Critical thinking and lucid argument are skills inherent in the
study of philosophy and can be successfully applied to a variety
of career opportunities. Learn more about your options and how
we can support you on your journey.
For many students who choose to study philosophy, the decision is not often a vocational one. However, many skills are developed on your degree course and therefore career options are very open-ended.
You may be studying philosophy in combination with another subject so be mindful of the skills and knowledge gained from both disciplines.
What skills will I gain during my degree?
The skills gained from studying philosophy are transferable to a wide range of areas which means that graduates can, and do enter a diverse range of roles and sectors.
A philosophy graduate typically will have the ability to:
- research information using a variety of digital and print sources.
- analyse and construct sound arguments
- distinguish fine differences between view points and find common ground
- present ideas convincingly through well-constructed, systematic arguments
- write clearly and persuasively
- generate ideas and come up with solutions to problems
- collaborate with others and be open to new ideas and new ways of thinking
- be self-motivated with the capacity for independent study and thought
- prioritise work and meet deadlines
- reflect upon situations and identify opportunities for further knowledge and personal development
It is important that you can talk about these skills on application forms and in interviews.
What are my career options? With video of Joe Hesford, alumnus
Philosophy graduates enter an extremely wide range of roles and sectors. Of those going into the workplace, the range of occupations and sectors entered include:
- commercial, industrial and public sector management
- business and finance including banking
- education including teaching
- HR and recruitment
- sales and marketing
- media, publishing and public relations
- charities and heritage
- local and national government including the Civil Service
Career paths - explore roles and sectors
Prospects - for career options and job profiles
Joe Hesford - philosophy graduate
Joe Hesford, Commercial Finance Manager at Vodaphone, offers advice to arts graduates interested in a business-related career.
It is true to say that many philosophy graduates (and other subjects) take some time building their career through a series of roles to get to a specific career where they want to be or even to decide what job suits them.
This could be due to a variety of reasons for example: the sector they want to enter requires an entry-level position (for example: heritage, media roles and publishing) or they are saving up to fund a postgraduate course or travel and therefore their first destination is a stop gap.
Andrew Schafer, Product Specialist at Cloudflare
During my studies I had to read what felt like the most difficult articles and books on the planet. This type of learning translated well into a job in tech because I'm reading extremely complicated documents at work.
What are my further study options?
Around one quarter of philosophy graduates tend to go on to full-time further study and a small number combine study with work. This is to either pursue an academic interest or to gain an essential qualification for a specific career area. Popular areas for further study are law conversion, teacher training, journalism and higher philosophy degrees.
Postgraduate study or training can allow you to:
- develop your skills and current subject knowledge further
- enter certain careers by building expertise in a specific subject
- switch careers, by training or building skills in a new subject
It's important to understand your reasons for studying at postgraduate level and to research opportunities and the value of postgraduate study in your sector before applying.
Masters funding is available (eligibility criteria exists) in the form of a postgraduate loan, but you can only access this funding once hence the importance of choosing your course carefully. If you'd like to talk this through with an adviser, arrange an appointment to speak to us.
Careers blog: Thinking About Postgraduate Study?
Find out more about further study
How can I build my skills and experience?
The opportunities listed are primarily aimed at current students living in the Nottingham area. If you are well into your final year, graduated or are no longer in Nottingham, you can access work and volunteering options in your home area.
Depending on your location and what you want to do, your strategy to develop your skills and experience may vary. You are welcome to have a chat with us, so just arrange an appointment.
Work experience and volunteering
Depending on what area of work or role you might be interested in, and where, there will be specific strategies, from speculative applications to formal processes you need to be familiar with.
Work experience - what, how and when
Nottingham Internship Scheme
We work closely with a huge variety of local and national businesses to bring you an exciting range of internship opportunities, for both current students and recent graduates.
Nottingham Consultancy Challenge
The Nottingham Consultancy Challenge offers the chance for you to gain hands-on experience of managing a short term project for a local business or charity as part of a multi-disciplinary team.
Nottingham Advantage Award
The Nottingham Advantage Award offers interesting extracurricular modules to develop and reflect on your employability. With over more than 200 modules across our three campus in the UK, China and Malaysia.
Advice from Nottingham alumni
With our Careers Mentoring programme, you can receive invaluable support from an alumnus while considering your career options. Choose a mentor in the career area that interests you and get a real insight into the sector.
The Students’ Union offers a wide range of volunteering options both locally and internationally which you can fit around your studies.
Alternatively you could get involved in a society or sports club - there's so many, you're bound to find one that interests you!
Students in Classrooms
There are three initiatives which will give you the opportunity to work in a local educational setting. These initiatives support the academic attainment and raise the aspirations of primary and secondary pupils, whilst developing the skills and employability of those involved.
These are excellent opportunities for students considering teaching, youth work or community engagement as a career.
Exchange programmes overseas
Undertake an exchange semester in another country and broaden your horizons. Talk to your tutors and find out more about the programmes available from the International Office.
Optional placement year
You can now undertake an optional placement year as part of your degree at the end of your penultimate year of study. The placement can be aligned to your degree discipline or related to your career aspirations. Speak to a career adviser or your school for more information.
Developing your digital skills
Digital skills are highly valued by employers. Develop your skills through volunteering, online courses through Google or providers such as FutureLearn, or by getting involved in the Digital Marketing Academy.
If you're not sure where to start, begin by assessing your digital capability and identifying your next steps.
How can I prepare for making job applications?
We can help you with all stages of the application, from reviewing your CV and/or application form to interview coaching and assessment centre practice.
Many graduate recruiters also use psychometric tests during the recruitment and selection process. They are common across all sectors and career fields. Practise will really help your performance.