Questions about Philosophy majors

I’ve been reading this board for about a month now, and to me, this board distinguishes itself from other boards in that most posters on this board are actually able to express ideas in coherent sentences, which is a good thing. Furthermore most people seem to be pretty level-headed, and come from many, many walks of life.
Now, to the meat of it, I am a second year at UC Davis, and I recently decided to double major with Philosophy as my second major. My questions are to those who have majors in Philosophy or just anyone who knows anything about it.
What have many of you Philo majors gone to do later in life?
Will having a Philo major under your belt make you more appealing to most companies when it comes time to do job searching?
And…, just any general tips about Philosophy, Philosophy majors, and the like.
Thanks to all who respond ^_^.

Well, with a B.A. in Philosophy, I was easily able to land a job working maintenance on a golf course. (Of course, I had worked for the Greenskeeper when I was just out of high school, before I entered college, so he was not hiring an unknown quantity.)

I suppose I should add that I later got a job in retail management (which I hated), picked up a tech certificate in computer programming, and then went out and found a job that would pay the bills.

Joan Rivers majored in Philosophy, for whatever that may be worth.

One of my friends had a BA in Philosophy. He went on to grad school in history, dropped out, worked a few crappy jobs and is now making a fairly good go at being an accountant.

I get the impression from him that philosophy is not a bad thing to have when you want to do something else. It won’t make yourself any more hireable, but at least you’ll be able to put things in the proper context when they happen. :wink:

My philosophy major enabled me to land a perfectly good part-time retail job – but to be fair, I was a total screw-up in college and ended up with crappy grades. Then I went to law school.

The philosophy major is like just about any major in the humanities – it doesn’t really qualify you for any specific job, but if you have good grades and other interesting things on your resume, it is not a barrier to jobs that might otherwise be filled by a history major or an english major.


If you do a philosophy major, do it only for yourself. As Cliffy remarked, it probably won’t give you an edge over other humanities majors (though it might make you stick out a little from the others). It is great for general education and for exercising your argumentative skills. The job market for professional philosophy is mostly research, though.

Since you mentioned it would be your second major, it seems a good idea if you are really interested in the subject. Your first major should help you find a job, then your second can be for fun.

Heh, that’s more or less what my Philosophy major is to me, simply something I’m doing because I enjoy Philosophy. Oddly enough, my first major is actually Electrical Engineering, so yeah. So no one who’s pursued Philosophy in grad school? No one who took Philosophy for their undergrad and went on to pursue something else for grad school?

Most people who know me on these boards know I am a prof. at a small Liberal Arts College. I majored in Environmental Psychology and minored in Philosophy for my B.A. I went on to Graduate School and got my Master’s and PhD in Environmental Psychology and the whole time minored in Philosophy.

Philosophy as you are well aware is for those of us who want to know the probable "Why’s" to some of lifes more challenging questions. It is the pursuit of wisdom.

Unless you are planning a career in academia philosophy as a major may not get you to where you’d like to be. Postulating that you’d like to have a good paying job, and the ability to support your basic needs, majoring in philosophy in my opinion will only allow you to attain those goals if you are getting paid for it correct? Teaching philosophy would be a good honest way to do this.

After Grad school I knew what I wanted to do, I wanted to teach. I loved college and loved the learning environment. Lucky for me I knew of a position at my alma mater that was coming up not too far after I finished defending my dissertation. I applied and got the job…After much flying from Arizona (ASU) to Hartford…

It’s been 7 years and I am married and loving life at the moment. I teach my passion psychology, and I occasionally philosophize with students and faculty about the finer points of this large rock we live on.

If you have more pointed questions feel free to email me, or post back.

I’m a recent grad who did Philosophy as a second major, but I don’t expect it to ever make me more attractive to any company. The corporate world is not particularly interested in such things.

In a few weeks I’m beginning my first real post-grad job, as a conversational English teacher overseas. That’s just one of many jobs where a BA is a requirement, but they don’t really care what field the degree was in.

I graduated with a BA in philosophy in 2000. Since then, I temped for two years, and now work for the ambulance service planning ambulance routes.

As others say - generally if you study philosophy it’s because you’re genuinely interested in the subject and not because of the job you’ll get at the end. However, you can say that studying philosophy helps you develop problem-solving skills and the ability to parse complex ideas.

My classmates have gone on to either do further study or to careers in journalism, academia, the civil service, and others.

I have a B.A. in Philosophy–not only was it a subject that fascinated me, it was a recommended major for law school. I ended up teaching high school for several years before going on to law school and I think my philosophy background helped me with teaching as well.

I would love to continue with the study of philosphy, but just reading it doesn’t quite do it for me. The school I went to was very discussion based, and I miss discussing the concepts. Oh, to be able to be a full time student again!

I’ll not say this was my primary motivation, but I was so accustomed to being in College and used to the sights, sounds, smells, etc…etc… that I made it my career. I’d venture to say most academians are not only in it to mold the great minds of the future, but because they like the atmosphere. Being a Prof has allowed me to explore things I normally would not be able to had I taken the blue pill, and gone down a different road. Things like publishing, lecturing are things in my life I value. I learn copious amounts of information from my students, I only hope at the end of the day they take the knowledge I inpart on them and put it to a good use.

Steve Martin has a BA in Philosophy.

I’m majoring in Chemical Engineering and Philosophy. Both of them for fun actually, but I have higher hopes ofthe Chem E degree resulting in a job that I can live off of.

I also have a BA in philosophy and a JD. Philosophy is a good major for law school. I’m not sure what a JD is good for though :frowning:

A good friend of mine majored in Philosophy and Physics. He went on to law school and is now a DA. Go figure :slight_smile:

According to one of my former profs, (in Canada at least) large companies these days like to hire people with advanced degrees in philosophy because they tend to have excellent writing, communication, and problem-solving skills. However, I’m guessing that this would translate into a job in middle-management, and I think there might be easier ways to get a job in middle-management than getting an advanced philosophy degree.

I took my BA in philosophy in 1985. I did it because it was the only thing that was truly interesting to me. Currently I am employed as the claims manager at a TPA doing workers’ compensation. The best thing that degree did for me it that it taught me how to write clearly, convincingly, and to defend the position at hand (you may wonder if this is a case in point). This, I think, is why it is helpful to potential law students. However, it was only the fact that I have a degree that got me my current job; it could have been in underwater basket weaving, for all they cared.

First, as another college prof chiming in, I concur with a lot of what’s been said: Major in what you enjoy.

Hear, hear! When I’m asked why I chose to go into academia despite the relatively low pay (compared to petroleum jobs, for example) and difficulty finding a tenure-track position (it took two “visiting” gigs before I finally landed one), I answer that it’s quite simple–I just decided that I loved college so much that I never wanted to leave!