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Careers for Philosophy Majors

Department of Philosophy

WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH A PHILOSOPHY MAJOR?

Yeah, we know.  You say you're going to major in Philosophy and people say "What are you going to do with that?" It's not enough that you love it, or that you want to ask the deeper questions of life.  Fortunately, there are lots of things you can do with a Philosophy degree in terms of careers, and we have evidence to back up that claim.

Professional Schools 

  • Law School
  • Medical School
  • Graduate School
  • Business School
  • Divinity School

Career Type Information for Philosophy Majors

  • 52% go on to graduate and professional education (law, medicine, academia)
  • 36% take jobs closely related to philosophy
  • 64% take jobs indirectly or unrelated to professional philosophy, including careers such as insurance, stock trading, real estate, sales and business service
  • 30% work in the private, for-profit business realm in executive, administrative, and managerial positions
  • 5% work in communications, including writers, editors, public relations specialists, and broadcasters
    • Source:  The College Majors Handbook (Jist Works Inc.) and CNNMoney.com

Career Finance Information for Philosophy Majors

  • According to the Wall Street Journal, reporting on a year long study of people with only Bachelor's degrees by PayScale, Inc, Philosophy majors tied for first place with Math majors for those degrees that increased in salary the most from starting pay to mid-career pay, at a 103.5% increase.  The median starting salary for Philosophy majors was approximately $40,000 and had increased to a median mid-career salary of $81,200.  And remember, these numbers are for people who had only a BA level degree.

Law School

  • The LSAT is the standardized test that aspirants to law school take and the score on that test is largely responsible for acceptance.   While many academic majors often claim they teach skills that are applicable to the study of law, Philosophy majors not only specialize in such skills but consistently score at the highest levels of LSAT rankings.  This is not surprising since the LSAT measures logical ability, critical thinking, and analytical skills.
  • Philosophy Majors consistently score FIRST of the 12 largest majors entering Law School (majors with over 1900 applicants), tieing with Economics at an average LSAT score of 157.4.
  • Philosophy Majors consistently score SECOND (behind only Math/Physics) of all majors taking the LSAT.
  • For more information, see the following:  LSAT Score Update, Highest and Lowest LSAT majors.

Medical School

  • The MCAT is the standardized test that aspirants to medical school take and the score on that test strongly affects acceptance.  While you may think that science majors always do better on the MCAT and have a higher chance of getting into medical school, this is not the case.  Philosophy majors do very well.
  • According to the American Medical Student Association, Philosophy majors have the HIGHEST medical school acceptance rate of all majors at over 50%.

Graduate School

  • The GRE is the standardized test that aspirants to graduate school take and the score on that test strongly affects acceptance.  While you might not be surprised to discover that Philosophy majors do well on the GRE, you might be surprised to see how well they do.
  • On the Verbal Reasoning portion of the GRE, Philosophy majors score the HIGHEST of all majors, higher even than English and Literature majors.
  • On the Quantitative Reasoning portion of the GRE, Philosophy majors score the HIGHEST of all humanities majors, coming in behind only Math, Physics, Engineering Economics, and Chemistry.
  • On the Analytical Writing portion of the GRE, Philosophy majors score the HIGHEST of all majors.  Source.

Business School

  • The GMAT is the standardized test that aspirants to business school take and the score on that test strongly affects acceptance.  Perhaps surprisingly, Philosophy majors do very well on this test too, consistently scoring higher than economics and business majors.
  • According to the Graduate Management Admissions Council, Philosophy majors score in the 570-580 range, outpacing on average all other majors (not just humanities) except for Math, Physics, and Engineering.

Divinity School

  • Given how strongly they perform on the GRE test, Philosophy majors are also very competitive for Divinity School.  A significant % of Philosophy majors end up working in the clergy or other religious professions.

Millsaps Graduates Careers

  • The information above paints a very positive picture for careers for Philosophy majors, and our own experience with Millsaps Philosophy majors is no exception.
  • Our own majors in the past several years have typically gone to Law School, Graduate School, or chosen government, non-profit, and communications careers.
  • In addition to these areas, graduates have also successfully pursued medical school, high school teaching, real estate investment, computer science and information technology services, hotel/restaurant management, and stock trading.