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Careers Centre

Philosophy - using your degree

Introduction

Popular career areas for Philosophy students:

Philosophy graduates are intrinsically highly employable in a wide variety of fields in both private and public sectors. See, for example, the employer quotations below.

Philosophy students usually think through the ends of the work they propose to do, as well as the skills that will be needed, and frequently search out moral or social purpose in their work.

The exacting questions which philosophers ask means that their career search is not generally a rapid one! Allow yourself plenty of time.

Fiona Czerniawska, director of the Management Consultancies Association's think tank, says: "A philosophy degree has trained the individual's brain and given them the ability to provide management-consulting firms with the sort of skills that they require and clients demand. These skills can include the ability to be very analytical, provide clear and innovative thinking, and question assumptions."

Deborah Bowman, associate dean for widening participation at St George's, University of London, which offers medicine and health sciences courses, says philosophers are increasingly sought after by the NHS: "Graduates of philosophy who come in to graduate-entry medicine, or to nursing courses, are very useful. Growth areas in the NHS include clinical ethicists, who assist doctors and nurses. Medical ethics committees and ethics training courses for staff are also growing. More and more people are needed to comment on moral issues in healthcare, such as abortion.''

"A graduate today can fully expect to still be in the world of work in 2063. The one thing we can be certain of is that we will be applying skills that we haven’t even thought of today. We will have to relearn and relearn and relearn… Being able to think laterally, having good analytical skills, being an effective communicator… employers are beginning to ask ‘Where are we going to find these skills?’… Philosophy in particular is one of those disciplines that employers have started to recognise as having more about it that links to the world of work than they might have imagined."' Carl Gilleard, Chief Executive of the Association of Graduate Recruiters.

Review your degree skills

The profile below identifies the skills that can be developed through the study of your discipline based on subject benchmark statements developed by UK higher education academic communities.

A graduate in Philosophy typically will have:

Where do our Philosophy graduates go?

Recent Philosophy graduates
Oxfam Scotland - Campaign Coordinator Allen & Overy - Lawyer (sponsored law conversion) Aldi - Area Manager
Deloitte - Associate Barclays - Analyst Parse Theological Centre - PR & Partnerships Development Officer
Graduates who are established in their profession

Teach First - Teacher

National High School Debate League of China - Academic Director

Aspen Institute - Executive Vice President and Corporate Secretary

Yesware - Event Marketing Manager

Twitter - Manager, Mobile Specialist Team

Jaguar Land Rover North America - Corporate Counsel

‌‌Michael Forde

Michael graduated in 2015.

He was a graduate trainee at Charityworks.

Read Michael's case study.

Visit the Graduate Destinations page to see what graduates and postgraduates from your School are doing now.

Network with alumni

Many jobs and internships are not advertised. One of the best ways to find out about these ‘hidden opportunities’ is by networking. Networking can also help secure a job that is publicised or is part of a training scheme. Your contacts can open doors, set up meetings, help prepare you for interviews, and provide you with an inside look at a company or industry.

How to contact alumni

There are two main ways to contact alumni on-line:

  1. Saint Connect - brings together alumni and current students to facilitate networking, enable informal mentoring, provide industry discussion groups, and enable graduates and students to stay up to date with their student societies and sports teams.
  2. LinkedIn - most comprehensive resource to connect with alumni is the University of St Andrews LinkedIn – Alumni Tool. There are also many LinkedIn St Andrews Groups, mainly based on location, which you can join to network with fellow students and alumni, eg St Andrews North America Careers Link.

Postgraduate study/research

In 2014, 50% of Philosophy graduates went on to do further study.
Advisers are able and willing to discuss postgraduate applications - vocational and academic.

Summer internships/work experience

Campus Opportunities

Work experience is becoming ‘essential’ in the UK when it comes to securing graduate level employment.

During the 2015-16 academic year, more than 90% of the UK’s leading graduate employers offered paid work experience programmes for students and recent graduates. Altogether, 55% of St Andrews finalists had completed some element of work experience with a graduate employer whilst at university – much higher than the survey average. More than two-fifths had a part-time job during term-time and three-fifths had some form of casual vacation work. Source: High Fliers –The UK Graduate Careers Survey 2016.

Case studies

Key links and resources

Career-related