Careers and Employability Service
Services for current students



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.

Jump to:


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?

Philosophy graduates enter an extremely wide range of roles and sectors. Areas of work employing large numbers include: business and finance, commercial, industrial and public sector management and marketing, sales and advertising.

Employers include:

  • the National Health Service
  • Civil Service
  • advertising, marketing and public relations agencies
  • banks
  • law firms
  • charities
  • publishing firms
  • recruitment agencies, and
  • education establishments.

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.

Types of Jobs - explore roles and sectors


Joe Hesford - philosophy graduate

Joe Hesford, Commercial Finance Manager at Vodaphone, offers advice to arts graduates interested in a business-related career.

Stepping stones from my degree

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.


How can I develop my skills and gain experience?

Regardless of whether you are in the early stages of your course or have recently graduated, developing skills outside your degree will enhance your CV and allow you to provide evidence of these in applications and at interviews. 

University of Nottingham specific examples are listed below:

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 whenOn this course you can also choose to study an optional second year placement module. Watch the video on work placements.

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 Internship Scheme

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 Consultancy Challenge

Nottingham Advantage Award

The Nottingham Advantage Award offers interesting extracurricular modules to develop your employability. With over more than 200 modules across our three campus in the UK, China and Malaysia.

These modules can be general or specific to your degree for example the Unlocking the Potential of Your Philosophy Degree module.

Nottingham Advantage Award

Advice from Nottingham alumni

With our Career Mentoring programme, you can receive invaluable support via email 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.

 Career Mentoring

Enhance your digital skills

Digital skills are essential in many career fields including advertising, publishing, marketing and general commerce. They range from social media to coding and will definitely enhance your employability.

Think about volunteering with the Digital Arts Hub or get involved in the Digital Marketing Academy

More about digital skills

Students' Union

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' Union

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.

Students in Classrooms

Exchanges 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.

Exchange programmes

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.

It's never too late

It is never too late to develop your skills and experience.  If you are no longer at Nottingham, you can access work and volunteering opportunities at home. Depending on your location and what you want to do, your strategy may vary so come and speak to us or arrange a telephone appointment.

Psychometric tests

Many graduate recruiters use psychometric tests during the recruitment and selection process.They are common across all sectors and career fields. Practise will really help your performance.

Use our example aptitude tests


Careers and Employability Service

University of Nottingham
Portland Building, Level D
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 3680
fax: +44 (0) 115 951 3679