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AkraticAgent

Aspiring philosophy grad student question

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Hey everyone, I'm a junior at a top 25 liberal arts school. I'm really interested in going to grad school in philosophy and am planning to write my honors thesis on the nature of virtue in Aristotle. I wanted some guidance on future course options that would best suit my career plans. As of now, I have taken 14 classes in philosophy (mostly in moral philosophy and ethics, Kant, science, and logic). In grad school I hope to expand my study of ethics and potentially explore new areas within moral philosophy (moral psychology, meta-ethics, etc.). Now, I have the option of taking an upper-level seminar in Advanced Logic at a top 25 PGR school, where I am studying abroad next semester. At my current school, I have taken elementary and intermediate symbolic logic. However, given my plans of study for grad school, would it make sense to continue studying logic? Don't get me wrong - logic is fun and I enjoy it but I don't think that I will really specialize in it. If I don't take logic, the alternative option is either an upper-division seminar in philosophy of language or perception (which I haven't studied before at all). All things considered, then, would having taken advanced logic be of any particular advantage to me in terms of grad school applications? 

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The advanced logic class probably wouldn't add anything to your app unless you write that you're interested in logics in your statement.

And if you don' take the logic class, the adcoms will still see your app and think: "Okay, so this student has taken logic. Twice." 

Also: take the classes you want to take. Of all the things in an app, the particular spread of classes that you took in college are not going to make or break a decision.

People will probably only pay attention to your particular classes once they're already sold that you're a competitive applicant anyway. Even then, this is probably not where the decision will get made. (At that point it will be about fit with faculty, program, and the other students they're considering admitting.)

Last thing: don't take too much of what I suggest as the law. Adcoms work in mysterious ways and they are all different.

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14 hours ago, AkraticAgent said:

Hey everyone, I'm a junior at a top 25 liberal arts school. I'm really interested in going to grad school in philosophy and am planning to write my honors thesis on the nature of virtue in Aristotle. I wanted some guidance on future course options that would best suit my career plans. As of now, I have taken 14 classes in philosophy (mostly in moral philosophy and ethics, Kant, science, and logic). In grad school I hope to expand my study of ethics and potentially explore new areas within moral philosophy (moral psychology, meta-ethics, etc.). Now, I have the option of taking an upper-level seminar in Advanced Logic at a top 25 PGR school, where I am studying abroad next semester. At my current school, I have taken elementary and intermediate symbolic logic. However, given my plans of study for grad school, would it make sense to continue studying logic? Don't get me wrong - logic is fun and I enjoy it but I don't think that I will really specialize in it. If I don't take logic, the alternative option is either an upper-division seminar in philosophy of language or perception (which I haven't studied before at all). All things considered, then, would having taken advanced logic be of any particular advantage to me in terms of grad school applications? 

One thing to keep in mind with respect to your undergrad transcript is breadth. It sounds like you've already taken plenty of courses in your primary interest (ethics/moral philosophy) and perhaps fewer in other areas, so it might make sense to keep branching out a bit and take another course in an area that is unfamiliar to you (language or perception). This has the advantage of making you more a more well-rounded applicant, and--who knows--you might discover a new interest. Having more options for letter-writers and writing samples is also always good, and in that respect a seminar on language or perception would probably also be the more useful option.

Edited by hector549

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I can only chime in on what the others have already told you. At this point, you're taking classes for your own benefit; there's not really anything strategic you can do with them.

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I would take the philosophy of language class.  Any significant grounding you can get in the major developments in 20th century analytic philosophy is good before grad school, if you are planning to go to an analytic-centered program.  You probably got a bit in the philosophy of science course, but the more the better.

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