"The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters" Francisco Goya
Careers for Philosophers
The skills and training which you will receive as a philosophy major or minor are valuable in many careers. The major or minor serves as evidence to prospective employers or graduate schools that you will be capable of creative and analytical thinking, and proficient in research, reasoning, problem-solving, and verbal and written communication.
The Practical Value of Philosophy
Philosophy majors perform exceptionally well on the entrance tests required by grad schools and professional programs.
On the verbal portion of the GRE, Philosophy majors typically out-perform all other majors. On the quantitative portion, philosophy majors alone among the humanities majors score higher than average.
"A survey of the GRE, LSAT, and GMAT tests showed that philosophy majors performed substantially better than the average (5% or more) on each of the tests surveyed. Not one of the other groups of majors shows this consistent pattern -- not even mathematics or the physical sciences, whose majors did exceptionally well in three of the four areas but did only marginally better than average on the verbal portion of the GRE."
On the LSAT, Philosophy majors perform significantly better than all other humanities majors
"On the LSAT and GMAT tests (tests which few students would think to prepare for by studying Socrates and Kant), philosophy majors performed substantially better than majors in any other humanities field, better than all social science majors except economics, better than all natural science majors except mathematics, and better than all business and applied fields."
On the GMAT, they perform better than business majors.
"On the verbal portion of the GRE, philosophy majors out-performed all other majors. On the quantitative portion of the GRE, philosophy majors alone among the humanities majors scored higher than average, and they did better than all social sciences except economics"
(Quotes are from the FIU Philosophy Program Undergraduate Advising Guide, which in turn adapted this information from the Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association v. 59 (1986); and v. 66 (1992.)
The philosophy major provides an excellent basis for a graduate degree in many other fields, such as English, Literature, History, Humanities, Computer Science, Natural Sciences, Mathematics, and Business; as well as in Law and Medicine.
In addition, philosophy majors and minors have successfully transferred their philosophic backgrounds and skills to a host of careers, some of which are listed below (this list is adapted from the one in Handbook For Undergraduate Majors of the Department of Philosophy, Indiana University, which in turn used files from the American Philosophical Association).
Employers regard as highly desirable the skills of communication, general problem solving, power of persuasion, and good writing that the study of philosophy develops.
Philosophers are currently employed in the following careers and professions:
- Business: Executive, Management and Consultant positions
- Computing: Computer systems Analyst, Consultant, and
- Education (Non-teaching): Archivist, College President, Dean, Educational Tester, Humanities Bibliographer, Provost, Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs, etc.
- Finance & Banking
- Government, federal: Congressional Staff Member, Diplomat, Policy Analyst Policy and Planning Consultant, United Nations Official, etc.
- Government, state/local: Director, Human Services Agency, County Commissioner, County Supervisor
- Journalism: Freelance Writer, Executive Editor (magazine)
- Law: Attorney; Coordinator, Criminal Justice Program; Director of Communications, Legal Researcher, Officer, Legal Aid Society; Paralegal Assistant, etc.
- Medicine: Hospital Administrator, Nurse, Nursing Administrator, Physician
- Publishing: Director, University Press: Editor, University Press; Publishing Consultant
- Religious Ministry
- Research: Business, Educational, Governmental
- Technical Writing
- Higher mid-career salary