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Careers in Philosophy

As a liberal arts program, a B.A. in Philosophy will provide a foundation of skills and abilities for a number of career paths. Philosophy impresses its object – a love of wisdom – on its students, instilling them with an insatiable curiosity and a love of intellectual activity that make philosophy students valuable in the professional workplace. Graduates of this program should be able to recognize and apply logic to make a strong argument, provide critical analysis, and understand how philosophical concepts influence and structure today's world.

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Useful Skills within the Philosophy Field
  • Writing and Authoring - Composing and communicating your ideas in written form.
  • Instructing - Teaching others how to do something.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Listening - Paying attention to what other people are saying and taking time to understand the points being made.
  • Reading Comprehension - Ability to understand complex written paragraphs, instructions, or reports.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of the reactions of others and understanding why they react the way they do.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Negotiation - Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.
  • Mathematics - Using mathematics and statistics to solve problems.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
  • Operations Analysis - Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.
Career Options

To identify what education or training is typical for careers within the philosophy field, use the O*Net hyperlinks below and click on “Job Zone.”

As with all majors, the education you receive serves as a foundation of knowledge that prepares you for what you may face in the professional world. The career field you chose may require additional education or experience.

Getting Started: Internships

Gaining real life experience is an ideal way to start a new career. The career services website has an extensive list of internships and fellowships. Browse through the internships organized by interest or by federal program.

There are government-organized internship programs which provide students or recent graduates the opportunity to gain real-life experience. Many require students to maintain either a half-time or full-time student status. The best ways to identify potential opportunities such as these is to contact branch offices directly, search USAJobs.gov, and look at the agencies’ career portals. Keep in mind that these positions are not always posted online, so direct contact with the agency is key.

Pathways

The Pathways Program is a federal initiative that offers internship programs for current students and training and career development opportunities for recent graduates. Recent graduates must apply within two years of degree or certificate completion (except for veterans, due to their military service obligation, will have up to six years to apply).The internship program for current students replaces the former Student Career Experience Program (SCEP) and Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP).

The Presidential Management Fellows Program (PMF)

PMF is designed to attract to federal service outstanding men and women from a wide variety of academic disciplines who have a clear interest in, and commitment to, a career in the analysis and management of public policies and programs. To be eligible for nomination, an individual must be a graduate student completing or expected to complete, during the current academic year, an advanced degree from a qualifying college or university.

The Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP)

WRP is coordinated by the Office of Disability Employment Policy and the U.S. Department of Defense, and aims to provide summer work experience, and in some cases full-time employment, to college students with disabilities. The program develops partnerships with other federal agencies, each of whom makes a commitment to provide summer jobs and a staff recruiter. Each year, recruiters interview about 1,500 students with disabilities at college and university campuses across the nation, and develop a database listing the qualifications of each student.

Getting Hired: Government Agencies, Organizations, and Search Engines

There are several government agencies and organizations that seek candidates with degrees in philosophy. The list below provides a few examples of federal agencies and organizations where degree holders might find employment.

While many of the major job search engines will have several positions to choose from, those listed below are specific to the philosophy field.

Keeping Current: Professional Organizations and Associations

Involvement in professional organizations is a great way to stay up-to-date on new technology, tools, and best practices in your field. Professional organizations are also a great networking opportunity. Below are a few professional organizations you may be interested in as a philosophy major.

Conferences and Expositions
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