When you are thinking about pursuing a graduate degree, you also think of how it would look and what you would be required to do to graduate. In most cases, you would be able to access study curriculum and see what courses and projects you would need to cover. However, when it comes to studying philosophy to the US, the whole process of learning may be full of surprises. Moreover, many prospective students do not even consider an opportunity to study philosophy, because they think that it is neither fashionable nor profitable.
What to Expect When Studying Philosophy in the US?
Actually, most students who enroll in undergraduate courses and become college students for the first time have difficulties choosing their major. They decide to take some general courses such as math and science before they can decide what focus they want to make in their studies. It takes time and effort to decide that a student wants to specialize in philosophy. Most colleges have great philosophy programs, but the number of students who enroll in them is lower than, for example, in economics or finance. This is probably because most learners do not even imagine what they will have to do in these programs. This is why they cannot understand that philosophy is the best field for them.
Students from abroad often wonder what it will feel like being a philosophy learner in the US. On the one hand, the history of philosophy in Asia and Europe covers much longer periods than it is in the U.S. On the other hand, the system of education in the US is quite different from that in other countries and continents. Therefore, the process of studying philosophy in the US for many foreign students remains a huge puzzle, until they decide to enroll in any US-based program.
If you decide to study philosophy in the US, you will have to be ready to spend at least four years there. It will take you at least four years to complete a Bachelor’s, or a Master’s and PhD degree in this field. At the same time, remember that most undergraduate philosophy courses further combine with other courses and programs. Therefore, even if you major in philosophy, you may want to minor in any other field, such as economics or religion. It is a great thing to become a philosophy student in the US, because you will not need to study too many courses. If you choose philosophy as your minor, then you will not even need to have excellent grades. An average “C” will be enough to enroll in any of these programs. However, you will also benefit from pursuing a minor in philosophy, because it will add credibility to your major, no matter what you choose. For example, if you study law and also get a minor in philosophy, you will be able to enroll in a post-graduate program and eventually become an educator.
In addition, you will have to get some background in philosophy. That means that you will have to complete some basic philosophy classes or programs before you are eligible for a minor or major in philosophy in the US. In most schools, you will have to earn at least a “C” in all major and minor courses, including symbolic logic, philosophy, ancient philosophy, epistemology, and so on. You may also need to complete a foreign language course. You will also be free to engage in other classes or subjects such as ethics, logic, or law. Here, a note should be made about writing. Much writing – this is what you should expect when studying philosophy in the US. Most schools focus their philosophy programs on writing, so you will have to write large and small papers every semester. It is quite likely that you will have to write a mid-course paper. You will also have to write some kind of graduation project. During exams, you will be expected to answer a series of questions, which may require a lot of writing or may be structured as multiple-choice. Being a philosophy student is a challenging endeavor, and you should be ready to show your rigor and determination in oral and written philosophic discussions. You will need to translate your in-depth revelations into comprehensive and fascinating writing.
Obtaining a degree in philosophy in the US is not only about writing. You will have to spend a great deal of time participating in online or live classroom discussions. You will need to discuss numerous questions that concern the modern world. You will need to raise new questions and be ready to answer them. In many respects, it is these live discussions that draw students to philosophy programs and give them a sense of growth, satisfaction, and self-development as they progress through different courses and classes. Students in philosophy courses have enough opportunities to rethink the most conventional problems facing the world. They may need to discuss issues such as the reason of God’s existence, the complexity of emotions and the human soul, as well as the ethics and morality of corporate activities. Morality seems to be one of the most interesting and frequently cited reasons for which students choose to learn philosophy in the US.
As a student in philosophy courses, you will have to take some mandatory classes. For example, all philosophy students study epistemology. In other words, you will have to study the meaning of knowledge, the process and evolution of knowledge, the role of expertise, and so on. You will expose yourself to a variety of knowledge and discussion opportunities. You will be able to analyze your most hidden dreams and motivations. For example, you may want to discuss the issue of knowledge development and personal growth from a philosophic perspective. You may want to consider the essence of dreams, what they mean to you, and why at all humans are so prone to dream about their future.
You will engage in numerous debates about what philosophy is and why it matters. As an international student in a philosophy course in the US, you will be most welcome to share your unique cultural perspective on the most problematic philosophic questions. You will be able to study the viewpoints and opinions of the most prominent philosophers from around the globe. You may even have a chance to see them live and discuss their works and achievements personally or in a group setting. As a person who speaks more than one language, you will provide a great insight into how different countries and nations view the most urgent social and cultural issues in the world. You may also have unusual and unique questions that will stir future discussions and make you a better, respected learner. It may happen that the university of your choice will give you teaching assistantship, so that you can share your knowledge of foreign languages with other students and compensate the costs of your study. In any case, you will be welcomed by a faculty of great professors, who will help you obtain your degree on time.