Can I get a job?

Philosophy is one of the most versatile majors when it comes to possible career choices. Majoring in philosophy indicates to future employers or graduate schools that the student can grapple with complex and difficult ideas, can write cogently, and most importantly can think clearly and creatively. Thus majoring in philosophy makes available a variety of future possibilities, including

  • Professional studies (in Law, Medicine, the ministry);
  • Other career opportunities (in civil rights, ecology, business, etc.);
  • Graduate study in philosophy or related disciplines (e.g., religious studies, women's studies, critical theory, literary or film theory, etc.).


A survey for the New York Times in 1997 of philosophy graduates from 20 years earlier reported on their success and the importance of their philosophy degrees.  The Times article (see the link here) said:

  • "Philosophy majors in the class of 1977 have spent the last two decades building striking resumes - just not in philosophy."
  • "Their professional success may stem from the fact that philosophy students seem more likely than those with other degrees to attend graduate or professional school."
  • Dr. Joseph P. Brunner, a physician who graduated from Nebraska in philosophy, said that "of all the gifts that his philosophy degree has given him . . . creativity is probably the most important.  Those who majored in science, then headed straight for medical school and years of practice can have a narrow outlook, he said.  'They don't have enough raw data outside their scientific training to provide those insights, those flashes of creativity', he said."
  • Ralph Gilbert 3d, who returned to his family's farm after graduation before becoming a lawyer, "credits philosophy with helping him neither in farming nor law; it has only improved his life.  'I think it influences the way I go about doing things', Mr. Gilbert said.  'I think it's given me a sense of the complications that we face as human beings.  It gives me a sense of the beauty and wonder of life.  It helps me understand people in dire circumstances."


And as a New York Times "The Choice" blog post points out: your college major doesn't determine your future economic success.


Philosophy Graduate School Info

Philosophical Gourmet (Analytic Graduate Programs)

Philosophy Graduate Schools Friendly to Continental Philosophy 


Philosophy in the News

The Stone - An occasional blog at the New York Times featuring "the writing of contemporary philosophers on issues both timely and timeless."  Excellent stuff!

philosophy bites - podcasts of top philosophers interviewed on bite-sized topics.

Philosophy in Tehran (and Beyond) (Inside Higher Ed, 29 September 2010)

The Examined Life, Age 8: Philosophical Reasoning Taught in the Second Grade (NY Times, 8 April 2010)

A Mind for the Arts: Philosopher Denis Dutton Explores the Creative Impulse (Wash Post, 4 February 2009)

The Thinker (Kelly Jolley and the Auburn Philosophy Department) (NY Times, 19 September 2008)

The Actor Daniel Evans Connects Philosophy, Sondheim and Seurat (NY Times, 28 May 2008)

Finding the Meaning of Life (The Post-Standard, 25 May 2008)

In a New Generation of College Students, Many Opt for the Life Examined (NY Times, 6 April 2008)

The Rise in Stock of Philosophy Graduates: "I think, therefore I earn" (The Guardian, 20 November 2007)

Philosophers Find the Degree Pays Off in Life and in Work (NY Times, 26 December 1997)


Philosophy in the News Parodies


Bank Of America Introduces New Existential Rewards Credit Card Program (The Onion, 21 March 2014)

Reclusive 'Terrence Malick Of The Beltway' To Release First New Law In 20 Years (The Onion, 9 February 2013)  (Terrence Malick, the filmmaker, studied philosophy at Harvard and Oxford before turning to film.)

Personal Philosophy Stolen From Martin Luther King, Jr. (The Onion, 31 August 2011)

Dr. Ratliff's Philosophy 101 class finally cracked the mind-body problem. (The Onion, 22 May 2011)

Tyler Hansbrough Staying In School To Take This One Awesome Philosophy Class (The Onion, 1 May 2008)

Tibetan Teen Getting Into Western Philosophy (The Onion, 20 October 2004)