What Can You Do With a Philosophy Degree? [2021 Guide]

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If you’re intrigued by the idea of studying philosophy, you might be asking, “What can you do with a philosophy degree?”

What Can You Do With a Philosophy Degree

A philosophy degree program opens doors to a vast tradition of cultural inquiry. It offers the intrinsic rewards that come with probing mankind’s most enduring questions about ethics, metaphysics, and the nature of knowledge and truth.

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Philosophy majors can develop critical thinking and communication skills that are a valuable commodity in today’s highly collaborative workplaces.

What Can You Do with a Philosophy Degree?

Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy

A philosophy degree does not necessarily put you on a direct path to a specific career, but philosophy majors can develop many valuable, transferable job skills.

A philosophy degree does align quite well with some careers, though, such as teaching, writing, law, and religious studies, for example. Some careers require additional qualifications, such as advanced degrees or professional licensing, but these investments can lead to rewarding opportunities. Lawyers and writers enjoy intellectually stimulating careers that often offer good pay as well.

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Philosophy majors who don’t pursue an advanced degree can still acquire versatile skills that can be applied to a variety of jobs. Some graduates pursue teaching licensure and go on to teach high school students, while others pursue careers as copywriters, news analysts, or public relations specialists.

5 Things You Can Do with a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy

bachelors in philosophy

A bachelors in philosophy can be a useful stepping stone toward careers in law, criminal justice, divinity, public policy, and more.

Getting a BA in Philosophy can help you develop your reading, analysis, and communication skills. These versatile skill sets are valued by many employers, so they could help you pursue truly diverse career options. A bachelors can also help you create a foundation for graduate studies and advanced, specialized training.

1. Lawyer

Philosophy is a popular major for those who want to pursue law school. Philosophy majors develop strong analytical reasoning and argumentation skills, the kinds of skills that are valuable in law school.

Both philosophy majors and law students are likely to grapple with principles of ethics and justice and to skillfully employ persuasive rhetoric.

2. Author or Journalist

Author or Journalist

Philosophy students explore and probe a range of ethical, moral, social, and metaphysical questions and concepts. The ability to investigate and analyze intriguing, universal topics could help some philosophy majors succeed as authors or journalists.

3. Postsecondary Teacher

If you decide to go on to get advanced degrees in philosophy, you might want to pursue a career in academic research, academic publishing, and postsecondary teaching.

Postsecondary teachers typically spend many hours researching, engaging in academic writing, and teaching introductory or more advanced courses.

4. Clergy

Public Policy Analyst

Getting a degree in philosophy can be a natural stepping stone toward graduate study in religious studies and divinity.

Those who earn advanced degrees in religion or divinity may go on to work in church administration. They may also pursue leadership positions as pastors, youth leaders, or religious activities leaders.

5. Public Policy Analyst

As a philosophy major, you could have the opportunity to choose a concentration in political philosophy, political economy, or social justice.

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Your specialized training could help prepare you for a political science graduate program and public policy work. Political scientists and public policy leaders typically apply verbal analysis and critical thinking skills used in the study of philosophy.

Philosophy Major Careers and Salaries

Philosophy Major Careers and Salaries

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are many different careers that can benefit from philosophy majors’ critical thinking, analytical thinking, argumentation, and communication skills.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers $141,490
Postsecondary Philosophy and Religion Teachers $76,160
Social and Community Service Managers $69,600
Writers and Authors $67,120
Market Research Analysts $65,810
Human Resources Specialists $63,490
Public Relations Specialists $62,810
Paralegals and Legal Assistants $52,920
Clergy $51,940
News Analysts, Reporters, and Journalists $49,300

The skills you can develop while earning a BA in Philosophy are likely to prove highly versatile. Depending on the career path, additional education or specialized training may be required.

Skills for Philosophy Majors

Philosophy Majors skills

In addition to exploring many universal human topics, philosophy majors can also develop many useful skills they are applicable in a range of career roles.

  • Critical thinking skills. These kinds of skills help you recognize flawed logic and assumptions, call out fallacies in other people’s arguments, and see questions from different angles and perspectives. Critical thinking methods can also help you effectively construct or deconstruct arguments using fundamental concepts in logic, such as deductive vs. inductive reasoning.
  • Communication skills. As you think critically about how facts and arguments are presented and organized, you can also develop strong and nuanced written and verbal communication skills.
  • Analysis skills. Since philosophy texts tend to be exacting and complex, philosophy majors tend to learn sophisticated textual and logical analysis skills.
  • Self-directed work habits. Getting a philosophy degree requires long hours of independent study and a commitment to exhaustive inquiry and analysis. Through this type of program, you may develop study habits that require self-discipline and the ability to complete tasks with minimal outside supervision and direction.

