Careers

Career Advising

Wondering what to do with your philosophy major? Trying to figure out how to break into the professional world or land that internship? You don’t have to have your future all figured out; we’ll help you get there, one conversation at a time.

Undergraduate Career Advisor: Hank Southgate

Appointments: schedule by email (southgate@wisc.edu) or just stop by Dr. Southgate’s virtual office hours (Wednesdays 12:30 to 4:30) for a chat. Click here for access to the office hours on BBCollaborate Ultra.

Resumes & Cover Letters

Interview Success

There are lots of internship search engines out there, but these provide highly customizable searches that allow you to zero in on the internships right for you.

There’s a reason they say “it’s know what you know, it’s who you know”: professional connections get you jobs. Make more connections by using a variety of platforms:

Get paid to study what you love–even philosophers need to eat. (Plus, grants and fellowships look great on your resume.)

Philosophy at Work

Whatever you want to do in life, philosophy helps you do it better. That’s because philosophy trains you to think carefully, solve problems, evaluate different perspectives, and communicate clearly. It’s no surprise, then, that our majors succeed in wide variety of careers, from medicine to law, from computer science to public policy. Learn for yourself everything that philosophy can do for you.

 

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Essential Job Skills Philosophy Gives You

Analytical

  • Thinking critically about arguments
  • Reasoning logically
  • Identifying argument patterns
  • Identifying salient data and values
  • Discerning significant distinctions

Problem-Solving

  • Evaluating competing solutions to problems
  • Thinking outside the box to develop new solutions
  • Identifying assumptions latent in reasoning
  • Making informed decisions on the basis of reasoning and evidence

Communication

  • Explaining complex ideas clearly and simply in speech and writing
  • Respectfully discussing contentious issues in order to uncover the truth
  • Using reasoning to build consensus
  • Understanding conflicting viewpoints

Research & Project Management

  • Synthesizing and critiquing an array of information to generate new knowledge
  • Identifying problems and developing solutions
  • System-level thinking
  • Self-discipline through organization and independent work

Jobs You Get with Those Skills

Analytical

  • Business analyst
  • Accountant
  • Criminologist
  • Logistics manager
  • Legal secretary
  • Computer systems analyst
  • Actuary
  • Statistician
  • Information security analyst
  • Medical scientist
  • Intelligence officer
  • Economist
  • Biostatistician
  • Financial examiner

Problem-Solving

  • Judge
  • Lawyer
  • Criminal investigator
  • Account manager
  • Social worker
  • Psychologist
  • Computer scientist
  • Business consultant
  • Foreign service officer
  • Public policy analyst
  • Counselor
  • Stockbroker

Communication

  • Communications officer
  • Copywriter
  • Social media manager
  • Press secretary
  • Human resources manager
  • Teacher
  • Editor
  • Journalist
  • Paralegal
  • Copyeditor
  • Speech writer
  • Technical writer
  • Minister
  • Sales manager
  • Lobbyist
  • Grant writer

Research & Project Management

  • Research specialist
  • Paralegal
  • Operations research analyst
  • Forensic science technician
  • Project manager
  • Fundraiser
  • Public opinion researcher
  • Research associate
  • Administrator
  • Marketing manager
  • Political scientist

Alumni Testimonials

I graduated in 2014 with an honors degree in Philosophy (and Comm Arts). I still like to say that getting a philosophy degree is the single best thing I have done for myself. It stoked my curiosity and taught me how to rigorously approach every topic I’m interested in. I now work for Walt Disney Animation Studios in the Story Development Department. I’m in the incubator of the next generation of Disney Animated Films.

–Michael Dan Herbert

I graduated in 2010 with a philosophy degree and am now the CEO of a 40-person, venture-backed technology company based here in Madison. My philosophy degree is the most relevant thing I did to prepare for my role (even though I didn’t know it at the time).

–Alec Slocum

I’m now a journalist and writer in NYC. I’m about to graduate soon with a Masters in Journalism from NYU, in long-form reporting. I do a combination of personal writing and reporting, with the latter focusing a lot on immigrant issues, harassment stories, labor unions, affordable housing, sex workers and trafficking etc…. My philosophical background has been invaluable in helping me write and report on what I feel most passionately about. To be a reporter or scholar of any kind right now is to be political, to lend your voice to rational and sound political movements you have to understand them analytically. Philosophy always helps me do that.

–Maham Hasan

I use my philosophical training every day at my job because I am a philosophy professor at Loyola University Maryland!

–Mavis Biss

My degree in philosophy was the greatest decision I made in undergrad…. Professionally, my degree led me to Epic where I was a project manager, and the research diligence, writing ability, and analytical and logical thinking that came with the degree made me a very successful employee there. It also got me involved in their predictive analytics program, which turned into an ongoing interest in emerging technology. Now in law school, that same interest led me to be simultaneously employed on the Innovation team of American Family insurance, where those same strengths are very useful.

–Will Conley

I’ve been a project manager at Epic since I graduated nearly seven years ago. In my role we’re responsible for guiding customers through the implementation of our software…. My experience in philosophy comes in handy in a variety of ways…. The ability to simplify, to translate the complex into something manageable for the other people I work with is absolutely critical to being able to do my job. I am also a manager of a small team. I need to be able to engage with my team members in a way that serves them, taking into account their perspective and unique ways of interacting with the world. I think my philosophy background prepared me for thinking this way (without myself at the center) and that makes me a better manager.

–Lindzey Kobiske

I can say that I think I use philosophy in my job almost 100% of the time. This may be a little bit more key to my field (I work in consulting) but I feel as though what I learned as philosophy major is really at the heart of what I do. I work in consulting at one of the largest global management consulting firm in the world….My job is quite literally constant problem solving–trying to understand and solve complex problems that more likely than not I know little to nothing about to start with. It heavily involves building frameworks or approaches attack to those large/complex problems, and constantly drawing out underlying assumptions and dependencies all along the way. The more complex a process, problem, or concept, the more iterations of critical reasoning is required to solve, which, requires additional patience and due diligence. Being able to cut to the heard of issues or even better — ask sharp questions in a room full of clients or high stakeholders really goes a long way. To me, philosophy was all about being able to ask the right questions to get at the heart of matters so this is this translates very well.

–Jeffery Pugh

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