Why Major in Philosophy?

For questions about the philosophy major/minor, contact Dr. Matthew Braddock, Associate Professor of Philosophy. Email: mbraddo1@utm.edu


Here are five reasons to major (or minor) in philosophy:

Reason #1: Philosophy majors earn good money and get good jobs.

The fact is that philosophy majors make good money. In fact, according to national data compiled by PayScale in 2021, philosophy majors earn more money than the following majors: business, business management, accounting, nursing, biology, education, teacher education, psychology, sociology, criminal justice, english, communication, and all other majors in the humanities (e.g. spanish, history, music, art, etc). These facts are not surprising because the philosophy major equips you with the skills necessary for professional success.


Summary of data (2021) gathered by PayScale for their “2020-2021 College Salary Report”


Wall Street journal recent summary of financial data by major

Reason #2: Philosophy in itself is deeply fulfilling, enjoyable, and meaningful.

If you love big questions, big debates, and want to make better sense of yourself, your world, and what really matters in life, then philosophy is for you.


It is wise to major in something that you enjoy and find fulfilling rather than struggle through a boring major that you don’t like. Why? Because today the clear majority of good jobs simply require a Bachelor’s degree—it usually does not matter what your major is. According to a recent study, only about 25% of college graduates are actually working a job that relates to their major. Instead of your major, employers are much more interested in whether job applicants possess the skills of critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication. The philosophy major effectively cultivates these skills in spades.


Forbes article: “Six Reasons Why Your College Major Doesn’t Matter”


Wall Street Journal article: “Your College Major is a Minor Issue, Employers Say”

Reason #3: The philosophy major helps you master transferable job skills that equip you to succeed at virtually any job.

What can you do with a philosophy degree? Virtually anything you want! Philosophy majors master skills that many employers seek: critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, and persuasive verbal and written communication. (Evidence of this mastery is given by the fact that philosophy majors score higher on graduate-level exams than the vast majority of other majors). Given this skill set, it is no surprise that philosophy majors earn good money, get good jobs, and excel in various careers throughout their lifetime. Common career paths for philosophy majors include jobs in law, business, medicine/health, information technology, government, publishing, religion, education, journalism, and the list goes on.


Washington Post article: “For philosophy majors, the question after graduation is: What next?”

Reason #4: Philosophy majors succeed at getting into graduate school, law school, medical school, seminary, etc.

Philosophy majors get into graduate schools at higher rates and score higher on standardized graduate-level exams (including the GRE, LSAT, MCAT, and GMAT) than the vast majority of other majors. For example, out of all majors, philosophy majors have the highest scores on the GRE and LSAT. This is no surprise because the philosophy major cultivates the skills necessary to excel in graduate school and professional life.


Summary of data

Reason #5: Philosophy helps you live a more reflective, virtuous, and flourishing life.

Philosophy helps you gain an understanding of yourself and your place in the world, helps you figure out what you believe and why you believe it, and helps you figure out what really matters in life and how you should live. The practice of philosophy (e.g. systematic reflection on questions of ethics and value) cultivates your ethical sensitivity, makes you a more intellectually virtuous person (e.g. a fair-minded, courageous person), and thereby helps you to flourish in your professional and personal life as an employee, co-worker, family member, parent, and responsible citizen.


For more information on the benefits of majoring (or minoring) in philosophy, see the useful links here:

Programs of Study

The history and philosophy curricula lie at the heart of a liberal arts education.

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