Philosophy majors are highly respected in university settings. They have the chance to develop rigorous study habits and apply critical reading, analysis, and communication skills with exceptional levels of objectivity and sophistication.

What Is a Philosophy Bachelors Degree?

Philosophy Bachelors Degree

A bachelors in philosophy is an undergraduate degree awarded to philosophy majors. Students getting a BA in Philosophy typically take introductory survey courses in both western and eastern philosophy.

You can learn about dominant schools of philosophical doctrine and about key features of historical development related to ancient and modern philosophy. Key branches of philosophical inquiry include ethics and moral thought, metaphysics, epistemology, politics, and logic.

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A bachelors program in philosophy can help you develop versatile skill sets that are applicable to a range of industries. It can also act as an educational foundation for further studies.

What Do Philosophers Do for a Living?

philosophy majors career path

A natural career path for philosophy majors is to go on to earn a professional law degree. Lawyers often analyze and synthesize written laws and caselaw when developing legal strategies or presenting legal arguments.

Some philosophy majors go on to earn advanced degrees in philosophy or a related field. They may use their critical thinking, written communication, and verbal reasoning skills to become university lecturers or academic researchers and writers.

With the right preparation and qualifications, philosophy majors can go on to pursue further study or career training in a range of industries. Some pursue divinity programs and church ministry, public policy research and advocacy, education, journalism, and business.

How Much Does a Philosopher Make?

Philosopher salary

How much a philosophy professional makes can depend on their qualifications—such as their work experience and level of education—and other situational factors, such as their industry.

That said, philosophers typically apply their transferable skills in any number of roles. For example, they may work as nonprofit leaders, policy analysts, paralegals or legal researchers, lawyers, teachers, authors, marketing managers, or human resources specialists.

The median salary for human resources specialists is $63,490, and writers and authors make a median of $67,120, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Public relations specialists make a median salary of $62,810 each year, and the median for social and community service managers is $69,600 (Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Are There Any High Paying Jobs for Philosophy Majors?

High Paying Jobs for Philosophy Majors

Since philosophy majors often develop useful, versatile, and in-demand job skills, many do move on to enjoy high-paying jobs in law, academia, or business, for example.

If equipped with the right qualifications, philosophy majors might go on to pursue lucrative careers as college professors, lawyers, or political scientists. Others may even work in management positions. The median salary for marketing managers is $142,170 each year, and the median for top executives is $107,680 (Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Why Major in Philosophy?

Major in Philosophy

A philosophy major can help you develop in-demand critical thinking, analytical, and communication skill sets. These skills can be valuable in a variety of sectors, such as law, education, business, religion, and public policy.

Studying philosophy can be an opportunity to probe universal truths and questions and to study philosophical doctrines and traditions. This kind of intellectual exploration and discovery can be intellectually rewarding in its own right, but it can also provide you with intellectual depth and transferrable skills.

Who Hires Philosophy Majors?

Philosophy degree programs can help you develop soft skills that are likely to be valued by many employers. These soft skills include critical thinking as well as the ability to quickly absorb and apply new information, to analyze complex policies and debates, to apply sound logic, and to write clearly and persuasively.

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Professionals in the field work in many sectors. With the necessary training or credentials, they may work as legal assistants, analysts in public administration, public policy researchers, or even teachers. Others pursue work in public affairs, writing, publishing, and marketing.

Is a Bachelors in Philosophy Degree Worth It?

Yes, a bachelors in philosophy degree is worth it for many professionals. Professionals who earn philosophy degrees are often able to apply sound logic, construct complex, objective arguments, and quickly absorb, evaluate, and synthesize new information.

In today’s information age, the skills that philosophy majors develop can be highly valuable in a range of industries, such as law, education, public policy, marketing, or publishing. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 9% job growth for management occupations and 14% job growth for media and communication positions over the next ten years.

Getting Your Bachelor of Philosophy Degree Online

Bachelor of Philosophy Degree Online

If you respect thinkers such as Socrates and Aristotle for valuing the pursuit of knowledge, you might be interested in honing your own critical thinking skills by majoring in philosophy online.

Online programs are often known for their flexibility and convenience, and they can often enable you to balance your academic pursuits with your other life responsibilities. An online bachelors in philosophy can help prepare you to enter the workforce, or it can act as a solid, educational foundation for further studies in a specialized track, such as furthering your studies in an online philosophy masters degree program, for example.

So, why not start your pursuit of knowledge today?

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Keith Nickolaus
WRITTEN BY
Keith Nickolaus
Keith has a Ph.D. and a M.A. in Comparative Literature from the University of California - Berkeley and a B.A. in Literature from the University of California - Santa Cruz. A retired educator, Keith lives in Berkeley and researches and writes about trends in education leadership, innovation, and policy.