Philosophy Can Help You to Secure a Satisfying Career

Why Philosophy

Wondering what you can “do” with a major in Philosophy? Wonder no more. (Or rather, keep wondering — that’s an essential part of Philosophy — but not so much about this.)

Check out this article on the Best Careers for Philosophy Majors.

If you are still not convinced, consider this: the study of Philosophy teaches judgment, decision-making, and critical thinking skills that are an asset for advancement in any career. The experts agree:

Want to be Employable? Major in Philosophy! Philosophy is the discipline that teaches you how to think clearly, a skill that pays dividends in any line of work.

If you just love accounting, or engineering, or political science, go ahead and major in one of those subjects, just for the sheer joy of it. But remember, you’ll also have to make a living after you graduate. Let’s face it, you need to be prepared. And there is no better preparation for advancing through a series of fulfilling careers (not being stuck in just one) than to major in Philosophy. That means that you need to major in Philosophy to make sure that you are employable and also able to advance throughout your careers after leaving college. What good is getting a dead-end job you are stuck in? So by all means, go ahead and major in accounting (or whatever…) if you like that. Just don’t sacrifice your future by failing to also major in Philosophy — your economic safety net.

Still worried that majoring in a Liberal Art could hamper your chances for meaningful employment? Think again! Check out The Power of a Liberal Arts major!

Recently, CNN commentator Fareed Zakaria explained to graduating college students the connections between “The Liberal Arts, Careers and the Good Life.” Sadly, some of those students had to wait until they were finished with college to finally gain that critical understanding. You can gain that understanding now while there’s still time to act.

There’s more. Data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency show that Philosophy graduates are in high demand by employers.

Your parents might express worry about your earning potential when you choose Philosophy as a major. But check this out: Philosophy Projected as Top-Paid Class of 2016 Humanities Major. Also, a year-long survey by PayScale Inc. of 1.2 million people with only a bachelor’s degree shows that by mid-career individuals who majored in Philosophy were on average earning more than individuals who majored in most other disciplines, including mechanical, computer, civil, and aerospace engineering, computer science, accounting, business management, information technology, and other so-called “practical” majors. Among non-STEM majors, Philosophy majors had among the highest mid-career salaries. With sincere apologies to Descartes, “I think, therefore I earn.” Contrary to an outdated stereotype that should be put to rest once and for all, Philosophy turns out to be one of the most “practical” majors there is!

The truth is, Philosophy majors are very well prepared to succeed in a range of professions, including Law, Business, and many other professions — including a career in finance and government.

Law: Philosophy majors do exceptionally well on the Law School Aptitude Test (LSAT) as well as in Law School. In fact, for the past few years Philosophy majors have often done better in gaining admissions to law school than hard science, economics, and political science majors. Law professors often recommend Philosophy as the best undergraduate major because it trains students to think analytically. “We’ll teach you law,” a University of Maryland law professor once told his class, “but you’ve got to come here knowing how to think.” This is precisely what Philosophy teaches.

Business: “Most of management theory is inane,” says the founder of a consulting firm in The Management Myth. If you want to succeed in business, don’t get an an M.B.A.. Study Philosophy instead.

The fact is, Philosophy majors do well in business, tending to advance faster into middle and upper management positions than students from most other majors. Private businesses appreciate the ability of Philosophy majors to think independently and imaginatively, and Philosophy majors have been very successful in finding good careers in the private business world. Never underestimate the power of the written word – private businesses and professional schools value the employee or student who is able to write well and clearly, and who understands the subtleties of communication and language. Philosophy majors are particularly aware of the power and uses of language. For careers which require high-level management and other business skills, a great route is a Philosophy undergraduate major followed by an MBA degree. So great is the value of Philosophy for succeeding in business that some M.B.A. programs are now even requiring students to study Ethics, a subdiscipline of Philosophy. Philosophy students also do particularly well on the GMAT, the test used by business school admissions departments. Philosophy majors score higher on the GMAT than anyone but hard science majors.

“Philosophers can easily be rich, if they like, but
their ambition is of another sort.”  – Aristotle

Teaching: Many of our graduates have combined a philosophy major with a major in another field, such as English. They teach their other subject primarily, but teach some philosophy courses as well. Philosophy courses are not yet common in high schools but more and more schools are offering them, and others would do so if they had qualified faculty. Increasing attention is also being given to courses in Critical Thinking, which philosophy graduates are especially well suited to teach. Having a second major in philosophy can therefore be a real plus. Of course, some people will want to pursue a career in philosophy, going on to earn a Ph.D., and then teaching and/or writing and publishing in philosophy. We can help you get into a first-rate graduate program.

Other Professions: Philosophy is an excellent background for government work of all sorts, from intelligence to social service, medical school, journalism, publishing, advertising, religious vocations, and psychological counseling and social work. On the GRE, Philosophy majors have the highest verbal reasoning, analytic writing, and overall scores of all academic majors.

“The mind is not a vessel to be filled;
it is a fire to be kindled.” – Pythagoras

The conclusion is inescapable: The possible vocations for someone with the skills Philosophy teaches – insightful, imaginative, and critical thinking – are virtually endless.