University of Vermont

College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Philosophy

Careers for Philosophy Majors

Many undergraduate majors, such as Animal Science, Business Administration, and Civil Engineering, prepare students for clearly defined, easily identified postgraduate careers. A Philosophy major is not like that. Instead of instructing students in competences and techniques that are specific to a particular vocation, philosophy works by developing a more general set of analytic and critical skills, skills developed by having students think hard about issues raised and discussed in classical and contemporary sources. These skills include the abilities to analyze a problem or argument in order to uncover its presuppositions and to determine whether the problem can be solved or whether the argument is sound, and to express one’s findings to others in clear, intelligible language.

These sorts of skills are valuable in a wide variety of real-life situations. As a consequence Philosophy majors are successful in many sorts of post-baccalaureate careers. A few of our majors go on to do graduate work in the discipline; some eventually become professional academic philosophers. But more alumni from our department can be found pursuing careers in law, public service (including political office), medicine, journalism, education, business, religion and many other areas for which clear thinking and an ability to express oneself in writing and speech are essential qualifications.

Last modified January 18 2011 02:41 PM

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