Maybe it was against the more practical advice of your parents, friends, or mentors. Maybe you took an undergrad course and felt you had finally figured out your true passion in life. Regardless of what led you to it, you now have an undergraduate major in philosophy and you're faced with the ultimate question every college graduate faces: what next?
Luckily for you, even though philosophy isn't necessarily a practical major that leads directly to a clear employment path, a bachelor's degree in philosophy actually gives you many marketable skills.
A major in philosophy can help you do many things extremely well. Remember all of those essays and books philosophers you read and analyzed? Reading critically is a highly marketable skill. Employers often look for people who can read critically over anyone else, because that isn't something they want to spend time training.
What about all of those analysis papers you wrote? Excellent writing is another skill employers look for in college graduates. As a philosophy major, you probably also spent a considerable amount of time discussing, debating and arguing, right? This may come as a surprise to you, but students in your generation fear public speaking more than they fear death.
Those countless hours you spent debating and discussing give you a major advantage when it comes to jobs that require good public speaking skills, not to mention you are probably good at coming up with ideas for what to say without much preparation.
This can be an invaluable skill in many professions. Philosophy majors are also extremely well-versed in logic and ethics, making them excellent problem solvers.
How do all of these wonderful skills translate into actual careers? There are plenty of careers out there that use some or all of these skills. Journalism, for example, is a very lucrative career that requires you to read, write, think, and speak critically.
Philosophy majors would be especially good at writing critical articles such as book reviews or film reviews. Similarly, freelance writing might be a great career for a philosophy major. If writing is your strong suit and you love having flexible hours, freelance writing is definitely a viable option.
A person who majored in philosophy might also enjoy a career in government. Whether holding an office or writing speeches for an official, government jobs require critical reading, writing, and speaking as well as ethics and problem solving - all skills of the philosophy major.
If you prefer the business side of things, the skills you were taught in your undergraduate program can come in handy as a manager or administrator of a company. Finally, philosophers generally make great salespeople of any kind. If you can use logic to argue and persuade, sales and marketing might be for you.
Possible Further Education
There are also plenty of careers for philosophy majors that require some extra education. Luckily, philosophy majors rank first on the verbal GRE test, a test for graduate programs such as English, second on the GMAT, a test for graduate level business programs, and third in performance on the LSAT, a test for law school.
From here, people with a bachelor's degree can go on to become English professors or teachers, business administrators, and lawyers. Of course, it is also a feasible option to go on to obtain a master's degree or PhD in philosophy and become a philosophy professor, just like the ones that inspired you.
While many people might scoff at your decision to major in philosophy, rest assured that you have many options for careers and further education based on the skills you are provided during your undergraduate experience.