Bachelors In

Philosophy Degrees

The complete guide on what you’ll learn, job prospects, university programs, and saving time and money.
on February 19, 2024

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With a bachelor of arts in philosophy, you’ll gain a well-rounded education that enables you to read, write, reason, and communicate effectively.

Many mistake a goal of a philosophy degree, imagining that graduates will go on to become philosophers. But the reality is that a degree in philosophy prepares graduates for success in a variety of career fields, such as business, law, marketing, and education.

What is a Degree in Philosophy?

You’ll study well-known philosophers and world belief systems with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy. You’ll dissect the works of Socrates, Plato, Nietzsche, Aristotle, Kant, and Marx and study belief systems like Christianity, Taoism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam.

Additionally, you’ll study related topics in philosophy, such as ethics, logic, and politics. You’ll write many argumentative papers, gain a better cultural understanding of world belief systems, and refine your own system of beliefs.

This coursework provides a sound platform for success in a variety of careers. Philosophy students often go on to law school, and they tend to perform better on the LSAT than graduates of other degree programs.

Their training in ethics, logic, and cultural belief systems enables them to succeed in a variety of positions in business, such as marketer or human resource specialist. The biggest benefit of a philosophy degree is that it enables you to craft your own career, entering whatever field most appeals to you.

Recommended Schools

What Courses Would I Take For a Major in Philosophy?

  • Environmental Ethics
  • Political Philosophy
  • Ethics of Health Care
  • Topics in Knowledge, Language, and Logic
  • Social Philosophy
  • Science Technology and Value
  • History of Ethics
  • Philosophy of Human Nature

What Jobs Can You Get with a Degree in Philosophy?

Depending on their focus and interests, philosophy graduates can move into careers in almost any industry, including business, healthcare, education, government, and law. Many businesses simply want to see that in individual has a college degree, and the specific major is less important that the evidence that they were able to dedicate themselves to completing the program.

For this reason, philosophy graduates should have bright careers ahead of them in any industry that has demand for workers.

How Long does it take?

A bachelors in Philosophy will have a typical length of 4 years in a full time schedule. That said, there are many ways to speed up the timeframe by either taking more units via online coursework, community college, or taking free classes at that could transfer to universities in the US.

Online Philosophy Degree

Since philosophy is a theoretical field of study, it is commonly available as an online program offered by many universities. Most online bachelor programs in philosophy require the students to complete 120 credit hours in 4 years to complete their degree.

There are also master’s of philosophy programs that can be completed in 2 years and can have various concentrations including ancient, medieval, modern, and contemporary philosophy.

What Can You Do With a Philosophy Degree?

The word philosophy comes from the Greek language meaning “the love of wisdom”. It refers to studying the fundamentals of knowledge and thinking.

Philosophers try to find questions about existence, language, knowledge, reasoning, mind, morals and values. The term philosophy was initially proposed by Pythagoras, an ancient Greek philosopher. There are common philosophical methods that include posing questions or problems followed by critical discussion, rational argument and systematic presentation.

Philosophy deals with almost all aspects of science and is considered the highest degree of knowledge. This is obvious in the fact that the highest degree that people can earn in all scientific fields (except medicine and theology) is called the Doctor of Philosophy.

Newton’s physics book which was published in 1687 was called Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy. Additionally, philosophy established separate academic disciplines that were initially viewed as part of philosophy including sociology, economics, psychology and linguistics.

What do philosophy students learn?

Studying philosophy aims to provide students with the skills for critical thinking and analysis. It helps the students to communicate their ideas in an organized, clear and logical way in addition to building a framework of ethics and morals.

