Philosophy Department faculty are here to help students, from preparing them to declare a major or minor to navigating career and graduate school options.
Any core faculty member from the Department of Philosophy may potentially serve as a student's advisor. Students should also consult their assigned advisor through the Columbian College Undergraduate Academic Advising office.
Visit the GW Bulletin for a complete list of Philosophy course descriptions.
Majors and Minors
All students who wish to declare a major or minor in philosophy must meet with a faculty member (one of the designated advisors or any other full-time faculty member) who has agreed to serve as an advisor. During the meeting, students will develop an academic plan of study and complete the paperwork required by Columbian College.
Should I Go to Grad School for Philosophy?
Where to Start
A good first step is to meet with your faculty advisor and at least one other faculty member, who can help you consider whether graduate study is the right path. Note that any member of the Philosophy Department core faculty can serve as a student's advisor.
In general, even those who are very interested in philosophy should think twice about graduate studies in this discipline if they do not have an A- or A cumulative GPA, with mostly A's in philosophy courses, and an average of at least high 600s on the GRE. An outstanding record is important not only for admission to a competitive graduate program, but also for receiving graduate fellowships, without which graduate studies may be unaffordable.
Prestigious graduate programs are extremely selective, typically matriculating six to 12 students each year among a couple hundred who apply. It is somewhat easier to gain acceptance to less prestigious programs, but their graduates sometimes find it more difficult to compete in the academic job market.
That being said, we are proud that our strongest students majoring in philosophy have proven to be well suited to pursue graduate study and academic careers in philosophy.
Jobs in Academia
Teaching philosophy for a living can be very rewarding. Unfortunately, the job market in this field has been unfavorable for decades and is likely to remain so. While there are opportunities for those who persevere, the road to success is long and potentially frustrating. Students who aspire for an academic career should be prepared to work hard and should have an alternative career direction in mind, in case prospects change.