What do a former FDIC chair, Wikipedia co-founder, journalist, and retired Associate Justice of the Supreme Court have in common? Sheila Bair, Larry Sanger, Katy Tur, and David Souter all have philosophy degrees.
Focus on Basic Concepts or Pre-law
A philosophy degree is good preparation for many careers, providing the skills many employers want — critical thinking, logical reasoning, and problem solving. Students learn to analyze and break things down into explainable parts, be better thinkers, communicate clearly, and make better arguments.
UNCG’s online Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy degree offers two concentrations: philosophy and pre-law. Both are offered fully online with no set class times.
Areas of Philosophy
Philosophy looks at the basic concepts and assumptions people use to understand reality, according to Dr. Gary Rosenkrantz, professor and head of the Department of Philosophy.
Philosophy concentrates on four areas:
- logic, which encompasses elements of critical thinking
- reasoning, the theory of knowledge
- metaphysics, which looks at basic structure of reality
Pre-law focuses on preparation for a career in law. Though the number of credits for each concentration is the same, there are more required courses for pre-law. The philosophy concentration has more freedom of choice in course selection.
Strengthen Reasoning and Thinking Skills
The philosophy major strengthens logical reasoning, critical thinking, and analytical skills, as well as ethical reasoning. It also heightens moral awareness.
“What philosophy gives you the ability to do is to recognize, analyze, and dissect various failures: failures in reasoning, failures in ethics, and failures of knowledge,” Rosenkrantz says.
Philosophical ethics deals with issues of racism, bias, and discrimination, according to Rosenkrantz. Students can use philosophy to weigh decisions, make ethical decisions, such as in the use of medical resources, and understand the basic principles of morality, reasoning, and evidence.
“Philosophy has very broad application in that you can philosophically analyze any area of knowledge, discourse, or behavior to see whether it meets the standards of rationality and ethics,” Rosenkrantz says.
What Can You Do with Philosophy?
A philosophy degree can prepare for a range of careers. “It’s a generally good major to train students in analysis and critical thinking for any area of work,” Rosenkrantz says.
Careers that benefit from a philosophy degree include:
- Government employment in areas like intelligence
- Social service
It’s also for students considering graduate study in philosophy or another field.
“Students who study philosophy might get involved in working for large corporations to provide ethical guidance,” he says. “There are all kinds of cases in business and politics where unethical behavior is perpetuated. There are conflicts of interest, there’s insider trading, double dealing, all kinds of unethical, and in many cases illegal, activities that go on that we really want to try to clean up or at least try to get under control.”