Have you ever thought about life’s big questions, like: What is the meaning of life? Is there a God? How do we know right from wrong? Pursuing a philosophy degree allows you to explore questions like these in an organized way.
A philosophy degree trains you to think critically, make logical arguments, and explain complicated ideas. You’ll read important writings from thinkers like Plato, Aristotle, and Kant. By reading, discussing, and writing, you’ll learn how to evaluate concepts and explain thoughtful positions on hard topics.
Majoring in philosophy builds your reasoning skills. It also helps you see the world differently. By looking at new perspectives, a philosophy degree grows your creativity, empathy, and independent thinking.
In summary, philosophy degrees teach you to think clearly, argue logically, and communicate complex thoughts. If you like big questions and want to improve your critical thinking, a philosophy degree may be perfect for you. The skills you learn will help you succeed in any career that requires careful thought and clear explanation.
Types of Philosophy Degrees
There are a few different degree options for studying philosophy at the undergraduate and graduate levels:
Bachelor’s in Philosophy
A bachelor’s degree in philosophy provides a broad base of knowledge on philosophical topics, figures, and movements. You’ll take courses in areas like ethics, logic, political theory, and metaphysics. Many philosophy majors pursue a double major or minor in a related field.
Master’s in Philosophy
At the master’s level, you can choose either an MA or MS in Philosophy. These programs allow you to explore philosophical subjects in more depth through advanced coursework, research, and thesis writing. An MA or MS in Philosophy typically takes 2-3 years to complete.
PhD in Philosophy
A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Philosophy is the terminal academic degree in the field. Earning a PhD usually takes 4-6 years of intensive study, research, seminars, comprehensive exams, and a dissertation. The PhD prepares you for a career as a professor, researcher, or scholar of philosophy.
So whether you study philosophy at the bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral level, you’ll build exceptional critical thinking and communication skills.
What are the Branches of Philosophy?
Philosophy covers many topics and areas of study. Here are some of the major branches of philosophy:
- Metaphysics studies the nature of reality and existence. Asks questions like: What things actually exist? Is there a God? Do we have free will?
- Epistemology looks at the origin and limits of human knowledge. Asks questions like, How do we know what we know? What does it mean for a belief to be justified? Can we be certain of anything?
- Logic examines the principles of reasoning and argument. Looks at what makes arguments valid or invalid. Identifies flaws in thinking.
- Ethics considers concepts of right/wrong and good/evil. Looks at how we should live and what is moral. Compares different frameworks on ethics.
- Political Philosophy discusses the purpose and ideal form of government. Considers citizens’ duties and the state’s authority.
- Aesthetics explores the nature of beauty and art. Examines our subjective experiences of the arts and senses.
- Axiology is the overarching study of what humans value, both individually and collectively, in society. It covers moral, aesthetic, and social and political values that guide human thought and behavior.
Philosophers have used logic and insight to illuminate humanity’s deepest questions for thousands of years. Studying philosophy allows you to join this ongoing conversation!
What Can You Do With a Philosophy Degree?
A philosophy degree prepares you for diverse careers by building exceptional critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills. Here are some top jobs and fields open to philosophy grads:
A philosophy degree provides ideal preparation for a career in law. The critical thinking, logical argumentation, and strong reading and writing skills you develop as a philosophy major are central to legal work.
Analyzing complex ideas, identifying flaws in reasoning, constructing airtight arguments, and communicating clearly and precisely are philosophy’s fortés – and exactly what you need to excel in law school and as an attorney.
It’s no wonder many philosophy graduates successfully go on to law school and have fulfilling careers as litigators, corporate lawyers, judges, social justice advocates, and more.
While philosophy may seem an unlikely path to business, studying philosophy actually cultivates the exact abilities needed to thrive across business domains. The rigorous critical thinking and problem-solving skills developed through philosophical analysis strengthen strategic decision-making capacities essential for managerial success.
Philosophy’s emphasis on crafting rational arguments and clearly communicating complex ideas also transfers directly to persuading investors, formulating marketing pitches, and leading teams. With their exceptional analytical, communicative, and leadership talents, philosophy graduates are highly valued in diverse business functions like operations, marketing, human resources, public relations, and executive management.
A philosophy degree opens doors to meaningful careers at all levels of government. Philosophy teaches the careful, rational thinking required to analyze policies, develop legislation, and serve community needs. Philosophy graduates possess the logic and adaptability to excel in local, state, and federal government roles centered on writing impactful policy reports, liaising between agencies, leading community initiatives, or advising elected officials.
With strengths in identifying pragmatic solutions and articulating them persuasively, philosophy majors make natural fits for government work aimed at transforming public systems and improving people’s lives.
For philosophy majors, journalism offers the perfect outlet to inform the public about current events while further honing communication abilities. Through philosophy’s emphasis on crafting air-tight arguments and conveying complex ideas clearly, journalism students gain the investigative rigor, analytical precision, and communication skills crucial for succeeding as reporters, broadcasters, commentators, and editors.
