Career Tips

The philosophy department provides career guidance mostly for careers in philosophy. It strongly urges you to contact Erin Eaker, the Director of Undergraduate Studies, for further information in this regard. The job market for philosophy professors is very tight, but graduate degrees in philosophy can also be helpful for other professions besides philosophy teachers.

Jobs that Require Technical Training as Prerequisites

If you want to get a job that requires a high degree of prerequisite technical expertise (engineering, accounting, etc.), you obviously will need more than a degree in philosophy. Many of our students are double majors, so that when they graduate they have the necessary technical skills in their chosen field, as well as a rewarding undergraduate experience as philosophy majors. This breadth tends to give students a competitive edge in the job market, or when applying for graduate school.

Jobs That Do Not Require Technical Training as Prerequisites

If you are a liberal arts major, you are much more flexible in your career options than, say, an engineering major, who has only one main career path open to her. That is why surveys show that liberal arts majors, while less employable when in college than technically-oriented students, have the same employment rate four months after college.

Whatever you decide to do, don’t hide your philosophy degree under a bushel! Your prospective employer/interviewer will ask you why you decided to study philosophy and what you think you got out of the philosophy major. Think hard about that question before you go into the interview. Be as specific as you can; talk about experiences you have had, books you have read, teachers that you liked, and courses that made an impact upon you. You will be judged not only on the specific content of your answers, but on your ability to express yourself, and the depth of your insights. In a sense, you have been “interviewed” about philosophy ever since you decided to be a philosophy major – by friends, roommates, relatives, and anybody else. So relax!

Think, too, about how best to present the skills that you have acquired as a philosopher. You can analyze a problem, distinguishing its various components and aspects. You can lay out and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the proposed solutions to the problem. You can write clearly and in an organized fashion, and you know how to make out a rational and convincing case for the best solution. These are skills that are vital in many walks of life, and in many professions.

Liberal Arts Internships

For juniors and seniors, the Office of Experiential Learning Programs in the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Studies runs an Internship program. It keeps a file of positions available, and matches students to them. You can register for up to 3 credit hours (PHIL 386); you work for the employer and have added supervision from a faculty advisor. Generally speaking, these positions are non-paying; you gain experience and academic credit, and often a better idea of where your future goals lie.

Clueless?

If you are unclear about what you want to do after you graduate, don’t worry -- you are very typical! The university’s Career Center is your one-stop center for career advising on the UMCP campus. The Center offers career counseling workshops, career development services, courses, special programs, a Career & Employment Resource Room, a Credentials File Service in support of graduate school and employment applications, and an extensive web site: www.careercenter.umd.edu.

The Career Center has a liaison that works as the Program Director for ARHU, Stacy H. Brown. The ARHU Program Director plans various career workshops and information sessions specifically tailored for students in the College.