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Philosophy Degree Overview
A degree in philosophy prepares individuals with a variety of skills that are applicable in research as well as a daily work environment. Philosophy is the love of wisdom; it is the study of the pursuit of knowledge. Philosophers undertake the challenge to identify and answer life's most difficult questions through analytical assessment and argument. A philosophy student learns to apply the understanding and reasoning in proposing ideas, communicating thought, and applying reason. Degrees in philosophy can be obtained from the associate level to the doctoral, though the most common degree pursued is a bachelor's.
Skills obtained through philosophical analysis include:
- Critical Thinking
- Argument and Rhetoric
- Information Management
Best Philosophy Degree
For students considering a degree in philosophy, it is vital to your success to understand your degree options. When searching for a degree in philosophy, take the time to create a personal priority list. A priority list with your objectives and career goals is far better than some media publication pushing a rakings report to sell magazine subscriptions. A priority list can be created by utilizing the set of questions found on pages three and four of our Complete Guide to the College Admissions Process. The list of undergraduate and graduate degree options include the following:
Bachelor Degree in Philosophy
A bachelor’s degree in philosophy is most often conferred as a Bachelor of Arts (BA). Philosophy degrees online or in class can be earned from accredited colleges and universities around the country. Bachelor degree programs are 4-year programs for full-time students and longer for part-time students based on course load and pace. Online bachelor degrees in philosophy and their on-site counterpart blend general education courses such as communications, psychology, art, history, statistics, and creative writing with core classes. Core classes in philosophy will vary from school to school but will generally include similar courses. Classes may include: information literacy, cultural studies, literature, logic, world philosophy, symbolic language, ethics, epistemology, critical reasoning, metaphysics, and philosophical theories.
Master Degree in Philosophy
Master’s degrees in philosophy are 2-3 year programs for full-time students. Online master’s degrees are conferred as a Master of Arts (MA) given the curricular design of the programs. Students in a graduate degree in philosophy will typically have the opportunity to craft a series of elective classes after meeting the core course requirements. Core courses will generally include upper-level classes in history of philosophy, critical thinking, ethics, philosophy of religion, theory of knowledge, philosophy of mind, modern language, metaphysics, science of philosophy, meaning & reference, theories of justice, international relations, political thought, moral psychology, normative ethics, law, punishment & responsibility, action theory, ethical theory, modern logic, and freedom & determinism. The MA program will typically culminate with a capstone course and an advisor-approved thesis project.
Doctorate Degree in Philosophy
Doctorate degrees in philosophy are conferred as a PhD and found in the course catalog as a Doctor of Philosophy. A PhD degree is considered a terminal degree in the academia world as there are no additional degrees beyond the doctorate degree. Doctoral degrees in philosophy are research-latent program with curriculum that is typically created jointly by academic advisors and students. PhD programs will take 3-5 years to complete on a full-time basis. The culmination of a PhD degree in philosophy is the creation, writing, editing, and defending of a dissertation. A dissertation is designed to help extend the knowledge-base in the field of study.
Career Outlook for Philosophers
A bachelor's degree in philosophy does not designate an individual as a philosopher, though it does prepare individuals for a variety of career opportunities and post-graduate studies. This is not to say a philosophy student cannot pursue higher level philosophy degrees, or a career in philosophy, but rather that most philosophy majors choose alternate education and career paths once they complete their bachelor's degree. A higher level degree in philosophy opens up teaching opportunities. Individual's pursuing post-graduate education can enter variety of fields, such as law, journalism, politics and medicine.
Careers available to a philosophy major include:
- Business Administration
- Human Resources
- Public Relations
- Literary Editing
There is no average salary available for philosophy majors as the career options are highly varied. A degree in philosophy is considered one of the best in regards to a liberal arts education. The skills provided are invaluable in a multitude of fields. Students interested in a degree in philosophy may also wish to consider a degree in ethics, logic, and liberal arts. Outside academia, you can research the American Philosophical Association (APA) to learn more about the industry and vocational possibilities.