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What Can You Do With a PhD in Philosophy?

Though most university programs indicate that individuals who earn a PhD in Philosophy either work as independent scholars or professors, there are many other career options to choose from in areas such as survey research and political science.

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After taking courses on mathematical logic, ethics and economics, law and philosophy, and political philosophy, recent graduates of philosophy PhD programs are prepared to take jobs in the field of business and academics. We'll take a close look at some careers that are available to recent graduates.

PhD in Philosophy Careers and Salary

While a PhD in Philosophy might be geared toward an academic and research career, the writing and mathematical skills that graduates gain on their way to such a degree open the door to all sorts of possibilities. Recent graduates are well versed in not just the human mind and philosophical practices but also mathematical philosophy, giving them a well-rounded educational background. As such, they have the skills necessary to help businesses understand human behavior and thought processes, making them ideal candidates for positions in marketing. Within the table below are some career choices for individuals with a PhD in Philosophy, along with data related to their respective salaries and job growth.

Job Title Median Salary (2017)* Job Growth (2016-2026)*
Postsecondary Education Administrators $92,360 10%
Market Research Analysts $63,230 23%
Survey Researcher $54,270 2%
Political Scientist $115,110 3%
Postsecondary Philosophy Teachers $69,590 12%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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PhD in Philosophy Jobs

Postsecondary Education Administrators

Postsecondary education administrators work at colleges and universities in the areas of admissions, registration, and student affairs. Their duties vary depending on the department they go into, and at smaller colleges they may oversee multiple departments at once. Those who work in admissions, for example, determine how many students are to be enrolled and review applications to decide if a particular student should be allowed into the university. Administrators with a PhD in Philosophy will have the organizational and problem-solving skills necessary to excel at such a job. They also have the degree necessary to secure a position as a dean or provost at a university.

Market Research Analysts

Market research analysts determine how their employers can effectively market their products or services by generating economic forecasts and looking at current sales trends. They continue to improve upon their own models by introducing new data collection methods, such as opinion polls, surveys, and questionnaires. In the process of earning a PhD in Philosophy, students not only get a better idea of what questions to ask to get the answers they seek, but they also acquire the analytical and research skills required to formulate sound marketing strategies.

Survey Researchers

Survey researchers collect preliminary information related to a given topic and go about planning and designing a survey as well as determining the ways in which it will be administered. These same individuals run potential surveys through test groups to make certain that the questions being asked on the survey are easily understood. Much like in their degree program, PhD graduates who become survey researchers analyze all data collected and go about solving issues related to the survey in question. Once they have done so, they present their findings using fact sheets, tables, and graphs.

Political Scientists

Political scientists go about creating new theories by collecting and analyzing data related to specific political questions. They determine what effect polices and laws will have on individuals, businesses, and the government. Political scientists with a PhD in Philosophy have taken courses in mathematical theory and political philosophy, giving them the tools necessary to generate forecasts related to social, political, and economic trends. Additionally, they have the ability to write research papers detailing their findings in a way that is easy to understand.

Postsecondary Philosophy Teachers

Postsecondary philosophy teachers continue conducting research much in the same way that they did on the way to earning their PhDs, ensuring that they are up to date on the latest findings within their field. They hold lectures on topics such as free will, dreams, the meaning of life, and morality, following these same lectures up with classroom discussion. Additionally, they introduce students to works written by philosophers throughout history and help them understand the basis of each philosopher's logic. Through their own work on the way to a PhD, postsecondary teachers have first-hand knowledge of how to do proper research in the field and are able to ensure that their students have a well-rounded curriculum.

Though many might see a PhD in Philosophy leading to a career in academics, there are many other options outside of that space that a person can go into upon graduation. Graduates have the education and skills desired in the business world, giving them access to positions in management and research outside of academia.

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