Philosophy Majors After College
Figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency show philosophy graduates are in
growing demand from employers. The number of all graduates in full-time and part-time
work six months after graduation rose by 9 percent between the 2002-03 and 2005-06
school years; for philosophy graduates in particular it went up by 13 percent. The
Higher Education Careers Services Unit (HECSU), which also collates data of this kind,
agrees philosophers are finding it easier to secure work. Its figures show that, in
2001, 9.9 percent of philosophy graduates were unemployed six months after graduation.
In 2006, just 6.7 percent were (Academy of Arts and Sciences). By 2015, this figure dropped to only 5 percent (CNN).
PayScale.com reports on salary potential of bachelor degrees, and finds that philosophy majors are in the top 25% by mid-career, the highest among the humanities. In 2014, as job offerings in the other humanities decreased, positions in philosophy increased by approximately 20% (Academy of Arts and Sciences).
Degree Completion in Philosophy
Bachelor’s degree completions in philosophy more than doubled from 1987 to
2014, and the percentage of bachelor’s degrees issued in philosophy as a
percentage of all bachelor’s degrees awarded, though small, rose slowly but
steadily throughout that same time period (Academy of Arts and Sciences). We have created an IPEDS report on the number of bachelor's degree completions in philosophy from 2009 to 2013 (2010 CIP classification 38: Philosophy & Religious Studies).
Master’s degree completions in philosophy approximately doubled between 1987
and 2014. Growth occurred in much the same way that it did at the bachelor’s
level, with two surges separated by a period of stagnation, one that in this case
started in the early 1990s and lasted through the end of that decade. Philosophy
degrees represented 0.13 percent to 0.20 percent of all master’s and first
professional degrees awarded in each year of the span examined here (Academy of Arts and Sciences). We have created an IPEDS report on the number of master's degree completions in philosophy from 2009 to 2013 (2010 CIP classification 38: Philosophy & Religious Studies).
The number of doctoral degrees completed in philosophy grew steadily from 1987 to
the turn of the century, as did the discipline’s share of all doctorates
conferred. The mid-2000s were a period of stasis for these completions, but 2009 saw a
relatively substantial rise in the number of doctorates earned in philosophy, while 2012 saw over 500 completions, a record-high. This
increased the discipline’s share of all degree completions (Academy of Arts and Sciences). We have created an IPEDS report on the number of Ph.D. completions in philosophy from 2009 to 2013 (2010 CIP classification 38: Philosophy & Religious Studies).
APA Membership Demographics
A report on APA membership demographics, 2014-2016 is now available.
Reports on demographic statistics provided by APA members for fiscal years’ 2014, 2015 and 2016 are now available. These statistics include data on gender, race/ethnicity, LGBT status, disability status, type of employment, and tenure status. Beginning with FY2016, we are also providing a separate report on APA members broken down by geographic region. For the US, the report uses census regions; for Canada, the report uses the four-region model. We welcome feedback and suggestions for improvements to our collection and reporting of demographic data. Suggestions may be emailed to [email protected].
- The APA Guide to
Graduate Programs in Philosophy
- Historical data on JFP and PhilJobs: Jobs for Philosophers ads
- Historical Eastern Division meeting placement
- Indiana University Public Opinion Laboratory Survey (2002)
- National Science Foundation (NSF) Doctorate
Recipients from United States Colleges and Universities
The latest NSF report includes am interactive online report, as well as PDF and
spreadsheet download options.
- National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
- The Humanities Indicators Project website
Indicators Project: Philosophy Degree Completion
Indicators Project: The State of the Humanities: Funding 2014
- Humanities Indicators Project: The State of the Humanities: Higher Education 2015
- Trends in academic books published in the humanities and other fields
Humanities make up almost half of all academic titles published each year. The number of philosophy books published increased from 2,140 in 2009 to 2,446 in 2013. The price of philosophy books is on the high end: $81 for print titles and $139 for e-books.
- Findings from AAAS 2012-2013 Humanities Survey
The Wall Street Journal page on salary by major
The Adjunct Project
- The Power of Philosophy
Test scores and salary performance (PNG file)
Graduate School Philosophy Placement Records in the US and Canada: Will I Get a
Andrew Carson analyzed publicly available placement data from philosophy graduate
programs. The data he shares on Philosophy
News include percentages of graduates by gender, placements broken down by
types, and where different program's placement records rank on various
- Making It Past the First Round
Advice to keep yourself from being eliminated in the first round of application
reviews. Though the advice pertains to applying to community colleges, much is more
- How Not to Blow an Interview
It's all too easy to find yourself out of the running thanks to an ill-considered
- Making Sense of the Diversity Statement
This year, all of a sudden, every application is asking for some kind of diversity
statement. What do I do?
- Coping With a Career Crisis
A professor with nearly 40 years of experience in academia talks about his career
crises and offers advice on how to contend with your own.
- Versatile PhD
Information for alt-ac careers
- Diversity and the Ivory Ceiling
An Inside Higher Ed essay discussing career progression for faculty of color in the United States.
- NewAPPS series on philosophers who work outside academia
Part 1: How and why do they end up there?
Part 2: What's it like to have a nonacademic job?
Part 3: Transferrable skills and concrete advice
- The Unexpected Way Philosophy Majors Are Changing the World of Business
"Some of the most successful tech entrepreneurs and innovators come from a philosophy background and put the critical thinking skills they developed to good use launching new digital services to fill needs in various domains of society."
- Why PhDs should stop thinking of the academic and non-academic job markets separately
As doctoral programs begin training this year’s new cohort of graduate students, every faculty adviser should already be thinking about how to prepare them for the job market — and not just the faculty slice of that market.
- Finding Success on the Job Market, Part 1
Tips from those who found jobs within the past two years (published September, 2015)
- The Philosophers' Cocoon job-market mentoring project
Matching of mentors and mentees has begun.
- Job Candidate Mentoring Program for Women in Philosophy
The Job Candidate Mentoring Program for Women in Philosophy matches job candidates with junior faculty mentors who have recently been on the market.
- The First Steps to a Nonfaculty Job Search
Start by making the most of the Ph.D. alumni panels cropping up across academe.
- Women in Philosophy: Quantitative Analyses of Specialization, Prevalence, Visibility, and Generational Change
Analysis by Eric Schwitzgebel and Carolyn Dicey Jennings
- Free Range Philosophers
Free Range Philosophers presents interviews of people with advanced training in philosophy who are either working outside of traditional academic jobs or engaged in philosophical outreach or other philosophical activities outside of the academic classroom.
The AAUP Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession
The Chronicle of Higher Education Salary Data
The AACU Report on Liberal Arts Majors and Employment