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What is Philosophy?

Philosophy is the study of the most fundamental questions that arise in our reflection on ourselves and our place in the natural world. Most students who major in philosophy study it for its intrinsic interest. Nonetheless, relatively few people become professional or academic philosophers. For most of us, our professional lives are spent in other endeavors. The aim of this handbook is to help you think about the relation between your degree in philosophy and getting a job or planning a career (or life) after graduation, and to help you to prepare intelligently for it.

Types of Postgraduate Career Paths Open to Philosophy Majors:

After receiving your degree, you can either pursue further formal education, or look for work immediately. Using this choice as the first branching of a decision tree, we can represent the possible options in the following table.

Postgraduation Choices
Further EducationEmployment
GraduateProfessionalPublicPrivate

Philosophy

Related discipline

Law

Medicine

Journalism

Business

Teaching

Civil Service

Politics/public service

Self-employed

Other employed

Of course, the table is necessarily incomplete at the bottom, since there are going to be many more branches at each of the four main sub-branches, and more for each of the branches of these. But this gives you a map of the basic options to be thinking about.

-Careers in Philosophy, University of Florida

 Last Published 3/10/11