Philosophy attempts to answer the profound and intangible mysteries of being human. If you possess strong critical thinking, reasoning and logic skills, you may be interested in studying philosophy to prepare you for a variety of careers.
Philosophy explores abstract and elusive ideas, using logic and reflection to answer age old questions such as what is the nature of being? what is right and wrong? and why are our morals so important to us?
Many students study philosophy to become philosophers, writers or researchers, but the field actually offers many teachings that can be applied to a wide range of careers. For example, some students major in philosophy in preparation for further education in other fields, such as business or law, which utilize the skills of reasoning, logic, critical thinking and the capacity to analyze complex and abstract information. Others go on to earn a Ph.D. in order to pursue further research or teaching opportunities.
Individuals who plan to study philosophy should have strong debating, organizational and problem-solving skills, good attention to detail and passion for reading and writing.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average annual salary for secondary teachers in May 2010 was $55,990, while postsecondary teachers earned a mean salary of $69,150 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also reports that attorneys earned an average of $129,440 in the same period. Growth in both fields is projected by the BLS over the 2008-2018 decade, with post-secondary teaching jobs increasing by 15% and lawyer jobs growing by 13%.
Philosophy degrees are available through the doctoral level. Common courses in a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy degree program may include reasoning and argumentation, mind and mechanics ethics and existentialism, as well as the study of ancient and modern philosophy. A Master of Philosophy or Ph.D. in Philosophy program will likely include additional research opportunities, as well as courses that further explore symbolic logic, continental philosophy and other topics in value theory. A bachelor's or master's degree in philosophy may allow graduates to become authors or researchers, while a Ph.D. would allow them join the realm of academia.