There are 7 major branches of philosophy that students are normally required to study to earn their degree in philosophy:

  1. Metaphysics: It is the branch of philosophy that studies the nature of existence. This involves the main features of reality including existence, time and the properties of whole things and their parts. They also study the relation between body and mind. Moreover, metaphysics studies processes, events, and causation. There are also sub-branches of Metaphysics:
    1. Cosmology: studying the universe as a whole postulating theories regarding the origin and history of the universe. This branch is closely related to astronomy and physics.
  2. Epistemology is the study of knowledge from the Greek word episteme. This branch focuses on determining the acceptable sources of knowledge for human beings and how far these sources can be considered reliable. Types of knowledge that are considered by epistemologists include perceptual knowledge, a priori reason, memory, intuition, testimony and self-knowledge. This branch focuses on answering questions as to what can be considered as truth. Can any beliefs be justified? Is knowledge defined as justified true belief?
  3. Value theory: It is an important branch of philosophy that focuses on defining and evaluating values as goodness, beauty, ethics, aesthetics, political philosophy, feminist philosophy, philosophy of law and justice.
    1. Ethics: this branch of philosophy aims at setting the references for ethics to determine what is good and bad behavior, what is right and wrong, or what is good and evil.
    2. Aesthetics: studying the reflection of art, culture and nature.
  4. Applied philosophy deals with the application of philosophy including political philosophy, philosophy of science and logic.
  5. History of philosophy: the history of philosophy can be divided into several periods including Islamic philosophy, western philosophy, Indian philosophy, African philosophy and Indigenous American philosophy.

Students of philosophy can specialize in one of the philosophical schools such as Continental philosophy, Analytical philosophy, Thomism, Asian philosophy, or African philosophy.

Now I’ve got the Philosophy Degree… where can I work after graduating?

Studying philosophy was responsible for the major changes in the world since ancient times. Philosophers are gaining more attention with the rapid changes and developments that take place worldwide.

Many notable philosophy alumni made significant achievements including the former US president Bill Clinton, the novelist Dame Iris Murdoch, writer and political activist Simone de Beauvoir and TV reporter Stone Phillips.

The job market for philosophy graduates is large and includes a wide range of options:

  1. Teaching: philosophy graduates may choose to teach philosophy to high school or university students. Philosophy courses are studied in most of the various study programs in addition to philosophy students.
  2. Philosophy graduates may work in various governmental positions in local, state and federal authorities.
  3. Public policy professions and public relations: philosophy students have unique negotiation and argument skills. They can also participate in setting the policies for various organizations and authorities.
  4. Various careers: philosophy students can work in business, journalism, or law among other professions.

Should I Choose a Philosophy Degree for me?

If you tend to question the beliefs that people trust, the source of these beliefs and whether they should be changed or not, if you have concerns regarding the fairness of laws and the policy to set these laws then you should probably study philosophy.

Studying is always a good choice even if you are not interested in pursuing a philosophy-related career since it will help you develop skills that are valuable to everybody:

  1. Reasoning and logic skills: these are the most important skills developed by philosophy students which put them in an important position when making important decisions for organizations.
  2. Argumentative skills: you will have the skills for making rational arguments to defend your views. This is important for politicians, people working in business, or regular people in daily life.
  3. Philosophers have special analysis skills to search for the reasons, intents or motives of people, organizations or laws. This can be a great advantage when dealing with people in your community.

Recommended Schools

Best Jobs for Philosophy Degrees

Graduates from philosophy programs are not resigned to a specific career field like those in accounting, architecture, engineering, or other specialty programs. Instead, they can find work in any field that interests them.

Some go on to earn graduate degrees to work as lawyers or educators, but others find careers in marketing, human resources, advocacy, journalism, or hospitality with only a bachelor’s degree.

How to save time and money

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About the Author
Grant founded with a purpose-driven mission: make college accessible and affordable for everyone. After graduating college with an overwhelming amount of debt, he was determined to change how students embark on their education. He's a frequent speaker and author in higher education, and has been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg Businessweek, Business Insider, American Express, AOL, MSN, Thrive Global, Reader's Digest, Inside Higher Ed, Evolllution, EducationDive, and nearly 100 radio shows and podcasts.

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