Develop critical thinking skills. Explore fundamental questions about reality, knowledge and morality.
What is Philosophy?
The word “philosophy” derives from the Ancient Greek words philo sophia, or “love of wisdom.” Philosophy advances our understanding of ourselves and the nature of reality, mind, knowledge and morality. It deals with fundamental questions about these topics, critically investigating what other disciplines, and other human activities, take for granted.
You’ll have the opportunity to study writings of major western philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, Leibniz, Hume and Kant as well as writings of an increasingly diverse range of more recent contributors to philosophy. You’ll also explore contemporary work on philosophical issues related to logic, language, science, identity, psychology, knowledge, value, law, ethics and justice. And you’ll learn to think critically, constructively and independently about important issues in today’s world.
What Can I Do With My Degree?
An undergraduate major or minor in philosophy provides excellent preparation for:
- Jobs that require critical and constructive thinking, including administration, consulting, editing, journalism, management, public service, research – and business, institutional, nonprofit or political leadership.
- Professional training in fields as diverse as law, library science, management, medicine, nursing and clinical psychology.
- Graduate programs in fields closely related to philosophy, such as computer science and political science.
- Graduate programs in philosophy (which can lead to employment in universities and colleges as well as in corporate, non-profit, and government organizations that require skills of research and analysis that are developed by advanced study in philosophy).
Because today’s world is changing so rapidly, most students will probably have several different kinds of jobs during their working careers, including jobs we can’t even yet imagine. Training for specific jobs in fields in which there may be little demand after ten or twenty years will not serve your long-term interests as well as the transferable knowledge and skills you will develop through the study of philosophy.
Alumni Job Titles
To give you an idea of where your degree can lead, here’s a list of job titles for some of our alumni:
- Estate Planning and Real Estate Attorney, Southern Pines
- Software Development Engineer, Amazon
- Budget Officer, North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts
- Captain, U.S. Marine Corps
- Pediatrics Resident, UNC School of Medicine
- Corporate and Private Equity Attorney, Charlotte
- School Psychologist, Western Carolina University
- Global Business Services Consultant, IBM
- Teacher, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools
- Data Analyst, Blue Cross Blue Shield
- Associate Director, ESPN
- Developer, Thoughtbot
- Psychiatry Resident, Yale School of Medicine
- Software Development Engineer, Amazon
- Special Education Attorney, Philadelphia
Activities and Events
The Practical Value of Philosophy
Studying philosophy opens doors to many different careers. Lawyers, doctors and executives often begin their secondary education by studying philosophy, but it can prepare you for far more. Here are some interesting facts:
- College graduates with a major in philosophy have better long-term salary prospects than those with majors in many other disciplines, including agriculture, biology, business management, chemistry, communication, history, English, psychology, public relations, sociology and spanish. See Philosophy Pays and Salary Increase by Major.
- Philosophy majors in general tend to register higher scores on objective tests such as the GRE (required for admission to graduate school), the LSAT (required for admission to law school), and the GMAT (required for admission to MBA programs). See Value of Philosophy: Charts and Graphs (Daily Nous) and Best Majors for GRE Scores in 2013: Philosophy Dominates (Physics Central Blog).
- Students with majors in philosophy have a better chance of getting accepted to medical school than those with most other majors. See Major Anxiety.
- Skills developed in the study of philosophy have significant benefits in the world of work as well as in professional training. Many articles relevant to such benefits have appeared recently in public media. Here are a few examples:
- The Most Important Skills for the 4th Industrial Revolution? Try Ethics and Philosophy (EdSurge, October 2018)
- Philosophy Prepared Me for a Career in Finance and Government by Robert E. Rubin, Secretary of the Treasury, 1995-99 (The New York Times, April 2018)
- I Work Therefore I Am: Why Businesses are Hiring Philosophers (The Guardian, March 2018)
- NPR’s White House Reporter Tells Grads A Secret to Her Success (California Magazine, May 2014) (Tamara Keith mentions the value of her philosophy major for her career in journalism.)
- The Unexpected Way Philosophy Majors are Changing the World of Business (Huff Post College, March 2014)
- Be Employable, Study Philosophy (Salon, July 2013)
Connect With Us
Undergraduate Program Contacts
Catherine Driscoll, director of undergraduate advising
Kendall Hubbard, student services associate
Meet Our Faculty
Our faculty come from a variety of backgrounds. Find a full listing here.