There are many more possibilities but you get the
idea: take something you want to focus on and look through the
course catalog to see what pertinent courses you can find.
WHAT CAN I DO WITH PHILOSOPHY?
or Getting Ready For Life After Graduation
What can you do with philosophy? Just about anything
What people are doing a few years after graduation
generally isn't too closely related to what they majored in.
So it's probably a good idea to choose a major you're interested
in and enjoy, because you're more likely to do well in it.
People with a background in philosophy have done
many different sorts of things. Legal and religious professionals
frequently have an undergraduate background in philosophy. But
philosophy students also enter medicine, government service,
finance, management, and many other fields, as this list shows.
The American Philosophical Association has also published a booklet
discussing what you can do with philosophy and illustrating some
possibilities. It's titled Careers for Philosophers and you can
get a copy in the department office.
As a philosophy major you will have many useful
skills -- reading critically, writing cogently, doing research,
formulating and evaluating arguments, interpreting, presenting,
and examining differing positions. These are transferable skills
which can take you into many different careers and which become
more important as your working life develops. However, they won't
be immediately apparent to potential employers, so you'll probably
need to make some effort to convince them to hire you. There
are several things you can do now which will help you convince
Get some experience through:
o extracurricular activities such as writing for the Vanguard,
being active in a student organization, or doing volunteer
work (check out Volunteer Mobile).
o internships and jobs, including part-time, summer, and co-op
jobs. Internships or co-op jobs might involve working with a
lawyer, a clergy man or woman, a religious, non-profit, or educational
organization, a social welfare organization such as the Child
Advocacy Center, Penelope House, or Catholic Social Services
(to name just a few), a hospital, or whatever you can think up.
are more possibilities.) If you're interested, see the Chair
to work out the details.
It also wouldn't hurt to take some "practical" courses,
e.g., computers, statistics, economics or even do a minor in
an area which potential employers could easily see the relevance
But practical considerations aside, people have
often found a degree in philosophy worthwhile for its own sake.
A liberal arts education is, after all, not an education for
a job, but an education for life.
(For other perspectives on all this, check what
the philosophy departments at the Universities of Arizona and Louisiana
at Lafayette have to say.)
When you do start looking for employment, check
out the Career Services Center. They have information about jobs
and can help you put together a resume and interview with visiting
employers. Some research into what an employer is looking for,
combined with some working experience plus the skills you've
gained as a philosophy major, should enable you to convince the
employer that you can contribute what is wanted, in other words,
that you should be hired.
McGLOTHREN SCHOLARSHIP: Mr. Michael McGlothren,
who graduated in philosophy and is now a lawyer in town, has
provided an annual scholarship of $1000 to recognize the academic
achievement of a philosophy major. The chief criterion for eligibility
is a GPA of at least 3.0; financial need is not a factor.
PHILOSOPHY CLUB: If you're interested in having
a Philosophy Club, we'll be glad to work with you. We can help
provide refreshments, announcements, speakers, etc. A club will
probably work best if it's kept simple and informal, but one
or two people are needed to make sure that the few things that
must be done are done.
Here are some ideas for things to do: watch and
discuss videos which raise philosophical issues; pose and discuss
a specific question, possibly with some background reading from
an article or two; have a visiting speaker from the campus, the
community, or Spring Hill, or bring someone to town (money can
be obtained); get together with the Spring Hill Philosophy Club.
(They have a pretty active club and often announcements of their
meetings are posted in our office.)
PHILOSOPHICAL SOCIETY generally holds its annual meeting
in early November. Location varies. Philosophers from around
the state give papers and sometimes a famous philosopher is
invited to speak. The Society also gives a prize for a student
philosophy paper. Info about the prize and the meeting is usually
posted on one of the bulletin boards in the office. If you're
interested in going to the meeting, talk with the Chair.
Spring Hill College sometimes offers courses in
areas we don't. If you're interested in taking such a course,
talk with the Chair to see what can be worked out.
