What can I do with a degree in philosophy?
The unique perspective that philosophy offers makes its students potentially fit for any profession.
Philosophy trains its students to question fundamental assumptions, argue logically, and think through issues as comprehensively as possible. In this way, philosophy shapes the way we think and act. It also heightens our sensitivity towards the nuances of life, and enhances our ability to engage with them. The study of philosophy typically cultivates the following abilities:
Ask good questions, think independently, critically, and clearly
Uncover and examine hidden assumptions
Analyse and critically assess arguments
Formulate consistent, coherent, and complex arguments
Conceptualise and articulate difficult issues or abstract ideas
Examine and justify what we believe in or/and what we do
These skills are extremely useful in a broad range of disciplines such as anthropology, biology, business administration, computer science, history, law, literature, media, physics, political science, psychology, religious studies, and sociology. Many philosophy students have benefited from concurrently pursuing another degree in the above disciplines.
Philosophical training equips students with transferable skills that enable them to adapt to changing circumstances of the world. Students of philosophy have successfully navigated in different career paths such as arts, business, computer science, law, medicine, public administration, publishing, writing, and many others.
For information on non-academic career paths for philosophy majors, see the following links taken from the American Philosophical Association:
These websites offer a trove of information about the value of philosophy and the benefits of studying philosophy:
- This free and open-access book, written by a former philosophy professor, provides practical evidence of how a philosophy degree can lead to a rewarding and successful career outside of philosophy.
News articles testify:
- "I Think, Therefore I Earn," Jessica Shepherd, The Guardian, 20 November 2007.
- "In a New Generation of College Students, Many Opted for the Life Examined," Winnie Hu, New York Times, 6 April 2008.
- "Study of Philosophy Makes Gains Despite Economy," Jeff Gammage, The Inquirer, 15 October 2011.
- "Is Philosophy the Most Practical Major?" Edward Tenner, The Atlantic, 16 October 2011.
- "That 'Useless' Liberal Arts Degree Has Become Tech's Hottest Ticket," George Anders, Forbes, August 17 2015.
- "I work therefore I am: why businesses are hiring philosophers," Louise Tickle and Claire Burke, The Guardian, 29 March 2018
- "Philosophy graduates will be in great demand by 2030: Experts," Ralph Alex Arakal, Deccan Chronicle, 7 September 2018.
- "Please, students, take that 'impractical' humanities course. We will all benefit," Ronald J. Daniels, The Washington Post, 14 September 2018.
Other facts about studying philosophy:
Philosophy majors on average outperform all other subject-areas on the three components of the GRE test. Of all subject areas, philosophy has the most students scoring above average:
Philosophy majors on average score highest on the 'verbal' and 'writing' sections of the GRE. They also have the highest average scores among humanities subjects on the 'quantitative' section of the GRE:
GRE scores have consistently shown that philosophy majors:
- had the highest average score on the verbal reasoning and analytical writing sections.
- had the highest quantitative reasoning score of any humanities or arts major.
LSAT scores have consistently shown that philosophy majors:
- had the highest score (tied with Economics) of the 12 largest disciplines of students entering law school.
- had the 2nd highest score (tied with Economics and behind Physics) in a set of 29 discipline groupings of students with similar majors.
- had, by far, the highest score of any majors traditionally associated with pre-law preparation.
Salaries and Earnings:
The below article shows that students majoring in philosophy (with a bachelor's degree) earn more than any other Humanities field in the US:
Image: Visual Capitalist