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
(From New York Times, Nov 3, 2017: the point here is to look at the spread. Many STEM majors make no more over a lifetime than some Humanities majors)
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
foreign service officer
For more information about careers, go to the following:
- "Philosophy Majors Make More Money Than Majors in any other Humanities" (Daily Nous Website)
- Forbes Magazine: "Why Your Board Needs A Chief Philosophy Officer" (03/09/18)
- Report on earnings: Humanities Indicators (published 2018)
- "A Wall Street Giant Makes a $75 Million Bet on Academic Philosophy" (New York Times, 01/16/18)
- "Six Myths About Choosing a College Major" (New York Times, 11/03/17)
- CNBC: "Tech has a big talent gap, and companies are hiring philosophy majors" (11/16/17)
- Related: Social Sciences and Modern Business, ReD
- "For philosophy majors, the question after graduation is: What next?" (Washington Post, 6/20/17)
- "Value of Philosophy" (Daily Nous Website)
- "Best Careers for Philosophy Majors" (Bestcolleges.com)
- "Good News Liberal Arts Majors" (Wall Street Journal, 9/11/16)
- "A Harvard Medical School professor makes the case for the liberal arts and philosophy" (Washington Post, 12/24/15)
- "Shine on Medical School Applications Without a Pre-Med Major" (US News and World Report, 8/12/15)
- "If Students Are Smart, They’ll Major in What They Love" (Chronicle of Higher Education, 5/23/15)
- Opposing Poll: American Institutes for Research study shows that a humanities degree does not result in higher career wages.
"NON-SCIENCE MAJORS AND MEDICAL SCHOOL ADMISSIONS: STANDING OUT AMONG THE APPLICANT POOL" (Gap Medics blog post, 1/13/14)
"Be employable, study philosophy" (Salon, 7/1/13)
- "On the Benefits of a Philosophy Major" (Please and Excuses (blog), 9/6/2012)
"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. "
- So what can you do with a philosophy degree? You can become...
- 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.