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Degree Overview: Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Degree in Philosophy

Majors Overview August 12, 2014

Receive information about a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree program in Philosophy and its coursework, career choices, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Degree Programs in Philosophy

Students enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) program in Philosophy question and scrutinize areas of thought, such as metaphysics, ethics, and logic. Students are often challenged to analyze everyday topic areas, in addition to concepts that are more theoretical or obscure.

Classroom discussions, essays and exams are utilized by instructors while encouraging decision making by students on issues central to existence and human thought. Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma.


Coursework covers such concepts as the history of philosophy, metaphysics, aesthetics, and knowledge theory.
Many programs offer dedicated courses for particular philosophers; philosophers such as Descartes, Sartre, Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, Hume and Kant. Core coursework usually covers topic areas such as:

•Ethical theories
•Western Philosophy
•Continental rationalism
•Comparative religion
•Modern philosophy
•Early philosophy
•Analytic philosophy

Career Choices

Through BA programs in Philosophy, students are helped in the understanding of human values and analytical thinking skills, rather than in preparing them for a particular career. Those who complete the program can seek employment in numerous fields including writing, service, academia and business. They can choose from positions such as:

•Civil servant
•High school teacher
•Nonfiction writer

Job and Wage Outlook

A weak job growth rate of 6% has been predicted for writers and authors, over the 2010-2020 decade – the low rate is ascribed to the shrinking nature of the publishing industry that could lead to fewer opportunities for employment with established magazines and newspapers. In 2012, these professionals brought home a median wage of $55,940, ranging between a minimum of $27,770 in the 10th percentile to $117,860 in the 90th.

Over 1.7 million people have been employed in civil servant jobs, excluding the military and postal workers, by the government. High school teachers earn $57,770 on average; the wage varies by experience and location (BLS). A job growth rate of 7% has been predicted for these professionals, over the 2010-2020 decade, with the low prospect ascribed to the expected population decline in the country. Individuals wishing to teach in public schools would need teaching certification and more schooling.

Continuing Education Choices

Those who graduate from the bachelor’s degree program may seek continued education by earning a master’s degree or doctorate in philosophy whereby their critical thinking can grow even as they learn about various philosophical topics, including metaphysics, logic, value theory, and historical philosophy. Graduate students collaborate with faculty members while composing dissertations or thesis projects.

While certification is mandatory for those seeking teaching jobs at public schools, certification norms vary from state to state. However, standard requirements include completion of instruction on teaching methods, earning a bachelor’s degree and passing state tests covering philosophy and content.

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