We offer a bachelor's degree in philosophy designed to meet the needs of students who want to pursue graduate study in philosophy leading to a college teaching career or an applied philosophy position. But a bachelor's degree in philosophy is also a popular major for students interested in business, education, government, the non-profit sector, technical writing, the health professions (administrators or practitioners), ethics consulting, the law or religious ministry.
A recent article in Businessweek states: "Forget economics. Philosophy offers a deeper, broader way of thinking to help guide companies through times made tougher by overspecialized experts." The author adds, "The financial and climate crises, global consumption habits, and other 21st-century challenges call for a 'killer app.' I think I've found it: philosophy."
Another article in the New York Times points out that "philosophy is being embraced ... by a new generation of college students who are drawing modern-day lessons from the age-old discipline as they try to make sense of their world, from the morality of the war in Iraq to the latest political scandal." The article quotes David E. Schrader, the executive director of the American Philosophical Association, who said that a philosophy degree "makes sense" in world in which people tend to change careers several times. “It’s a major that helps them become quick learners and gives them strong skills in writing, analysis and critical thinking,” he said.
As a philosophy student you will have many opportunities to develop your critical thinking, problem solving, and communication skills. These are skills that will serve you well in any career you choose. They are skills that impress potential employers when looking at resumes. We know that today, the wise student plans not for one lifetime career but aims for the likelihood of a variety of jobs in a continually changing economy.
Philosophy students tied for second with economics students for top scores on the LSAT. On the GRE philosophy students come in first on both the verbal and analytic scores, and second only to physics on the quantitative scores.
A major in philosophy allows you to explore and reflect on important questions about your self, society, other disciplines, and the world at large. What am I? What makes me and others morally responsible? What does it mean to be a good person and a good citizen? What can science tell us about reality? What is art and what does it mean to be creative?
Whether you become a scientist, an educator, an accountant, a lawyer, or a nurse, becoming philosophical about what you do makes you better at it and come to appreciate it more.
Engage with faculty and other students in interesting discussions about life’s biggest issues. Join the Philosophy Club, participate in our regular Philosophers’ Cafe, or attend our monthly Film and Philosophy screenings.
What kinds of jobs?
Philosophy majors go on to all sorts of careers. Some go to graduate school and become academic philosophers. But many find successful careers in law, business, medical management, education, government, the non-profit sector, technical writing, ethics consulting, or religious ministry. People who have majored in philosophy have gone on to become entrepreneurs, CEOs, doctors, lawyers, judges, politicians, artists, authors and filmmakers.
Find out more about what what people are saying about the benefits of being a philosophy major.
For more information about the field of philosophy and careers for philosophy majors see the American Philosophical Association document "Philosophy: A Brief Guide for Undergraduates."
Hu, W. (2008, April 6). In a New Generation of College Students, Many Opt for the Life Examined. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/06/education/06philosophy.html?_r=1
Seidman, D. (2010, January 12). Philosophy is Back in Business. BusinessWeek: Managing. Retrieved from http://www.businessweek.com/managing/content/jan2010/ca20100110_896657.htm
Famous Philosophy Majors
Here are some occupations with philosophy majors who did quite well.
President of Morgan Stanley (Robert Greenhill)
Founder and Manager of a Hedge-fund (Don Brownstein)
Investor (George Soros)
CEO of Overstock.com (Patrick Byrne)
United States President (Bill Clinton)
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 (George Stephanopoulos, Stone Phillips)
Pulitzer-Prize Winning Author (Studs Terkel)
Host of an Iconic Game Show (Alex Trebek)
Comedian and Television Host (Jay Leno)
Co-founder of Wikipedia (Larry Sanger)
Comedian/Actor/Producer (Ricky Gervais, Woody Allan, Steve Martin)
Award Winning Filmmaker (Ethan Coen, Wes Anderson)
Four-star General in the US Army (Jack Keane)
Co-author of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights (P.C. Chang AND Charles Malik)
Pope (John Paul II AND Benedict XVI)
Seminal Anthropologist (Claude Levi-Strauss)
Composer (Philip Glass)