Careers and employability
Of course, studying philosophy is worth doing for its own sake – but what does it qualify you for?
When it comes to your future career, would you be better off with a degree in chemistry or economics or English?
The answer to that question really is 'no' (unless of course you want to become a chemist or an economist or an English teacher).
That’s because most graduate employers just don't need specialist knowledge about a particular area. If any specialist knowledge is needed, then, by and large, they will provide their own training.
What they really want are 'transferable skills': general abilities that you acquire or enhance during your degree study, which can be applied in your chosen profession.
Philosophy excels when it comes to these skills. Follow the links at the bottom of this page to find out why.
Our graduates enjoy a broad range of pathways after graduation:
- 85% of our recent Philosophy graduates were in work or engaged in further study six months after they graduated.
- 50% of those employed were in professional or managerial roles.
(Source: Key Information Set Data from UNISTATS)
Typical career paths
Our philosophy graduates move on to work in law, government, the media, management consultancy, accountancy, social work, business, teaching and many other lines of work.
What employers are really looking for are 'transferable skills': general abilities that you acquire or enhance during your degree study, which can be applied in your chosen profession. These include the ability to:
- think critically
- present your ideas clearly and succinctly
- develop creative solutions to problems
- work together in a group to figure out a solution.
Philosophy is really good at helping you to hone your skills in these areas.
Our students have gone on to work with the British Council, BBC, BT, ChildLine, Citizens Advice, Deloitte, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Google, HM Treasury, Institute of International Education, KPMG, NHS, Microsoft, Oracle, United Nations, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Scope, Teach First, The Challenge Network, The Climate Group, The Football Association, The Guardian, The Independent, The Open University and World Bank.
Philosophy can be studied at postgraduate level both at Manchester and elsewhere. Staff are also happy to advise students about postgraduate study elsewhere, both in the UK and overseas.
How has your degree helped you in your career?
"I wouldn't have been able to access to the same opportunities, nor would I have been able to make the most of them without my degree. It has taught me a significant amount about the world and how to think about it, as well as how to analyse problems and create solutions."Myra Khan / Politics, Philosophy and Economics (2011)
"Philosophy taught me a vital skill: how to be constructively critical of any information presented to me. Philosophy honed my raw scepticism into a set of life tools: I learned how to read carefully; be open-minded; analyse logically and to value the importance of structured reasoning."David Seedhouse / BA(Hons) Philosophy (1981), PhD Philosophy (1984)
Find out more about School of Social Sciences alumni.
Other university sites
- Access the University's award-winning Careers Advice Service.
- Take the Manchester Leadership Programme, develop your leadership skills and participate in community volunteering.
- Fast track your career with the Manchester Graduate Internship Programme.
Useful external sites
- 'Where Next? Unlocking the Potential of your Philosophy Degree' (PDF opens in new window)
- 'The unexpected way philosophy majors are changing the world of business' (Huffington Post article, 3 May 2014; PDF opens in a new window)
- McNeese University: The benefits of studying philosophy
- Prospects for Philosophy – information on transferable skills, career areas and job options
- UNISTATS – Compare official course data from universities and colleges