Philosopher: Lover of Wisdom

Philosophy teaches you to have the most open of minds–and the most critical and creative.  Two quotes remain close to my heart.  One from a teacher of mine, Gareth Evans: “As a philosopher you can be in any part of the library and nobody can challenge your right to be there”; the other a very famous one from Socrates: “The unexamined life is not worth living”.  Reflecting about things, questioning, challenging dogmas and received opinions, is natural to humans, and central to realizing their common humanity and their individuality.  To that extent, we are by nature naturally philosophers–and `Philosophy’, our discipline, just helps you do it better–is the midwife of your humanity. Try a class!”

Professor Gavin Lawrence,
Former Chair, Department of Philosophy

The undergraduate program in philosophy at UCLA provides a thought-provoking and engaging environment in which to study the great philosophers under our brilliant and world-renowned faculty.

Is it practical to major in philosophy?

Yes! Philosophy majors make an average mid-career salary of $94,300, which is about the same as Chemistry and Marketing majors, and more than Business, Accounting, and Biology majors.
2021 PayScale College Salary Report

What careers do UCLA philosophy majors go into?

As with other humanities majors, the study of philosophy prepares students for a wide range of careers. Philosophy majors learn to analyze complex ideas, write clearly and effectively, construct persuasive arguments, and develop problem-solving skills. Direct experience and skill sets specific to a given career are often learned through internships and in graduate school.

The career possibilities for philosophy majors are nearly limitless. The best way to find out about the career paths of past UCLA philosophy majors is to visit our Alumni Network at http://philosophy.ucla.edu/alumni-friends/alumni-friends-landing-page/. You will find there profiles of alumni who share their career paths and how philosophy has influenced their work and their lives.

In addition, listed below are a few examples of careers our recent graduates have obtained:

  • Counselors and Social Workers
    A master’s degree is often required to get a job as a counselor or social worker. At many schools, any undergraduate degree can provide preparation for a graduate program in counseling or social work.
  • Doctor
    A science major is not a prerequisite to be admitted to medical school. The required science coursework for medical school admission can be completed during or after the undergraduate degree.
  • Lawyer
    Law is a popular career option for philosophy majors at UCLA. Philosophy students outperform almost all other majors on the LSAT.
  • Management Consultant
    Management consultants provide strategies for increasing the efficiency of a company. Entry-level jobs often require a bachelor’s degree, but more advanced positions can require an MBA. Philosophy majors tend to do well on the GMAT, which is the exam required for MBA admission.
  • Marketing Associates and Directors
    It’s not uncommon for individuals to start on this career path as marketing interns during college.
What do alumni say about our program?

“The study of philosophy is effectively the study of asking the right questions. Although philosophy can offer very little in terms of answers, it can offer everything in terms of intellectual breadth. Furthermore, it can prepare the individual for success in nearly any field. My career in medicine has certainly been enriched by my study of ethics, logic and the philosophy of science. At its very foundation, a strong philosophical education will challenge the student to question the nature of existence, being and reality. Through these aforementioned philosophical exercises, the student will become a stronger thinker – a skill far more valuable than can be described in the written word. I truly felt lucky to have studied under the brilliant minds found in the UCLA philosophy department. The fact that Bertrand Russell and Plato still lay next to my bed in the evening suggests that philosophy has left an indelible impact on my life, and I am forever grateful for that.”

–Austin Momii,
Class of 2010