Who Studies Philosophy

This is a common question. Having no obvious career path, philosophy majors are often put this question by genuinely puzzled family and friends. A student majoring in nursing, say, or marketing is unlikely to ever hear this question. It's similar to being asked, "What will you do with a philosophy degree?"

open book on library table

Given the foundational, rigorous, and creative nature of philosophy, philosophy majors are found in nearly any career one can think to name, from the obvious (Academic Arts and Sciences, Ethics Boards, Academic Administration, etc.) to the surprising (Business, Entertainment, Music, and even Sports.)

So the correct answer to the question, "What will you do with a philosophy degree?" is, "well, anything I like."

Worried family and friends won't find that answer particularly reassuring, but what they perhaps miss is that those pursuing narrowly vocational degrees face their own challenges. Will there be any jobs for them in the sole career for which they've trained when they graduate? And will they even be happy doing what they've trained to do? After all, people do tend to change careers time and again over the course of a life-time, which should give those who see college as just a kind of vocational training pause.

Further, philosophy majors are in very good company. One could just as well be asked,

What will you do with a degree in mathematics?
What will you do with a physics degree?
What will you do with a theater degree?
What will you do with a degree in English Literature?
What will you do with a chemistry degree?
What will you do with a Spanish degree?

Such is the challenge in majoring in virtually any of the Liberal Arts and Sciences. Be that as it may, many have accepted the challenge and gone on to extraordinary careers.