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Careers for Philosophy Majors

The long-term career opportunities for philosophy majors are almost limitless. Philosophy majors tend to have excellent critical-thinking, writing, and communication skills, and these skills usually help them excel at their chosen career, even if these careers are unrelated to philosophy. For some inspiration on what you can do with a philosophy degree, see the American Philosophical Association's page titled, "Who studies philosophy?" or take a look at their poster.

However, some people have personal restrictions that restrict the employment opportunities that they are likely to be happy with accepting. These restrictions include, but are not limited to, a desire to live in a specific city, work in a particular industry, earn a certain salary, or perform a specific job function. If they only have a bachelor's degree in philosophy, it can be difficult for them to find employment opportunities that satisfy these restrictions. Therefore, if you are looking for the maximum flexibility in employment opportunities immediately after graduating, it is recommended that you pursue a double major or minor in another discipline, develop additional skills, acquire additional domain knowledge, and make connections with people outside of philosophy.

It is important for you to be realistic about which employment opportunities you are likely to be happy with immediately after college and research whether and how a philosophy degree will prepare you for it. There are many roles (e.g., software engineer) for which the skills that you obtain from doing philosophy can help you excel in long-term but are insufficient for you to easily obtain immediately after graduating, so you should probably prepare accordingly based on your research.

Majors and Skills#

A full list of majors and minors listed at the USC Catalogue. In the Catalogue Navigation on the left, click Programs, Minors, and Certificates.

Below is a table with possible additional major/minors and their potential career opportunities. This table is work-in-progress and feedback is welcome.

Major/MinorCareer Opportunities
Technology-focused programs such as applied mathematics, computer science, computer engineering, computer programming, computational linguistics, computational neuroscience, and ITP minorsMost roles at tech companies such as software engineer, software development, product management, product design, technical writer
Natural science programs such as biology, chemistry, biochemistry, biophysics, human biology, neuroscience, and physicsCareers in medicine, healthcare, scientific research such as physician, physician's assistant, scientific research, and public policy
Social science programs such as American studies, anthropology, economics, history, political science, and sociologyCareers in law, public policy, and business
Business programs such as accounting, business administration, consumer behavior, finance, marketing, and real estateCareers in business such as accounting, finance, marketing, management, and real estate
Literary arts such as classics, creative writing, English, and narrative studiesMostly the same as just a philosophy major

Resources#

Skills#

  • LinkedIn Learning (formerly lynda.com, free for USC students) - an online training provider offering more than 8,200 video and audio courses on a broad range of business, technology, design and engineering and creative topics.

Employment Opportunities#

Ideas#

  • 80,000 Hours - a website with ideas on how to find high-impact employment opportunities

Salary Information#

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