Philosophy and Humanistic Studies Department

Contract Major in Philosophy



Etymology Latin philosophia study or pursuit of wisdom, from ancient Greek ϕιλοσοϕία love of wisdom.

  1. The love, study, or pursuit of wisdom, truth, or knowledge.
  2. Rational inquiry or argument, as opposed to divinely revealed knowledge.
  3. The study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence, and the basis and limits of human understanding.

Philosophy attempts to answer the most basic questions that humans are capable of asking, which are: What is real? What is true? What is valuable? The history of philosophy is the history of people trying to make sense of their existence by thinking for themselves, rather than simply accepting some tradition or convention as authoritative, and by creating concepts and theories to explain the true nature of reality, knowledge, and values. Philosophy will challenge you to question your own assumptions and beliefs, it will help you solve problems in an analytical and logical way, and it will lead you to profound discoveries that will change your life.

Everyone who majors in philosophy at WCSU designs their own program of study. The University calls this a “contract major.” This is a wonderful opportunity for you to focus on what interests you the most in philosophy, and it also allows you to include classes in your major from outside the Philosophy Department. With a contract major in philosophy you can customize your education and graduate with a major that is uniquely your own.

If you’re interested in a contract major please drop by the department office—we can guide you through the process and show you several examples of contract majors that other students have designed. It’s not at all difficult to create a contract major and get it approved; we can generally complete the whole process in just a few weeks.

What can you do with a philosophy major?

(a) Studying philosophy is excellent preparation for any career.

The success of philosophy majors on graduate school admission tests demonstrates that studying philosophy is good preparation for any future career:

  • On the GRE philosophy majors have the highest average verbal reasoning and analytic writing scores of students in any major, and have the highest average quantitative reasoning score of students in any humanities major.
  • On the LSAT philosophy majors have the highest average score of students in any humanities major, and have a higher average score than students in any social science or natural science major, except math and economics.
  • On the GMAT philosophy majors have a higher average score than students in any major, except math.
  • On the MCAT philosophy majors score higher than any other humanities major.

(b) A philosophy major or minor will open doors for you, and it will help you stand out when you apply for jobs or grad school.

Anyone looking at your resume will be impressed by a philosophy major or minor. It means that you have a well-rounded education and that you are capable of thinking independently about challenging questions. In philosophy classes you gain valuable thinking skills that can prepare you for work or graduate study in any field. Philosophy classes teach you to recognize assumptions, think logically, solve complex problems, understand both sides of an argument, ask the right questions, and communicate your ideas effectively. These are skills that are valuable in any field, and they are also skills that will help you adapt as your profession changes.

(c) You really can do anything with a degree in philosophy. For example, the following people were all philosophy majors in college:

Actors, comedians, entertainers, athletes:


George Carlin

Stephen Colbert

Ricky Gervais

Jimmy Kimmel

Harrison Ford

Steve Martin

Alex Trebek

Bruce Lee

Richard Gere

Susan Sarandon

David Duchovny

Phil Jackson

Arian Foster


Politicians, judges, social activists:


Rudi Giuliani

Stephen Breyer

David Souter

George Stephanopoulos

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Aung San Suu Kyi

Elie Wiesel

Business leaders:


George Soros

Carl Icahn

Carli Fiorina

Gerald Levin

Michael McKaskey


Writers, filmmakers, musicians:


Wes Anderson

Ethan Coen

Elmore Leonard

Alexander Solzhenitsin

Chaim Potok

David Foster Wallace

Terence Malick

Umberto Eco

Ken Follett

Philip Glass

Neil Peart

T. S. Eliot

Michael Haneke

Errol Morris

Pearl Buck

Christopher Hitchens