What Can I Do with a Master's Degree in Philosophy?
Earning a master’s degree in philosophy can open you up to a world of professional opportunities. An advanced degree in philosophy can help you refine your critical thinking, communication, and research skills and improve your qualifications to lead in a variety of fields from education and corporate governance to public service and policy analysis.
A master’s degree in philosophy can also provide excellent preparation for the pursuit of a terminal degree in a field such as medicine or law. In fact, the logic and reasoning that you’ll learn as a philosophy master can significantly improve your performance on the LSAT exam required to enter law school. And if you wish to hold the title of philosopher, earning your advanced degree will be an important credential in a field which is highly academic in nature.
Just getting started in the field? Check out our look at the philosophy major to find out how you can get an undergraduate degree in philosophy.
If you’re ready to earn your graduate degree at one of the most prestigious schools in the world, get started with a look at the Most Influential Schools in Philosophy.
Or read on to find out what you can expect as a philosophy master.
Why get a master’s degree in philosophy?
The skills of communication, research, and critical analysis that you’ll develop as a philosophy master are highly transferable to a wide range of workplace settings. Increasingly, progressive companies in the tech, marketing, and retail industries have recruited professionals with advanced degrees in philosophy for a wide range of leadership, consulting, and education roles.
In fact, the impact of real-world conditions such as globalization, environmental degradation, and the permeation of technology in modern life continue to generate deep exploration and intense debate. This makes the work of today’s leading philosophical thinkers extremely consequential. Today, top influencers in philosophy are breaking new ground in feminist theory, the philosophy of science, philosophy of mind, and much more.
Learn more about these and other top influencers in the philosophy field today!
How can I qualify to get a master’s degree in philosophy?
There is no specific entrance exam for gaining admission into a philosophy master’s program, though some programs may require you to complete a Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Some programs may require you to meet a certain scoring threshold while others may merely require that you complete the exam. These requirements will vary from one philosophy master’s program to the next.
For testing tips, check out our Guide to the GRE.
If no GRE is required, the primary requirement for gaining eligibility into a philosophy master’s program is completion of a bachelor’s degree from a properly accredited undergraduate school. While programmatic accreditation is not specifically required in this field, most regionally-accredited graduate schools will require that your bachelor’s degree be granted by a regionally-accredited college or university.
Some colleges may offer bundled bachelor’s and master’s degree programs, where you could earn your advanced degree in one continuous five-year program. This option could save you time and money if you already know that you’ll be pursuing your advanced degree. However, the accelerated pace of such a program may make this a challenging way to earn both degrees. Find out if your school offers this bundling option and ask about eligibility requirements. But be sure you’re up to the added challenge!
For any additional questions about eligibility, refer to your intended program and learn more about application requirements and any additional requirements such as work experience, academic performance thresholds, and referrals.
If you’re still working on building your qualifications, check out our look at the philosophy major to find out how you can get an undergraduate degree in philosophy.
What kinds of philosophy degrees are there?
There is no minimum academic threshold for putting your philosophy skills to use in a professional setting. However, this is a field dominated by academics. This means that some of the most highly regarded and influential figures in philosophy will have earned an advanced degree. The degree level you pursue may depend largely on whether you plan to become a philosopher (or postsecondary philosophy instructor), or whether you plan to apply the skills gained in your philosophy program to pursue a role in another sector.
- Master of Philosophy: This two-year degree will provide you with an opportunity to focus your philosophy education in a particular area such as public service, education, law, or human resources. Your philosophy education will provide a strong grounding in rhetoric, critical thinking and the organization of information while your area of focus will provide you with a way to channel these skills.
- PhD in Philosophy: Typically a three to five year program, this terminal degree is required for those who wish to teach philosophy at the post-secondary level as well as those who will lead research for a think tank, government agency, or charitable foundation. The doctoral degree may also be desirable to those who hold the academic title of philosopher or theosopher.
What are some popular philosophy specializations?
The specialization you choose will depend on the setting where you hope to apply your training. Whether you’re interested in working in education, business, policy analysis, or as a writer of philosophical treatise, there is a specialization that can help you advance the relevant skills and knowledge.
Notable specializations include:
- Philosophy, General
- Applied and Professional Ethics
- Philosophy, Other
- Philosophy and Religious Studies, General
- Philosophy and Religious Studies, Other
What courses will I take as a philosophy master?
Your specialization will determine many of the courses you’ll take as a philosophy master. Likewise, you will likely be required to take a number of requisite courses on foundational topics such as Rhetoric and General Ethics. Likewise, much of your degree program will revolve around an independent research topic of your own design. But you may also have a chance to choose advanced degree courses around your professional goals and personal interests.
Common philosophy courses include:
- Social and Political Philosophy
- Critical Thinking
- Philosophy and Globalization
- Topics in Feminist Ethics
- Philosophy and Literature
- Biomedical Ethics
- Philosophy of Knowledge
- Environmental Philosophy
Is a master’s degree in philosophy worth it?
The philosophy field is highly research-driven. Perhaps the greatest value that you’ll realize as a philosophy master is the opportunity to pursue an independent research project, and consequently, to sharpen your skills of data collection, analysis, and reporting. Moreover, a great many professional roles which leverage philosophical thinking—including post-secondary education, corporate governance, and healthcare administration—will be more readily accessible to philosophy graduates with an advanced degree.
What are the top jobs with a master’s in philosophy degree?
A bachelor’s degree in philosophy can provide a strong grounding in logic, ethics, and public policy. However, earning a master’s degree in philosophy can put you in a much stronger position to leverage your education into a practical career. By combining your advanced degree in philosophy with a study in education, healthcare, political science, or a host of other fields, you can apply your skills of reasoning and analysis to advance an array of exciting career opportunities, including these top jobs:
- Political Scientists
- Philosophy and Religion Teachers
- Medical and Health Services Managers
- Information Security Analysts
- Compliance Officers
- Human Resources Specialists
Curious how far you could go with a master’s degree in philosophy? Start with a look at the top influencers in the field today!***
Now that you know how to earn a masters in philosophy, check out The Most Influential Schools in Philosophy:
Check out the full list here and get started on your path to an advanced philosophy degree.