Practical reasons to study philosophy

Philosophical enquiry, thinking about deep questions, can be deeply rewarding. But what can you do with it at the end of the day?

Philosophy is fundamentally about thinking clearly, reading carefully, arguing persuasively, and writing effectively. These are valuable skills for anyone to have.

Some employers are specifically looking for people with a philosophy background, but most are not. Note, however, that fewer than one in three workers end up working in a job directly related to their college major [source]. So having skills in critical thinking and communication which you can apply to any problem can be more valuable than learning facts about some specific field.

Since there isn't a strict sequence of courses, studying philosophy is flexible. It makes a great second major or minor, because of the definite advantages to studying philosophy regardless of what you want to do after college.

The numbers back this up. The median mid-career salary of philosophy majors is higher than that of any other major outside of science and engineering [source].

The philosophy major and mid-career salaries

If you are thinking of graduate school, philosophy is good preparation regardless of your speciality. Philosophy majors outperform all other majors on the Verbal and Analytical Writing sections of the GRE [source]. Philosophy majors perform near the top, outperforming business majors, on the GMAT (the test used by most MBA programs) [source].

Philosophy also makes a great preparation for law school. Philosophy majors consistently perform better than students from any other major on the LSAT (the law school entrance exam).

The philosophy major and LSAT scores

Some links

Articles highlighting the value of an education in philosophy:

Many philosophy departments have web pages like this one, explaining the advantages of studying philosophy. They put things in different words and offer some other reasons, too.