If you want to STUDY ABROAD, the University has some
programs, as do many other schools, or you could contact
a foreign school directly. Some schools in non-English speaking
countries have special programs in which English is the language
of instruction. For more information, check in the library
or hunt around on the Internet. Arrangements could certainly
be made for you to study abroad for a semester or a year and
have the courses credited to your work here.
Several UNDERGRADUATE CONFERENCES and JOURNALS
exist where you might be able to present your work or get it
published. To find specific information about these, go to the American
Philosophical Association's website and look in the "Resources > Conferences,
Seminars, and Calls for Papers" section. A list will be
presented which you can then search using the term "undergraduate."
- Take at least one 400 level course in your junior
year since two are required for the major but two might not be
offered in your senior year.
- The list of tentative course offerings for coming
semesters might help in planning your schedule for the following
year. If you have questions about specific courses or semesters,
check with the secretary or the Chair.
- If you're thinking of grad school, you may need
to have an extended writing sample. For some suggestions about
this, see the writing sample section below.
Here are some ways to make money. They'll also
help you build your resume and get work experience--which will
help you get a job after graduation.
You can offer to be a SUPPLEMENTAL INSTRUCTOR or
TUTOR: Contact the philosophy department for more information.
The Alabama Philosophical Society offers an annual
STUDENT ESSAY PRIZE of $50 for the best student paper. The paper
doesn't have to be written especially for the prize, so it could
be something you wrote for a philosophy course you've already
taken. And it doesn't have to be something you wrote in the last
year. If you'd like to submit a paper for consideration, talk
with the Chair no later than early October since the deadline
is usually around then.
WIESEL ESSAY CONTEST: The prize amounts are $5000,
$2500, $1500 and $500. The general topic areas for the essay
are usually available in early October; the submission deadline
is early in December. The Contest is open to juniors and seniors.
Co-op jobs can earn you money while giving you
work experience. For more information, see the comments about
jobs in the section about Getting Ready For Life After Graduation.
If you're thinking of going on to FURTHER EDUCATION
(grad / law / divinity / med / business school, computer science,
joint programs, etc.), here are some sources of information:
talk with your professors, check the posters outside our department
or in the manila portfolios in the office. Also check the catalogs
and reference books in the office and the library, or go to the
American Philosophical Association's website and check the "Resources > Department
Web Sites" section, where you'll find links to department
web sites. You'll find joint programs in such areas as philosophy
and law, as well as programs focusing on specific areas, such
as biomedical ethics, policy studies, applied philosophy, environmental
ethics, philosophy for children, and history and philosophy of
science. Seminaries and divinity schools will often give food
and an overnight stay to potential students who visit them.
Receiving the Alabama Philosophical Society Student
Essay Prize or a prize for a Wiesel Essay would certainly up
your chances of getting accepted anywhere--but you can't win
if you don't apply. Likewise, tutoring or writing an Honors Thesis
could also help, as could giving a paper at an undergraduate
conference or publishing in an undergraduate philosophy journal.
(See Making Money for more information about tutoring and the
essay contests; see Other Philosophy Opportunities for information
about finding undergraduate conferences and journals.)
Some grad schools require that your application
include a substantial WRITING SAMPLE (e.g., 10 pages) so they
can make an estimate about your writing, research, and critical
evalation abilities. If you're interested in a school that requires
this and won't have such a paper, ask the prof of a course you're
taking whether you can do such a paper for the course. Alternatively,
you might do a small Directed Study to write the paper or to
expand something you've already written. If you're planning to
apply to such a school and want to start there the Fall after
you graduate, you'll need to get on this no later than Fall of
your senior year; Spring semester will be too late.
You might be interested in joining the American
Philosophical Association as a Student Associate. This is the
national professional association of philosophers, and if you're
thinking of going on to grad school, joining would be especially
pertinent, in part because you'll get a pretty good sense of
what the non-philosophical side of the profession is like. For
more information, go to the APA's website and check the "Member
Services > Becoming a Member" selection.