David Hume, Librarian
Most people who major in philosophy do not become professional philosophers, just as most people who major in history, sociology and economics do not become historians, sociologists or economists. They have these majors because they enjoy the fields, want to know more about them, and hope that their major will somehow prepare them for the future.
While there may be no guarantees in life, we can play the odds, and philosophy is one of the best majors for getting a good career. Philosophy majors may open businesses. They may become novelists. Many go on to further education in professional schools such as medical or law school. Some go into politics. In general, they successfully find employment in any number of areas in the private and the public sectors. Statistically they do better than business majors and nearly all other humanities and social science majors. They have skills and attitudes that are very much in demand.
Philosophy and Salaries: In an interview with Forbes, "For starting salaries, engineering and things like nursing are pretty strong," says Dr. Al Lee, director of quantitative analysis at PayScale.com. "But the list reorders further into people's careers. Music doesn't pay very well, however the top 10% earns more than the average accountant. If you looked at the pay of people 15 years out, philosophy is actually in the top 10%." According to the Wall Street Journal, Philosophy B.A.’s have the highest percentage salary increase from starting pay to mid-career pay: 103.5% (tied with Math).
Philosophy and Law:
American Bar Association “does not recommend any undergraduate
majors or group of courses to prepare for a legal education.” And
yet many associated with the law have thought philosophy a
particularly good major for the study of law. The ABA's website
mentions a variety of important skills and values that are valuable
for those thinking of going into law. Many of these skills and
values are central to a philosophical education and others are
certainly consistent with such an education.
In a more recent study by Michael Nieswiadomy, for major fields with at least 1,900 students taking the LSAT, the average 2007-2008 scores were as follows.
Why study philosophy? Here are a number of articles from distinguished newspapers and magazines.