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Why a degree in Philosophy may be a better bet than a degree in Business administration

This previous post bears repeating in the current economic climate...

If you are wondering what kind of degree programme is likely to boost your general smarts, consider these figures.

Go here. This is one of several graphs from the above article. Based on GRE test performance (Graduate Record Examination) of graduate programme applicants. Quantitative (math) skills on the vertical axis, verbal skills on the horizontal (other graphs include the third component - "analytical writing", at which philosophers also excel, dramatically outperforming all others).

Philosophy graduates are pretty damn smart, the various figures suggest, compared to graduates with other degrees, including most - perhaps even all - sciences (though were they smarter to begin with, or did their degree programme make them smarter, compared to other degrees?). Check the article. Here's the original table of GRE scores of US students completing a variety of degrees.

Notice religion also does very well.

This data suggests (but falls a long way short of establishing) that if we want to produce graduates with general, across-the-board smarts, physics and philosophy are disciplines to encourage [and possibly also that accountancy and business administration should be discouraged (this confirms all my prejudices, I am pleased to say!)].

Note some very weird stats on this graph, such as business administration's woeful performance, doing less well than even "art and performance" on quantitative skills and verbal skills (which is staggering). And accountancy grads less good on quantitative skills than philosophy grads (!) and the worst performers of all on verbal skills. Both business and accountancy are also weak on the analytic writing component.

Of course, as the new business-friendly, market-led Tory vision of degree provision kicks in, we'll probably see philosophy departments up and down the country closing and business administration degrees expanding. Brilliant.

P.S. Just added a second graph comparing analytical writing and verbal. Check out e.g business administration. And where's philosophy?


Troy Camplin said…
Perhaps I need to send these along with my C.V. to everyplace I have been applying. And attach my GRE scores (which place me above the average philosophy student in both math and verbal). Because the C.V. alone isn't doing it. At all. Nothing since graduating in 2004.
Swenka said…
Nice to know. Changed from Computer Science, to PC Tech, and thinking bout going the philosophy route at University.

What types of jobs do philosophy majors end up with, anyways, other than teaching and writing?
Anonymous said…
The GRE is an entrance exam for graduate school. Of course more competetive programs will require higher scores. I think the demand for business degrees, as well as universities being less stringent on admission for them, is reflected in this graph. Perhaps people who want nothing more to do than think all day with their infinite wisdom choose to study Philosophy.
Anonymous said…
Troy is right, no-one even know what Philosopy is so it is immediately discounted, as if you had done nothing at all for 3 years.

My current recruitment consultant has recently erased all trace of it on the CVs he sends on my behalf.

Swenka you should try to do some programming as well you will walk straight into a job.
In the United States, an undergraduate degree in Philosophy, accompanied by other courses in mathematics and the sciences, provides an excellent basis for further graduate education in fields like Medicine, Law, and Business.

There is a false belief that Medical School, Law School, and Business School admissions criteria require undergraduate majors in so-called "Pre-Med", "Pre-Law" or Business.

Frankly, it is probably more difficult to actually major in Philosophy and take the prerequisites for these professional schools than to narrowly focus on one of the sciences or other fields often thought to be required for graduate admission.
Anonymous said…
The Limits of Science
A self-imposed and immutable law of said discipline, is that cause precedes effect. The inconvenient paradox of the Big Bang, is the existence of effect sans cause. Will no one rid us of ever-troublesome reality?
It takes at maximum, three elementary questions to reduce all human understandings to dust. But to be charitable, humans are by their very nature inherently flawed. Therefore, all understandings devised by humans cannot but be similarly marred.
Anonymous said…
Future world is best suitable for management guys, so I think it is highly recommended to take up Business degrees beforehand.
Anonymous: How much psilocybin have you ingested? What are you talking about?
Guy said…
Wait, so having a philosophy degree means you can talk bollocks /really convincingly/? ;-)

I am considered an oddity: a literate engineer.
Guy: You are in good company! I believe that Wittgenstein was a literate engineer!

The world needs people like you!
noiln said…
Computer Science
Computer is an electronics device that can accept data and instructions as input, process the data to given instructions and shows results as output. Computer also has ability to store data and instructions. The physical and tangible parts of the computer are called “Hardware”. “Software’s” are intangible parts of the computer system.
Unknown said…
This article focuses on what a learner should take into consideration when choosing the right accelerated online degree program. Some very useful tips are written to make it easier for an online learner to make a decision. Visit our website for the details.

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