Frequently Asked Questions


"I've got a special interest in legislative policy, agricultural law and health law”

-Alyssa Healy '10 Applied Philosophy, will graduate from Drake University's Juris Doctorate Program in May 2015

What can I do with a philosophy major (applied and traditional)?

Philosophy provides all students with a necessary skill-set to succeed in a wide variety of careers: critical and analytical thinking, argumentative writing and detailed reading comprehension. This fact is supported by standardized testing such as the LSAT, GRE and GMAT, where, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education, Philosophy majors score significantly higher.  The Law School Admissions Council shows that, with the exception of Physics and Mathematics majors, Philosophy student scores surpass those of all other majors on the LSAT.  The Guide to the Graduate Record Exam states that students studying Philosophy have the highest mean scores on the Verbal and Analytical Writing sections of the GRE. Similarly, the Graduate Management Admissions Council reports that Philosophy better preps students for the GMAT than even a degree in business.  Simpson’s Philosophy department has a strong record of sending its students to excellent law, medical, and graduate schools, often with full scholarships.  A Philosophy major will get you started regardless of your career intent.

Generally, career options after graduation may include:


  • Business Administration
  • Government (congressional staff member, federal agencies, government analyst)
  • Law: Attorney in a variety of specializations
  • Medicine (with a double major in the Natural Science)
  • Journalism

Postgraduate Opportunities:

  • Law School
  • Medical School (with a double major in the sciences)
  • Graduate school in philosophy, public policy, public administration, psychology, and environmental science.

Can I major in philosophy and have a minor with a concentration in ethics or can I have an applied philosophy major and a philosophy minor? 

No.  You must choose one program in the department.

Who would benefit from an applied philosophy major?

The Applied Philosophy major is designed for many different types of students.  Most of our students study applied philosophy in conjunction with another major, such as:  biology, psychology, political science, criminal justice, mathematics, and environmental science. More specifically, you would likely enjoy an Applied Philosophy Major if you are interested in:

  • studying philosophy as it relates to key questions in another field (for example, pre-medicine, criminal justice, environmental science, or psychology)
  • exploring classic philosophical questions in relation to current issues
  • learning how to apply the tools of philosophical analysis to better understand and resolve issues in contemporary society.

How has studying Applied Philosophy and Philosophy impacted our alumni?

Please read our Alumni News page to see the stories of current graduates!