What can I do with a philosophy degree?

What can I do with a philosophy degree?

Philosophy graduates are naturally suited to careers in research or politics. They may also seek jobs in charity work or publishing, or decide to train as lawyers.

Philosophy students tend to have an inquisitive nature, and are willing to question just about anything and everything.

They are naturally suited to careers in research or politics. Plenty of philosophy graduates go on to work with charities, and publishing is also a popular choice.

This guide should help you think about the skills you have, the jobs they can be applied to, and the options available. You can also find out about the areas philosophy graduates are interested in working in, and the types of job they are typically working in six months after graduation.

Skills for your CV

You will have the following skills and abilities:

  • logical and analytical thinking and reasoning
  • problem solving
  • written and oral communication – presentation of ideas and information
  • able to interpret, condense and clarify information
  • a significant amount of creativity
  • able to formulate your own opinions and defend them in debate
  • curiosity, and lateral thinking
  • the ability to interpret and analyse a variety of different information
  • a willingness to debate any point

Job roles and career areas you could work in

With further qualifications or training, philosophy graduates could be well suited to the following job roles:

What do philosophy graduates go on to do?

Here’s what philosophy graduates who finished their degrees in 2016 were doing six months after graduating, according to the What do graduates do? report published in 2017.

Destination Percentage
Full-time employment in the UK 40.8
Part-time employment in the UK 10.6
Working overseas 2.5
Working and studying 6.8
Further study 26.1
Unemployed 6.0
Other 7.3

Source: What do graduates do? 2017

Key areas of employment for fresh philosophy graduates

These are the top five areas of work taken up by 2016 philosophy graduates six months after graduation, according to the 2017 What do graduates do? report.

Areas of employment Percentage
Business, HR and finance professionals 16.5
Retail, catering, waiting and bar staff 16.4
Marketing, PR and sales professionals 13.0
Clerical, secretarial and numerical clerks 9.7
Other occupations 9.1

Source: What do graduates do? 2017

Which careers attract history and philosophy students?

Charity and not-for-profit was the most popular career choice for students of history and philosophy identified by a 2017 survey of more than 60,000 undergraduates carried out by trendence UK, a partner of TARGETjobs’ parent company GTI. Over a tenth (12%) of history and philosophy students who participated in the survey said they were interested in this area. The most popular careers for students of history and philosophy were as follows:

Career Percentage
Charity and not-for-profit 12% expressed an interest
Public sector 9
Law – Barristers 8
Law – Solicitors 7

Source: trendence UK Graduate Study 2017

Famous people with philosophy degrees

If none of these career paths are up your street, there are plenty of other options available. Take a leaf from the following philosophy graduates:

  • Ricky Gervais – the comedian and actor studied at University College London.
  • Jack Gleeson – decided to quit professional acting and attend Trinity College Dublin, after his character Joffrey Baratheon was killed on Game of Thrones.
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