Choosing Philosophy as a major

Senaida asked:


I’m Senaida from Arizona, United States. I’m going back to school as admitted student. I’m considering what major that is possibly the best for me to a pursue degree in the future. So I’m seeking a right career for myself… I have questions to ask you if you don’t mind take your time answer those questions for me. Very basic questions.

What exactly do you do?
What do you like about your job?
What don’t you like?
What are the physical and mental stresses in your job?
Does philosophy prepare you for your career?
What are some values or attitudes needed for the job?
Wht is the work environment like?
What are the typical hours?
What are qualification requirement, including education and training?
Is there a career path in this field? If so, what does it lead to?
Did you take internship? If so, does it benefit you?
What are the opportunities for employment in this field?
Why did you study philosophy?
Are there tests or license needed?

Thank you for your time reading this.


Answer by Geoffrey Klempner

Hi Senaida,

Many of your questions are answered in my blog post, ‘Jobs for Philosophers’:

Philosophy is a terrific qualification for any career. As one commentator on the post noted:

I have a BA with two majors Philosophy and Public Speaking. Over the course of 13 years I have work in Public Education, Government, Health Care, Sales and finally; The Financial Investment Industry. This year I reached the 39% Fed income tax level. My studies in philosophy allow me to think circles around my peers. While most people focus on what and how; Philosophy separates me since I focus on the why.

My job is unusual, in that I am a philosopher by profession although I am not employed in any college or university department of philosophy. I run my own philosophy school, Pathways to Philosophy, founded in 1995 and launched on the web in 1997.

I love my job. I work whatever hours I like, I get to think about philosophical problems all the time. See my letters to students at

The down side is that it doesn’t bring in a lot of money. It seems people are more ready to splash out on a meal in a fancy restaurant than on a philosophy course which will change their life.

The stress of thinking about philosophical problems is not for everybody. One person I met remarked that, “Philosophy takes the roof off”. Can you live with that?

My work environment is my own study, surrounded by computers. But I can get out whenever I like.

To work professionally in philosophy you need a PhD. You start by getting a BA. There is no guarantee of a job at the end because competition is severe. But as I say in my blog post, you can follow any career after you have taken a Philosophy BA.

I haven’t heard of internship in philosophy, although the Pathways mentors who do some of the teaching could be described as interns. That sounds like a good idea, actually :-)

I studied philosophy because I needed to. No-one who has not felt the need for philosophy can understand what that means. You have to be gripped by the problems of philosophy. Are you?

Good luck!


Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.