College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences > Academics > Philosophy > About > Why Study Philosophy?

Why Study Philosophy?

A major in philosophy provides the finest in a liberal arts education. A liberal arts education helps you gain basic skills that are absolutely essential for success in virtually every career path, especially in today's information age. As you think about the career opportunities a philosophy major provides, there are several things to consider:

What skills will I gain?

  • Critical Thinking Skills

    Critical Thinking Skills:

    the ability to identify the key issues in decision-making or problem solving; to identify a general principle that links together related problems, points, data; to define the parameters of a problem.

  • Argument Skills

    Argument Skills:

    the ability to use argumentation techniques to persuade others; to reason from premises to conclusions; to assess the implications of a position which has been taken.

  • Information Management Skills

    Information Management Skills:

    the ability to use argumentation techniques to persuade others; to reason from premises to conclusions; to assess the implications of a position which has been taken.

  • Communication Skills

    Communication Skills:

    the ability to summarize the content of a message clearly and objectively; to differentiate fact from value; to express one's point of view without violating others' rights; and to explain ideas and principles to others.

  • Management and Administration Skills

    Management and Administration Skills:

    the ability to analyze tasks and set priorities; to identify resource materials useful in the solution of a problem.

  • Design and Planning Skills

    Design and Planning Skills:

    the ability to look at a problem from different angles and identify alternative courses of action.

  • Research and Investigation Skills

    Research and Investigation Skills:

    the ability to seek out information; to identify problems and needs; to systematically define a problem; to formulate questions relevant to clarifying a particular problem, topic, or issue.

  • Testing Skills

    LSAT & GRE Testing Skills:

    Did you know that Philosophy majors outperform virtually all other majors on the LSAT and the GRE?

  • Back to top

Median Mid-career Salary for Philosophy

Data collected from the Wall Street Journal.

How are these skills valuable?

These are basic skills—the reasoning, researching, planning, and communication tools you need to successfully communicate, problem-solve, and argue effectively. All employers are looking for people who have these skills and you are more likely to be hired and eventually advance in your career if you possess them. These skills provide you with the ability to learn in a new situation.

These are transferable skills—not job-specific. You can take these skills with you from one setting to another. This is critical, given the latest prediction that in your professional/career lifetime, you can expect to hold 10-12 jobs in three to five different fields. You will be prepared to be a life-long learner both professionally and personally, and help you find personal satisfaction while pursuing just about any area of interest such as reading, writing, sports, gardening, music, chess, and politics.

Back to top

Philosophy Career Options

What are my career options?

Employment settings might include college or university, prisons, hospitals, government agencies (county, state or federal), private companies and in diverse capacities such as personnel, financial aid, or public relations.
Employment settings might include management, sales, consulting public relations, fundraising, systems analysis, advertising and banking.
Employment setting might inlcude federal agencies and bureaus, state and local governments, United Nations and in capacities such as congressional staff member, foreign service, and cultural affairs relations.
An agent or broker might be in your career path.
Employment as a reporter or critic in areas such as books, dance and film, might be in your career path.
Employment areas might include sales, editing, management, freelance, technical writing for a company or government, or script writer.

A philosophy major also provides excellent undergraduate preparation for law school, MBA programs, medical school, and seminary.

On standardized tests for law school (LSAT), philosophy majors rank the third highest in performance (mathematics majors are first followed by economics). On standardized tests for graduate school (GMAT) philosophy majors rank the second highest, preceded by mathematics majors. Philosophy majors rank first on standardized verbal tests for graduate school (GRE/verbal).

The Department highly recommends that you supplement you course work with a Professional Practice/Internship experience to enhance your skills. For more information contact the Philosophy Faculty Advisor.
Back to top