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Philosophy & Graduate Studies

Philosophy and Graduate Studies

The study of Philosophy at BYU is excellent preparation for graduate and pre-professional studies in a variety of areas. Depending on one’s area of interest, many students choose to major in Philosophy in addition to another major.

Philosophy and Law School/LSAT Performance

Philosophy majors scored sixth best in terms of LSAT and GPA scores. They were also admitted to law school at a higher percent than any other major — 75 percent, according to an analysis of data provided by Muller. Muller collected data for the 2013 applicants and matriculants to law school. He said applicants self-identified in one of 142 majors. Muller analyzed the median LSAT scores and median GPA scores. 1

Philosophy and Business School/GMAT Performance

According to a five-year study (2004–2009) by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), the average GMAT score for philosophy majors was higher than that of any business major (management, finance, accounting, information systems, marketing, etc.). Outside of students who majored in the natural sciences or engineering, philosophy majors had either the first or second highest average score on the GMAT for each year. 2

Philosophy and Graduate School/GRE Performance

According to an ETS (Educational Testing Service) study of GRE scores from 2005 to 2008, students intending to study philosophy in graduate school

  • had the highest average verbal score compared to all other students.
  • had the highest average analytic writing score compared to all other students.
  • had a higher average quantitative score than all students intending to study humanities, education, life sciences, and social science (excepting economics) in graduate school. 3

Philosophy and Medical School

Although the AAMC (American Association of Medical Colleges) no longer makes public its major-specific statistics, studies from 1998 and 2001 showed philosophy majors had a higher rate of acceptance to medical school than most other majors. 4 Other studies of science versus nonscience majors show that majoring in science does not improve performance in medical school compared with those who complete their premed courses while majoring in a non- science discipline. 5 As AAMC President and CEO (and former philosophy major) Darrell Kirch, MD, recently urged: “Given the increasing number and complexity of ethical issues we face, might we be more encouraging of students who major in the humanities, philosophy, or even religion and want to join our ranks?” 6


2. See the gmac publication Profile of gmat Candidates, 2004–05 to 2008–09, available at

3. See the ets publication Guide to the Use of Scores 2009–10, available at

4. See Jung, Paul, “Major Anxiety.” The New Physician. September 2000. See also Medical School Admissions Requirements for 2000–01.

5. See, for example, David P. Yens and Barry Stimmel, “Science Versus Nonscience Undergraduate Studies for Medical School: A Study of Nine Classes.” Journal of Medical Education. June 1982. See also Judith Anderson Koening, “Comparison of Medical School Performances and Career Plans of Students with Broad and with Science-focused Premedical Preparation.” Academic Medicine. March 1992.

6. See Kirch, Darrell G., “A Word from the President: The gateway to being a doctor: rethinking premedical education.” AAMC Reporter. April 2008, available at