What Are Some General Considerations with a B.A. In Philosophy?

Understandably, you may be focused on getting your first job after graduation, but here are some reasons for taking a longer view:

A. Vocational training may lead directly to a job, but will it give you the best skills for success and for advancing to leadership roles? Also, bear in mind that in today's marketplace people often change the type of job they do several times during their working lives.

B. None of the traditional liberal arts and sciences (Philosophy, English, History, Art, Physics, Biology, etc.) leads directly to a specific sort of job. What the traditional liberal arts and sciences can do, however, is provide you with a set of skills that will enable you to succeed in many different types of work.

C. Students who major in the traditional liberal arts, such as English, History, and Philosophy, do in fact have excellent records of success in the workplace. Many employers value the broad vision and critical thinking skills characteristic of students who major in these disciplines.

D. The philosophy major is excellent preparation for graduate school. As a group, philosophy majors have a remarkable record of achievement on such standardized tests for graduate school admission as the GRE, LSAT, and GMAT. For more about this, click on: http://www.okstate.edu/artsci/philosophy/page2.html
Also, as a group, philosophy majors are very curious and many of them go on to graduate studies of some kind. The philosophy major is especially good preparation for law school, for seminary, and of course for graduate work in philosophy.

E. Obviously, there is more to life than work. And the value of philosophy goes well beyond its contribution to preparation for a career. Philosophy can deepen one's understanding of many aspects of life. It can enhance one's sense of wonder at many things people tend to take for granted. It can greatly increase one's enjoyment of conversation and discussion. It tends to increase one's self-knowledge. In general, to devote oneself to philosophical studies is to adopt a way of life that involves looking beneath the surface of things, becoming more aware of (a) the assumptions humans tend to make (especially one's own assumptions!), (b) the strengths and weaknesses of various systems of belief, and (c) the connections between disparate fields of thought such as science, morality, and religion.

With their flexible skills, philosophy majors wind up in a wide variety of careers. As noted earlier, philosophy majors often seek advanced degrees, and go on to careers in law, medicine, and higher education. Those who do not hold graduate degrees find work in many different fields such as public school teaching, publishing, sales, youth ministry, university admissions counseling, criminal justice, and various types of managerial work. The excellent skills in communication and problem-solving provided by the study of philosophy greatly increase the likelihood of advancement once one enters any field of work. For more information, try this link: http://web.phil.ufl.edu/ugrad/ugcrhbk.html

In many cases, good students can readily fulfill the requirements of two majors. So, keep in mind that you do not necessarily have to choose between philosophy and some other major. In fact, if you are a serious student, you should strongly consider double-majoring in order to get the most out of your experience at the university. (If it's too late to double-major, you might consider the minor in philosophy.)

It may interest you to know that PHI 4899, the Senior Capstone course, is designed to provide philosophy majors with some vocational direction as well as to help them to organize and integrate the various aspects of their philosophical training.

You owe it to yourself to contact SPU's Center for Career and Calling (SUB 2 nd ). Call 281-2018. The Center for Career and Calling exists to help SPU students make the transition between the university experience and world of work.

Requirements for Philosophy Major
Description and Classes for Philosophy Major
Requirements for Philosophy Minor
Description and Classes for Philosophy Minor
Requirements for Philosophy Double Major
Description and Classes for Philosophy Double Major
Application for the Philosophy Major or Minor (PDF)
What Can You Do With a BA in Philosophy?
From general reflections to concrete possibilities.
Thinking About Graduate School in Philosophy?
Some thoughts to get you started...
Outside links for more information concerning Philosophy 
Philosophy Faculty
Department of Philosophy


  Stephen Layman, Ph.D.
(206) 281-2220

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