Study of philosophy makes gains despite economy

Philadelphia Inquirer
October 15, 2011

Shannon Maloney had already earned a degree in mechanical engineering, but she returned to Lehigh University for a fifth year to complete a second major she knows will make her more employable:


Yep, philosophy.

Though philosophy is routinely dismissed and disparaged - as useless as English, as dead as Latin, as diminished as library science - more college students are getting degrees in that field than ever before.

Though the overall figures remain small, the number of four-year graduates has grown 46 percent in a decade, surpassing the growth rates of much bigger programs such as psychology and history.

In an era in which chronic unemployment seems to demand hard skills, some students are turning to an ancient study that they say prepares them not for a job, but for the multiple jobs they expect to hold during their lifetimes.

"It's teaching me to see the big picture and to think about things in a different way," said Maloney, 22, of West Chester. "Not only can I do the math and figure out how to design something and build something, but I can see it in the context of a business plan."


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