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The philosophy major at Bucknell prepares students well for advanced work in philosophy, and some of Bucknell’s philosophy students have gone on to pursue graduate work in philosophy at some of the best programs across the country. But Philosophy majors also tend to do exceptionally well on other graduate entrance exams — basically sitting on or near the top of the heap on exams such as the LSAT (for law school), GMAT (for business school), and GRE (for other academic graduate programs); more charts and graphs here

Now, as any philosophy major knows, correlation isn’t causation. Perhaps what’s going on here is that smarter students disproportionately tend to choose to major in philosophy. It turns out that some smart people looked into this (long and detailed write-up here) and found that this hypothesis didn’t check out: majoring in Philosophy seems to make a genuine difference.

Majoring in philosophy can also set you apart from other applicants. For instance, how many students applying for medical school are biology majors? According to the AMA, in 2021 about 60% of matriculants in medical schools were from the biology majors whereas humanities majors (including English, History, Philosophy, and so on) represented only 4%. As Paul Jung, M.D. noted in a column in The New Physician, philosophy majors seem to stand out to admissions officers, getting accepted at markedly higher rates than science majors (50% vs. 35%).

Similar remarks apply to other advanced academic pursuits. How many applying to law school are political science majors? How many seeking to go into finance major in economics or management? (Lots!) Sometimes there’s an advantage to pursuing something a little outside the norm (on law, see this; on business/finance, see many of the news stories here). It seems that basically the same story gets told again and again: studying Philosophy is great preparation for more education, meaningful jobs, and life.