Prospective Students

What is Philosophy ?

Philosophy is the search for an understanding of how the world as a whole hangs together and of how we are to assume our place in the world. Philosophy pursues its goal first of all historically. It is the trustee of the heritage of great philosophical texts, and it engages those texts in conversation with contemporary problems. Second, philosophy turns to the contemporary world directly and tries to illuminate and advance its concerns with ethics and art, with science and technology, with ecology and feminism, with law and medicine. Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees are offered

Philosophy Major Facts

Philosophy majors have a median mid-career salary of $85,000, beating more “practical” majors like business administration, marketing, IT, accounting, nursing, and a whole host of others. Impressively, this statistic excludes anyone with an undergraduate philosophy degree that goes on to graduate school to get degrees such as a J.D., an M.D., an M.B.A., or a Ph.D. 

On that note...

  • Philosophy majors get the second highest average score on the LSAT, the laws school admission exam, of majors with more than 1000 students taking the exam. A philosophy degree is just about the best possible preparation one can get for law school.
  • Philosophy majors have the highest acceptance rate to medical school. 
  • Philosophers have the highest overall score on the GRE. 
  • Philosophy majors have the third highest average score on the GMAT exam.
  • A philosophy degree is also an excellent preparation for a business degree. 

Why Philosophy at The University of Montana?

The faculty in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Montana has a national and international reputation for their scholarship. They are also accessible and engaged in teaching. The Department offers courses across continental and analytic traditions in philosophy with special strengths in environmental ethics. Students have small classes that facilitate intensive interaction between faculty and students that help students cultivate their reading, reasoning, writing, and problem solving skills. These skills are the ultimate intellectual toolkit that allows our students to succeed in a variety of different career paths.

Course requirements for a degree in philosophy make double majoring easy and encouraged. Students often take an additional major in English, Economics, Mathematics, Political Science, and others.

The Department of Philosophy is unique in offering a 5 year BA/MA degree in philosophy/environmental philosophy. For just one extra year in school, you can pick up an MA degree.

Missoula is also just a great place to be. The culturally vibrant city is located at the intersection of five beautiful valleys, offering unparalleled access to Montana's wildlife, its national forest and wilderness areas, and a number of its legendary rivers.

What Do Our Alums Say?

Geoff Elliot

Philosophy provides you with the ability to think. I know this sounds cliche, but once I left the department and stepped into a world outside of like-minded philosophy majors, I realized how true this is. Use this talent to impress upon potential employers your ability to provide well-developed ideas on how you would improve the business or organization. Your critical thinking skills and logic are your greatest assets.”

Geoff Elliot
Conservation Corps Manager for Rocky Mountain Conservancy

Peter Landsiedel

Philosophy doesn't teach what to think or what to know, but rather, how to think and how to know. These are valuable skills that transfer to a number of fields, not just law. Employers don't necessarily know this, so you need to find a way to communicate this fact to them, either in your applications, or in an interview. Don't be afraid to sell your skills, and explain that philosophy provides a groundwork for you to jump into many different fields.”

Peter Landsiedel
Criminal Defense Attorney

Marianne Blaue

After majoring in philosophy at UM, I acquired an entry-level job in technical support for an internet company. I won my interviewers over in a practical exercise where I used fallacy identification to troubleshoot a technical problem. While on the job, I learned about the field of “knowledge strategy”, which involves various methodologies and technologies corporations use to save money through information sharing and data management. I was drawn to this field because of I could see its connection to epistemology, or the investigation of knowledge, which I studied heavily in my Senior year at UM. After a few years, I came to understand that knowledge strategy had additional lucrative and interesting subspecialties, like information architecture, self-service support, content management, enterprise search, and predictive analytics.”

Marianne Blaue
Co-Founder of Truth or Consequences Brewing

Potential Careers

Most of what is learned in philosophy can be implemented in a wide variety of work settings. Philosophy graduates develop valuable skills including writing, critical thinking, analytical skills, communication—especially persuasive communication skills.

Sample Occupations

  • College Professor
  • Writers/Editors
  • Political Analyst/Lobbyist
  • Public Relations Specialists
  • Lawyer
  • Counselor
  • Research Analyst
  • Management/Human Resources
  • Sale/Marketing/Advertising

Opportunities for Graduate Studies

Check out our grad program!

The MA program at the University of Montana specializes in environmental philosophy.  It is recognized as one of the best places to student environmental philosophy, not only for the faculty, but also because the University of Montana is an exceptional institution for the study of environmental issues. In addition to a world class W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation, the University has many highly regarded departments including those in the Division of Biological Sciences, English, Environmental Studies, and Native American Studies. We also have a strong tradition in environmental writing and an active program in ethics and public affairs. There is a continual stream of readings, lectures, conferences, and events on campus related to natural resources and environmental issues.

Resources on Philosophy Careers