From Wendy Turgeon, Ph.D., Chair of the Philosophy Department.
Many students contemplating a major in philosophy may wonder, along with their parents, “What can I do with a degree in philosophy?” My first advice would be to not assume that your undergraduate education has to be geared directly to a specific career.
Although there are majors needed for future careers — for example: accounting, nursing, or computer programming — ideally, your liberal arts education should prepare you to flourish in a range of career options. After all, most adults today change careers a number of times throughout their professional lives. Most businesses and graduate programs are looking for individuals with a breadth of knowledge, good writing and communication skills, and a keen ability to creatively solve problems. Professional programs like law, medicine, and business are particularly interested in philosophy majors as the focus on philosophy connotes a dedication to critical thinking and problem solving. At St. Joseph’s College, a major in philosophy and religious studies can prepare students to excel in all of these important professional/life skills.
However, you may still want some guidelines as to where the next step might be. The American Philosophical Association, the main professional organization for philosophers, has a number of publications which address career options as alternatives to teaching philosophy in college, such as Philosophy: a Brief Guide for Undergraduates.
Although this essay is addressed to those with a Ph.D. in Philosophy, there is helpful advice for those who are completed an undergraduate degree in philosophy but who choose not to go on for doctoral studies.