Where Can Philosophy Take Me?
Learn How to Think, Not What to Think – Contemplate a Philosophy Major
What do we believe and why do we believe it? Who are we and why are we here? What ought we do and why should we do it? Philosophy encourages critical and systematic inquiry into fundamental questions of right and wrong, truth and falsehood, the meaning of life, and the nature of reality, knowledge and society. More than any other discipline, philosophy explores the core issues of the Western intellectual tradition. Philosophy encourages the student to formulate questions and follow arguments.
Philosophy provides an excellent preparation for law school and other professional programs, as well as a solid foundation for a career in business, teaching, writing, or public service. The Department of Philosophy offers an undergraduate Bachelor of Arts degree and a Doctor of Philosophy graduate degree.
What skills does studying philosophy develop?
- generate ideas on a variety of problems
- formulate and solve problems
- uncover assumptions and suggest alternatives
- ability to distinguish subtle differences without overlooking similarities
- analyze, develop and formulate logical arguments
- capability to make knowledgeable decisions, examining thoroughly the consequences of various actions
- aptitude to examine various angles of topics
- ability to write and speak clearly and effectively
- interpret and assess various thoughts and theories
Philosophy is the ultimate "transferable work skill." With its emphasis on reason and argumentation, philosophy is an excellent preparation for a career in law, religion, business, international diplomacy, social work, medical management or writing as well as post-graduate education. Philosophy majors successfully work in, but are not limited to the following occupational fields:
- public relations director
- retail management
- social worker
- labor relations
- foreign service officer
- public policy
- non-profit work
For more information about careers, go to the following:
- "On the Benefits of a Philosophy Major" (Please and Excuses (blog), 9/6/2012)
- "Where the Smart Students Are" (NYTimes, 8/23/10)
- "Best and Worst Jobs 2010" -- Being a philosopher is #11 (Wall Street Journal, 1/5/10)
- "Philosophy is Back in Business" (Bloomberg, 1/12/10)
- "In a New Generation of College Students, Many Opt for the Life of the Mind" (NY Times, 4/6/08)
- "I think, therefore I earn" (Guardian, 11/20/07)
- "Philosophers Find the Degree Pays Off in Life and Work" (NY Times, 12/26/97)
- GRE Scores by Major (Philosophy #1 in Verbal Reasoning and Analytic Writing)
- LSAT Scores by Major (Legal Blog Watch, 9/09). Past surveys here (07-8) and here (94-5, 91-2)
- American Philosophical Association
- World Wide Learn
- Inside Higher Ed
- Careers in Education
- Scholarships in Education
- American Bar Association -- here and here.
"In assessing a prospective law student's educational qualifications, admissions committees generally consider the chosen curriculum, the grades earned, and the reputation of the colleges attended. They also view favorably scholastic honors, awards, and special recognition. Solid grades in courses such as logic, philosophy, and abstract mathematics are generally considered a plus."
"Contrary to popular belief, law schools do not favor political science, criminal justice, and government majors over others. Choose major and elective courses that you will genuinely enjoy, instead of those you were told were required for pre-law students. You are likely to get better grades in a field you find interesting. And even if you don’t, law schools will respect your pursuit of subjects you find challenging. This is especially true if the courses you take are known to be more difficult, such as philosophy, engineering, and science. Also, look for courses that will strengthen the skills you need in law school. Classes that stress research and writing are excellent preparation for law school, as are courses that teach reasoning and analytical skills. "
- President of Morgan Stanley (Robert Greenhill)
- Founder and Manager of a Hedge-fund (Don Brownstein)
- Investor (George Soros)
- CEO of Overstock.com (Patrick Byrne)
- Supreme Court Justice (Stephen Breyer AND David Souter)
- Mayor of Los Angeles (Richard Riordan)
- US Secretary of Education (William Bennett)
- Prime Minister of Canada (Paul Martin, Jr.)
- Network Television Journalist (Stone Phillips)
- Pulitzer-Prize Winning Author (Studs Terkel)
- Host of an Iconic Game Show (Alex Trebek)
- Co-founder of Wikipedia (Larry Sanger)
- Comedian/Actor/Producer (Ricky Gervais)
- Academy-Award Winning Filmmaker (Ethan Coen)
- Four-star General in the US Army (Jack Keane)
- Fighter in the French Resistance in WWII (Stephane Hessel)
- Co-author of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights (P.C. Chang AND Charles Malik)
- Martyr to German Opposition to Nazism in WWII (Sophie Scholl)
- Pope (John Paul II AND Benedict XVI)
- Seminal Anthropologist (Claude Levi-Strauss)
For more information about career opportunities, contact the UK Career Center.