Triple Major in Philosophy, International Relations, Economics?

Hi all.

I’m having trouble settling on a major. International Relations is my primary interest but I plan to go to law school in the future and feel like philosophy would be able to better prepare me for the logical analysis and reasoning required for it (I am also really interested in the subject).

But I also worry about my changing my mind in the middle of college and deciding to not go to law school. Even if I do plan to go to law school I plan to take a few years off in between and getting some practical job experience. For this I don’t think International Relations is a practical enough major to get me a job, so I was thinking of also majoring in either economics or political science to be more marketable.

Would this be doable? Since a lot of the courses overlap? Or am I just being stupid lol
Essentially is international relations marketable though?

It depends on how these programs overlap. For law school purposes, it doesn’t matter too much- just get good grades and prepare for the LSAT.

For employment purposes, econ would help in that it is decently marketable. But if you really don’t like econ, don’t do it just for employment because it can harm your GPA and it won’t be fun spending all this time studying what you don;t like.

A triple major isn’t impossible, but it might be a bit excessive. Prehaps major in 2 and minor in the third. Or major in one and minor in the other 2.

I’m not sure how marketable Int relations is. It depends on your school. Grads from top IR programs such as Georgetowns SFS do well in the job market. Check with your schools’ career services; they probably have data on ‘where grads go’ after graduation.

Good luck!!!

You know, I’ve noticed a lot of students trying to hedge their bets and eliminate all risk from their lives. In some cases, it’s because they don’t know what they want to do next, so they want to major in everything they are interested in so they can delay choosing. In other cases, like this one, it’s because they really want and like X, but they are afraid so they want to try to add Y and Z as well.

Majors, in and of themselves, are not marketable. People - with their skill sets, work histories, and experiences - are what’s marketable. A lot of students expect that if they pick a “marketable” major, the work is done; the major will theoretically lead them forward into everything they need to know for work. You can make yourself appealing as a job candidate with many majors, depending on how you use your summers and your time in college. Conversely, I’ve seen graduates with “marketable” majors flail in the market because they haven’t developed the skills necessary to work in that field.

There’s not any meaningful gap in the marketability or desirability of an international relations major and a political science major. They’re pretty similar majors. And with economics, what’s really appealing there is the quantitative skills - which not all economics majors have in spades and which you can acquire with any major, should you take the right classes.

So if you love international relations, want to go to law school but also want to prepare for jobs, go ahead and major in international relations. But then do other things to help yourself:

-Take classes that have rigorous logical reasoning and analysis requirements
-Take classes that will beef up your writing and research skills
-Figure out what skills are in demand in the market and that line up with your interests, and take classes that help you with those
-Do internships in the summer. Start researching them early; visit career services in the early fall of your sophomore year and go to the career fairs. Some internships (including the most competitive ones) start recruiting as early as late September/early October of the fall before the summer they want interns!
-Open your imagination and don’t limit yourself. People do work in international relations across ALL fields. For example, not all the IR jobs are in federal government. Some state and even local governments (think big cities, like New York or LA) may want IR specialists as well. There are lots of nonprofits, think tanks, and non-governmental organizations that have international missions and would need someone with your skill set. And I mean, just think - any sufficiently large business is doing business in other countries and needs people to help them navigate that. So look far and wide when thinking about internships and other opportunities.

@julliet “Majors, in and of themselves, are not marketable. People - with their skill sets, work histories, and experiences - are what’s marketable.”
This is honestly just beautifully worded.

You will be sacrificing a lot of depth in all of those majors if you try to triple major. What is the point of studying philosophy if your are doing nothing but cranking out papers?

You can put coursework on your CV if you can’t minor or use a concentration. I studied philosophy but added my quant classes to my CV under “other coursework”. It sounds like IR is what you love. Do it and do it well and take as much econ as you can. You can always get a master’s in philosophy later.

Life and learning don’t end after your bachelor’s.

  1. It’s not just about getting majors. It’s about learning something. If you triple major, you won’t be able to take as many classes in any given field. You can explore a field in much greater depth if you only single-major. Think: do you want to be one of the best students in your major, or do you want to be an average student in three majors? By ‘average’ I am not referring to GPA but to skill and ability.

  2. You’ll be able to get to know your professors better if you single major. You’ll also be able to impress them more, which is important for recommendations.

  3. As someone who majored in philosophy, I should clarify that the main benefit of studying philosophy for law school is that it will help you deal with dense and difficult texts and help you understand how ideas hang together. Philosophy doesn’t make people much better at logical analysis–it makes them better at reading philosophical tests and at dissecting and constructing philosophical arguments.

  4. IR can be pretty marketable, e.g. if you want to work in the state department or elsewhere in DC or abroad.

  5. Economics may not be as marketable as you think. Economics is not the same thing as business.

@TheSATTeacher I think philosophy depends heavily on the program. My program focused on logical analysis in particular. Programs with “analytic philosophy” and “analytic tradition” courses will be more focused on formal logic training. It’s worth looking at.

That said, it doesn’t seem that OP’s real passion is philosophy anyway, and it’s a major that is not worth the trouble unless you really love it.

FWIW I went to a pretty analytic school. The sort of logicy stuff learned is pretty irrelevant to law school–I can’t imagine Godel, Tarski, Quine, etc. being helpful outside philosophy.

I find that it’s immensely helpful when managing engineers and analytics projects, personally. I don’t know anything about law, but I think philosophy is a great preparation for analytics. No, you don’t encounter Quine in particular but you do have to think abstractly about how to measure theories of change which is as philosophical or at least abstract problem as any.

That said, OP I believe was looking at philosophy for law school prep and I agree with you that it’s not needed for someone with their goals–at least not as a major.

The beauty of a liberal arts degree is that you can major in something and fill the rest of your schedule with whatever interests you. There is zero reason to triple major.

Look at what the IR major entails at your school. At many, there are lots of economics classes, so you will get that exposure anyway (and load up on more if you like it). Most require FL to a relatively high level. All involve political science and history. My point is that a second major could very easily fall out of the IR major.

Many schools have distribution requirements as well. If you study abroad (great idea for IR majors), you may also be working that in.

In other words, your 4 years will fill up quickly with what you need for your major and to graduate, and a minor or second major could come out of that naturally. Adding philosophy as a major (rather than taking some classes in it) will make your life complicated and will not really add anything for someone evaluating your transcript.

Closing thread. The OP asked this question over a year ago and is long gone. Old threads can be useful for research, but should not be revived.