The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Career Information

If you are wondering whether a philosophy major will be worth your investment, several recent articles answer with a resounding yes. Publications including The Atlantic,, and The Wall Street Journal report that by mid-career, philosophy majors have higher incomes than their peers in the other humanities. Data from PayScale demonstrating a comparatively high return on investment for philosophy majors has appeared in and in the Wall Street Journal. The income data underscores the notion that philosophy majors cultivate major competencies sought by employers and graduate school admissions teams, including critical thinking, communication and problem-solving skills. The striking evidence that philosophy majors excel at these areas lies in their Graduate Record Exam (GRE) verbal and analytical writing scores, which often rank at the top.

Moreover, it is common knowledge that philosophy majors love to learn, and often pursue knowledge throughout their lifetimes. Philosophy majors develop the ability to handle complexity and ambiguity, think creatively, communicate persuasively, and understand the needs of others. Broader avenues to advancement within and across careers speaks to the value of an education in philosophy. In short, philosophy majors develop the types of thinking skills necessary for success well beyond the walls of academia.

Additional information on the benefits of a major in philosophy can be found here.

Career areas for Philosophy Majors:                 




Social/Community Services


-Fund Raising


-Volunteer Coordination

-Grant Writing


-Nonprofit Organizations

-Social Service organizations

-Public interest research groups


-Mental health agencies

-Develop excellent verbal and written communication skills.

-Gain related work experience

-Obtain master’s degree in social work or counseling as well as applicable state licensure for therapy positions.

-Become familiar with grant writing techniques.





-Local churches or synagogues

-District, regional, national, and world denominational


-Religiously affiliated schools, colleges, and universities

-Local, national and international

mission fields

-Religious organizations

Obtain appropriate seminary training for clergy positions.

-Become certified through a denomination for specialized staff positions

-Develop applicable foreign language skills for international mission work.

-Seek leadership positions in campus religious organizations.





-Student Affairs

-Colleges and Universities

-Adult education programs

-Vocational-technical educational programs

-Professional or graduate schools

including medical

-Obtain a doctorate degree for opportunities in teaching and/or research.

-Develop one or more concentrations, such as mathematics, medical or business ethics, science or religion.

-Earn a master’s degree in specialized area (e.g., Library and information Sciences, College Student Personnel, or Counseling)


-Public Policy


-Regional Planning

-City Management


-Foreign Service

-Law Enforcement

-Legislative, Executive, or Judicial


-Program Administration

-Elected or Appointment


-Campaign Management

-Staff Administration

-Special Interest Advocacy

-Federal, state and local government

-Commission on civil rights

-Consumer Product Safety


-Federal Communications


-Foreign Service

-National and State Endowments for the Humanities

-Legislative, executive, or judicial offices

-Political action committees

-Special Interest Groups

-Political Parties

-Campaigns (national, state or local)

-Become familiar with federal, state and local job application processes.

-Develop skills in computers, statistics, and data analysis.

-Acquire a foreign language and travel for international positions.

-Earn a graduate degree in political science of public administration for advancement.









-medical and professional schools

-Colleges and universities

-Consulting services

-Research organizations

-Health science funding agencies

-Environmental agencies


-Obtain Ph. D for most positions

-Participate in related professional organizations.

-Join debate groups.

-Develop excellent research skills

-Hone verbal and written communication skills.



-Law firms


-Federal, state and local government

-Private practice

-Special interest groups



-Obtain law degree

-Develop excellent research and writing skills

-Participate in debate or mock


-Maintain a high grade point average.

-Gain experience through part-

time employment or internships in legal settings.



-Technical Writing



-Public Relations


-Publishing companies

-Magazine and newspaper companies

-Professional and trade


-Advertising agencies and departments

-Electronic media organizations


-Serve on college newspaper staff.

-Develop excellent writing and desktop publishing skills.

-Take courses in journalism,

advertising, public relations, or


-Gain related experience.

-Become a student member of a related professional group.




-Human Resources

-Market Research




-Business firms

-Insurance companies


-Retail stores

-Marketing research departments or organizations.

-Real estate companies.


-Minor in business

-Gain related experience through internships or part-time jobs.

-Obtain leadership role(s) in

campus organization(s).

-Develop computer skills in word processing, database management,

and spreadsheet programs.


For more information on the major in philosophy, you can consult The American Philosophical Association's Brief Guide for Undergraduates.