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Philosophy

Philosophy courses are a chance to think about important, difficult, and timeless – yet still timely – questions about the human condition. Of course you want to live a good, happy life. But, what is a good life, anyway? As members of diverse communities, we have the opportunity to vote for or against a variety of legal and social policies. How can we know, or even justifiably believe, one policy is better than another? Is there such a thing as objectivity and neutrality in the sciences (whether political, social, biological or physical)?

The Pomona Philosophy Department offers a wide range of courses. You can try philosophy either by exploring a particular area (e.g., feminism and science, existentialism, etc.) or by taking a general survey (e.g., continental thought, ethical theory, etc). Many philosophy courses have no prerequisites.

Is majoring or minoring in philosophy a sensible choice? Grappling with questions about the world and our place in it is both its own reward and practical. Philosophy emphasizes a number of skills and habits of mind that make philosophy students attractive to employers and successful employees. You will learn to formulate arguments for your view, and separate those arguments from distracting or fallacious considerations; to understand and evaluate your own and others views and arguments; and to communicate in clear, precise writing.

These skills are widely applicable; Pomona College philosophy majors pursue careers in business, medicine, law, the arts, and education.  Philosophy majors do particularly well in standardized tests like the GMAT, LSAT (see here [pdf] ) and the GRE (see here [pdf] and here). Medical schools admit students equally across all majors, and the trend in asking applicants for some training in bioethics reflects the value placed on philosophy. Overall, our alumni report that their philosophical training has been an asset to their professional development as well as enriching their personal lives.