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).
Degree Completion in Philosophy
Bachelor’s degree completions in philosophy more than doubled from 1987 to
2009, 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).
Master’s degree completions in philosophy approximately doubled between 1987
and 2009. 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 0.14 percent to 0.20 percent of all master’s and first
professional degrees awarded in each year of the two-decade span examined here (Academy
of Arts and Sciences).
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. This
increased the discipline’s share of all degree completions (Academy of Arts and
The AAUP Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession
The AACU Report on Liberal Arts Majors and Employment