Why study philosophy?

What kind of a job can you pursue with a philosophy degree?

The answer is, many kinds of jobs. It is a myth that philosophy majors are only cut out to be philosophy professors, as this New York Times article explains. You may be surprised to learn that studying philosophy can give you the sort of outside-the-box thinking skills valued in business, finance and entrepreneurship,  as these articles in the Atlantic, The Guardian, The Huffington Post and Salon report. In fact, some famous and successful business leaders studied philosophy and you will probably recognize a few of the names appearing on this list compiled by Business Insider. Philosophy majors have also gone on to distinguished careers in the arts, government and politics, journalism and sports, as the American Philosophical Association documents.

How much money can philosophy majors make?

It can be challenging to establish your career after college and philosophy majors are no exception to that. However, once philosophy students do find the right fit, they tend to make more money than the standard wisdom would predict! As analysts at FiveThirtyEight report, “When it comes to earnings for people who only have undergraduate degrees, philosophy majors have the fourth-highest median earnings, $81,200 per year, out-ranking business and chemistry majors... Bar none, philosophy majors have the highest salary growth trajectory from entry to mid-career.” The excellent earning potential of an undergraduate degree in philosophy has also been well documented by Payscale, The Wall Street Journaland Yahoo Finance.

Do you want to go to business school, law school, or medical school?

You probably already know that getting your J.D., M.D. or MBA requires admission to a graduate program, which often depends on your score on a standardized test. What you may not know is that philosophy majors tend to earn some of the top scores on those exams. Undergraduates studying philosophy receive some of the highest marks on the LSAT (required for most J.D. programs), as shown by this data from the Law School Admissions Council. Philosophy majors also have the fourth highest scores on the GMAT (required for most MBA programs). Although the MCAT (required for most M.D. programs) does not break down scores by major, the humanities in general make a highly respectable showing, as shown by this data from the Association of American Medical Colleges. If you’re interested in other M.A. or Ph.D. programs, you may need to take the GRE. According to Educational Testing Services, which administers the GRE, philosophy majors receive the highest scores on the verbal and writing portions and do decently on the quantitative portion as well.

Philosophy, diversity and you

Maybe you like the idea of Socrates’ claim that “the unexamined life is not worth living,” but you aren’t sure if philosophy is for you; and maybe that’s because there’s a stereotype that philosophers don’t look like you. It’s true that some philosophers are white guys with beards, but excellent philosophers can be found in all different genders and colors, as you can see for yourself in the What is it Like to be a Philosopher? blog. In fact, philosophy’s transformative power can have some of the most impact on students from underrepresented groups, as this Latina journalist explains on National Public Radio. We believe that philosophy is for everyone. Just as importantly, thinking about mind-blowing topics can be fun, as students interviewed by the New York Times and the University of California, Berkeley report. The best way to know is to try one of our classes and see for yourself!