I think that choosing a degree in the 21st century is harder than ever. As well as many direct challenges (financial hardship, abilities, geographical location, etc), there is also the indirect challenge of choosing the right degree option. I wonder how often we ask the question: “what should I study?” I have been in this situation myself and know exactly how it feels not to know, to be pressured to take the most practical option, or to choose the option that others think is right.
I am writing this blog post as I strongly believe that I have an attractive option for you: consider choosing philosophy at LSE.
Before proceeding with my suggestion, I want to mention two exceptions:
- You shouldn’t just study philosophy because you’re not sure what do to with your life. Instead, take a year or two off. Explore. Go volunteering in places you have never thought of or dreamed about.
- Don’t consider studying philosophy if you know exactly what you want to do. If you want to be a civil engineer, please follow your dreams. If you want to be an architect, I can’t think of any better time to pursue this path.
If the two aforementioned exceptions don’t apply, here are a few reasons I think you should consider doing an MSc degree in the Department of Philosophy here at LSE:
1. Philosophy at LSE is very analytical. It is not the kind of philosophy you would do in a dark room, contemplating concepts, issues and ideas. Philosophy here is directly related to the world we live in and helps to a) understand it, and b) solve the issues that both science and the social sciences cannot solve on their own.
My undergraduate degree was in political science, and while completing these studies, I encountered many beliefs that I was not entirely comfortable with. I believed that economics should be as scientific as possible and didn’t think it could answer questions about the ways our systems ought to work. However, here at LSE I was exposed to the critical examination of positive economics that, even if it didn’t completely answer my questions, opened an exciting world of different perspectives and tools to explore important issues. Moreover, both in daily life and academia, I used to hear that policy decisions should be based on scientific evidence but I was never sure what exactly it meant to apply scientific evidence to public policy making. The course on Scientific Method and Policy gave me the tools necessary to understand and explore this issue to a greater degree. These are just two examples of how enriching my experience at LSE has been.
2. LSE’s Department of Philosophy offers you a wide range of courses that complement each other, and you are given a chance to explore different themes to a greater degree and from different perspectives. Even though it will take me years if not decades to become an expert in a particular field, I feel that I’ve gained a very strong foundation, necessary for acquiring further knowledge.
3. At the same time, the Department is very interdisciplinary. You can study philosophy in combination with economics or public policy or specialise in philosophy of sciences or philosophy of the social sciences.
4. Studying philosophy at LSE is very challenging. Not only because of the coursework, which requires a lot of effort, but also because meeting exceptional individuals with very diverse backgrounds encourages you to work harder. I don’t know what could be more rewarding than having a heated debate about a topic covered in the lecture while relaxing with your course mates after a long day.
5. LSE as a school is pretty competitive. I lie. It is VERY competitive. However within our department, there isn’t a competitive environment. Instead, there is a strong sense of cooperation that results in better understanding of the material and life long friendships.
6. The faculty is just mind blowing. I have never met such extraordinary professors in my life that despite their busyness are eager to work with you, challenge you and constantly help you as long as you are willing to engage in the conversation with them.
7. If you’re still not convinced about studying philosophy at the LSE, according to the research, philosophy graduates are among the most employable graduates at LSE.
8. Last but not least, our philosophy department has a rock band. Where else do you see your professors performing like actual rock stars? They are just great in everything.
Should you have any more questions, please do not hesitate to contact me for further information.
At the meantime, I am going to have a little break (I just finished my classes which is very sad actually), and start writing my summative essays before exams begin.
P.S. If you disagree with some of my claims, it is already a good start to thinking philosophically!