. We seek to show students the harmony between faith and reason. As John Paul II wrote in Fides et Ratio, "Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth."

Though studying philosophy is fantastic preparation for a job, the primary value of philosophy lies less in career preparation than in what it does for the mind. It is no small matter to become familiar with great answers to great questions, to take as one's teachers some of the most illuminating thinkers from the dawn of theorizing to the present moment, and to be furnished thereby with precious materials for understanding the world and our place within it.

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