A Life of Learning

The Pursuit of Wisdom & Understanding

A degree in philosophy will prepare you for a life of learning—in and beyond the classroom. Our small, student-focused classes will guide you through the study of enduring questions about the human condition, the project of self-understanding, the examination of ourselves and the worlds we inhabit.

You might wonder, What can I do with a degree in philosophy?

It's a legitimate question, but the predictable sorts of answer do not exhaust the ways studying philosophy is valuable. The well educated student recognizes that the value of philosophical study transcends even those significant employment-related benefits a degree in philosophy yields. Nonetheless, studying philosophy does benefit the career seeking graduate. Our studies stretch beyond humanistic issues to important topics in fields like science, math, and the social sciences. In fact, the critical-thinking, communication, and reasoning skills you’ll develop in our classes will enable you to pursue a wide range of career opportunities, as in such fields as:

  • law
  • medicine
  • teaching
  • social science
  • politics
  • business
  • library science
  • theology/clergy
  • consulting
  • writing

To learn more about how a degree in philosophy can give you an advantage in your career path, check out the following:

Why Study Philosophy? – Consider one answer from Emeritus Professor, William F. Nietmann.  


Is Philosophy the Most Practical Major?, The Atlantic -- Edward Tenner, Historian of Technology and Culture, makes an interesting observation. 


The Management Myth, The Atlantic – Matthew Stewart, Consultant, offers another answer.  

A Guide to the Use of GRE Scores, 2010-11: Check out the charts on pp. 17-19 for the details on how philosophy students fared on the three areas of the Graduate Record Exam. Here are the highlights: Using mean scores, Philosophy students rank:  

  • first overall in Verbal (591) 
  • first overall in Analytic Writing (4.8)  
  • first in humanities, fifteenth overall in Quantative (629, behind economics, banking and finance, five science and math disciplines, and seven engineering disciplines).  
An Analysis of LSAT Scores by Undergraduate Major reveals philosophy graduates are top performers on this score as well. 

Philosophers Find the Degree Pays Off in Life and in Work, New York Times – Carol Marie Cropper sheds some light on the benefits of a philosophy degree. 

PayScale, Inc. offers salary data that compares salary rankings by undergraduate degrees. Philosophy fares pretty well by comparison to other popular majors—check the data! 

The Philosophers at Willamette University have also thought about this--here's what they have to say!