Whether explaining policy developments, contextualizing breaking stories, or interviewing public figures, philosophy graduates have the research tenacity, reasoned perspective, and communication talents needed to produce high-impact journalism across all media formats.
With philosophy’s emphasis on logic, ethical reasoning, and communicating complex concepts, a philosophy degree provides the ultimate foundation for a career in education. As a philosophy major, you’ll develop the perfect skillset for teaching students critical thinking and sound judgment across all academic disciplines.
Philosophy graduates are highly sought after by schools looking for educators who can teach logical reasoning skills, lead ethics discussions, and engage students in profound questions with clarity and compassion.
Whether designing thought-provoking curricula, illuminating philosophical perspectives, or promoting virtues inside and outside the classroom, philosophy majors have tremendous potential to inspire the next generation of thinkers and change-makers.
While not an obvious match at first glance, philosophy equips graduates with the abilities that make for outstanding technologists. Logic, analytical thinking, ethical reasoning, and conceptual precision are all central to fields like software engineering, AI development, cybersecurity, and design.
With expertise in breaking down abstract problems, weighing ethical impacts, prototyping solutions, and conveying complex ideas, technologists need philosophy’s distinctive blend of hard skills and creative insight. By melding abstract reasoning with technical know-how, philosophically-trained technologists bring informed perspective to innovations that shape society’s future in profound ways.
For healthcare careers, few disciplines prepare graduates as effectively as philosophy. Through courses in ethics, logic, epistemology, and metaphysics, philosophy students gain the empathy, analytical skill, and communication clarity that make outstanding physicians, nurses, hospital administrators, and other healthcare professionals.
Whether grappling with end-of-life care concerns, assessing research methodologies, implementing hospital policies, or explaining treatment options, philosophy teaches the compassionate and incisive thinking required in healthcare.
With expertise in navigating ethical gray areas and communicating sensitively, philosophy graduates help drive positive change in hospitals, clinics, research facilities, wellness centers, and anywhere human health is nurtured.
The possibilities are endless! A philosophy degree equips you to excel in any field that values critical analysis, nuanced thinking, and clarity of expression.
Why Major in Philosophy?
Still wondering why study philosophy? Here are some top benefits of majoring in philosophy:
- Develop in-demand skills – Philosophy majors gain transferable skills like analytical thinking, complex problem solving, persuasive communication, and more. These abilities open doors to diverse, lucrative careers.
- Explore profound questions – Dig into life’s biggest mysteries in areas like ethics, human nature, truth, existence, and beauty. Satisfy your curiosity on the deepest questions.
- Become a better thinker – Philosophy requires you to evaluate arguments objectively, identify logical flaws, and reason deductively. This strengthens your thinking capacities.
- Write clearly and concisely – Philosophy necessitates communicating complex ideas persuasively and precisely. You’ll become an excellent writer as a philosophy major.
- Stand out to employers – Philosophy shows you have intellectual depth and versatility. Employers value philosophy majors for their agile yet careful thinking.
- Gain broad knowledge – Philosophy intersects all academic disciplines, from science to politics to art. You’ll acquire broad-based knowledge as a philosophy major.
If you want to understand the world on a deeper level while building in-demand skills, study philosophy! It offers personal, intellectual, and professional rewards. Here’s a video that talks about whether the philosophy degree is worth it:
Philosophy Career Paths & Salaries
Wondering what you can earn with a philosophy degree? Here are some common career paths for philosophy grads along with their median salaries:
Lawyer – $142,000
Political Scientist – $120,000
Market Research Analyst – $67,000
High School Teacher – $59,000
Editor – $64,000
Management Consultant – $135,000
Public Relations Specialist – $58,000
Philosophy majors attain positions across business, law, government, education, and more. With critical thinking abilities sharpened by philosophy, your career options and earning potential expand greatly.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Philosophy Degree
Should I double major in philosophy?
Many students pair philosophy with another major like political science, English, economics, or computer science. Double majoring allows you to gain a breadth of complementary knowledge.
Is it easy to get a job with a philosophy degree?
Absolutely – philosophy teaches transferable skills that employers value across all fields, like analytical thinking, communication clarity, and complex problem solving. Philosophy majors enjoy diverse career options.
Do you need math to study philosophy?
While philosophy cultivates logic and reasoning abilities, advanced math skills are not required. Some specializations like logic use symbolic notations, but math plays a minor role overall in philosophical study.
What jobs can I get with a BA in philosophy?
A philosophy BA equips you for any career requiring critical analysis, persuasion, and clarity of thought and expression – like law, business, government, teaching, writing/journalism, and more. The applications are endless.
Should I get a PhD in philosophy?
Pursuing a PhD makes sense if you want to work as a professor, scholar, or researcher within academic philosophy. For most other careers, a BA or MA in philosophy provides sufficient training.
In summary, a philosophy degree builds in-demand transferable skills that prepare you to excel in any field. If big questions intrigue you, study philosophy to become an incisive thinker and strong communicator!