Discussion

What skills does studying philosophy develop?

Employers seek candidates who have transferable skills, and philosophy provides students with many of these highly sought skills. These include:

  • Effective writing and communication
  • Problem solving
  • Reasoning and argumentation
  • Perceiving patterns and structures
  • The ability to consider multiple points of view
  • Reading and analyzing text and information

Job Outlook 2015 from the National Association of Colleges and Employers finds that employers seek out the following abilities when hiring:

  • Good communication
  • Problem solving
  • Analytical skills
  • Flexibility/adaptability
  • Strategic planning
  • Strong work ethic

These are all skills developed in the process of earning a degree in philosophy.

Major Skill Sets of Philosophers

Intellectual Skills

These include analytical reasoning, problem solving, uncovering assumptions, and synthesizing information. Such skills are absolutely central to the practice of philosophy and are taught in every philosophy course at UAH. Philosophy is not a discipline that focuses on knowing facts but on becoming adept with ideas and reasoning.

Communication Skills

These include both clear and thoughtful writing as well as strong oral communication. Every philosophy class at UAH includes a heavy emphasis on writing and on class discussion. Students learn to express their ideas and to do so in ways that emphasize clarity of argument and expression.

Organizational Skills

These include time management, independence of thought, and taking initiative. Earning a degree in philosophy requires students to complete tasks in a timely fashion while learning to think for themselves. Philosophy classes require consistent effort throughout the semester, so students must learn to manage their work.

Interpersonal Skills

These include an ability to work with others and an ability to be flexible when considering others' ideas. Every philosophy class at UAH includes a large amount of class discussion. Students must learn to express their ideas while being respectful of others. Many classes also include assignments that encourage students to work with one another.

Research Skills

This includes the ability to read and understand material without supervision as well as an ability to find sources of information online or in the library. Before graduating, all UAH philosophy students must successfully complete a research seminar, which challenges students to create a research project and then find material relevant to completing that project.

What can you do with a philosophy degree?

A philosophy degree provides students with a broad set of transferable skills, and having a degree in philosophy does not lock you into a single career path. Because philosophy majors are strong in analyzing and solving problems, they are successful in a wide variety of careers, but some popular jobs for philosophy majors include:

  • Lawyer
  • Ethicist
  • Intelligence analyst
  • Finance/Banking
  • Government Service
  • Teacher
  • Sales representative
  • Software designer
  • Technical writer
  • Clergy

Check out additional information about some of the best careers for Philosophy majors at this link.

The Key to Getting Your First Job is Gaining Experience

Before you graduate, consider a philosophy internship. Such internships may be with law firms or in fields such as intelligence analysis. Early in your studies, take time to talk to a UAH Career Counselor or faculty member in the Philosophy Department about the possibility of internships. The National Association of Colleges and Employers 2014 Internship and Co-op Survey found that "the rate at which employers made full-time offers to their co-op students dramatically and steadily increased from 48.8 percent in 2013 to 56.8 percent in 2014."

Even if you don't wish to do an internship, consider gaining career experience before graduation:

  • Interview or shadow professionals in your field of interest. Become as knowledgeable about the career as you can.
  • Do volunteer work or community service. See what opportunities there are.
  • Find part-time summer work in an area that interests you, and learn what it takes to be successful in that field.
  • Develop leadership skills on campus. Be an officer in the Philosopher's Guild; become a resident assistant; join the Student Government Association; become a peer advisor, tutor, or orientation leader.
  • Develop team skills on campus, especially through student organizations.
  • Find out what professional organizations there are in the fields that interest you. Join them. Interview their members. Make contacts.