You can do many things with a major in philosophy!
Philosophy majors develop widely transferable skills, including critical reasoning and critical writing, the ability to solve problems, the facility to communicate clearly and effectively, and the capability to analyze and assess a situation from diverse points of view. These skills are valuable in every profession.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Philosophy majors have a higher average starting salary than any other major in the Humanities. Further, Philosophy and Mathematics majors have higher mid-career salary growth than any other major.
Philosophy majors do exceptionally well on exams for graduate or professional schools. They score higher than any other major on the verbal and analytic writing portions of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE)[PDF] and well above the mean on the quantitative reasoning section. Philosophy majors rank second overall on the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT)[PDF] and third overall on the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT).
Graduates of philosophy programs are employed in many different areas, including:
- Law and public policy
- Computer programming
- Technical writing
- Editing, journalism, and public relations
- Criminal justice
- Higher education
Explore your options
- The University Advising & Career Development Center provides a centralized service to help you plan your career, develop job-search skills, obtain student employment while attending college, and secure a job upon graduation. April Calkovsky and Brad Minton, the Career Coaches responsible for working with majors in Philosophy, are available to meet with you to plot your career path. You can make an appointment with them though Handshake or by calling UACDC at 487-0400.
- TypeFocus offers online personality type and career assessment resources. This service is free to EMU students with access code emu48.
- Handshake, Eastern’s search platform for student employment opportunities, also contains sample résumés and other job search resources.
- O*NET OnLine presents detailed information about different occupations.
- The American Philosophical Association has a guide for undergraduates, which includes a discussion of careers for philosophy majors.
Build your résumé with additional skills
Philosophy majors can increase their ability to land an entry position in their desired field by gaining specific skills needed in that field, such as ability to use a particular software package. You needn't have a technical major to acquire these skills; often these skills can be gained through a small amount of coursework, an internship, a volunteer assignment, or a part-time job. As The Chronicle of Higher Education reports, fields in which basic skills can help you get a foot in the door include:
- IT networking and support
- General business
- Data analysis & management
- Social media
- Computer programming
- Graphic design
Some fields require a graduate degree
Teaching philosophy at the university or community college level generally requires a Ph.D. If you are considering graduate study in philosophy, discuss this option with your philosophy professors and your advisor early in your undergraduate career. See also the American Philosophical Association Guide to Graduate Programs in Philosophy.
Philosophy is one of the most common majors of successful law school applicants. The Political Science Department offers advice to pre-law students, and the American Bar Association also offers advice on preparing for law school and additional resources for pre-law students. Learn about the application process, including the Law School Admissions Test, at the Law School Admissions Council website.