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Courses and Careers in Philosophy

Does philosophy fascinate you? Here are some popular courses and careers in philosophy that will interest you.

Mahesh Ramani

The BA in Philosophy and MA in Philosophy programmes cover a variety of topics like - Philosophy of Religion, Philosophy through the Ages, Western and Eastern Philosophy, Logic and Aesthetics etc.

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“Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is Enlightenment.”
Words of Lao Tzu - a learned man from ancient China.

Philosophy as a subject and a career option in the modern world may sound a bit perplexing. The steady stream of students getting admitted into Philosophy programmes ensures that all leading universities have a strong Philosophy department. This article offers an insight into the

Philosophy programmes offered by leading institutions and the career options available.
As per the “Guardian University Guide Subject Tables 2015” - the top institutions in the UK offering programmes in Philosophy are:

  • University of Cambridge    
  • University of Oxford 
  • University of St Andrews
  • University of Durham
  • Oxford Brookes University

When compared to the UK the popularity of Philosophy as a subject in the USA and Australia is lesser.  The top ranking institutions in the USA offering programmes in Philosophy are:

  • Harvard University
  • University of California, Berkeley (UCB)
  • Princeton University
  • Stanford University
  • Yale University

As per the QS World University Subject Rankings 2014, the top institutions to study Philosophy in Australia are:

  • The Australian National University
  • The University of Queensland
  • The University of Sydney
  • Macquarie University
  • The University of Melbourne

The BA in Philosophy and MA in Philosophy programmes cover a variety of topics like - Philosophy of Religion, Philosophy through the Ages, Western and Eastern Philosophy, Logic, Aesthetics, Science and Philosophy, etc. Most universities offer doctoral programmes in Philosophy as well. Specific modules cover the works of philosophers like Socrates, Aristotle, Kant, Engels, Friedrich Nietzsche, Hegel, etc.

University of St Andrews offers some interesting courses like - BSc (Hons) Biology and Logic & Philosophy of Science and BSc (Hons) Computer Science and Logic & Philosophy of Science.

Why Study Philosophy?

  • Philosophy does not restrict one’s thinking but widens it allowing the student to explore various subjects.
  • Philosophy teaches one to analyse and construct sound arguments and present ideas convincingly.
  • One also learns to identify, absorb and sift complex information.
  • The programmes involve a fair bit of intense writing, so one picks up excellent writing skills as well.

Career Opportunities:

Philosophy graduates are found working in various job-roles and industries. Typical employers include:

  • Advertising and marketing agencies
  • Educational institutions
  • Journalism / News and Media
  • Publishers
  • Recruitment agencies
  • Law firms
  • Banking firms 

Philosophy as a Subject in India:

In India, unfortunately, Philosophy as a subject does not get the respect it deserves. With generation after generation obsessed with engineers, doctors, lawyers and auditors, very few colleges run Philosophy departments now. Even illustrious departments in institutions like Benaras Hindu University and Madras University are seeing a sharp reduction in the number of applicants. It is definitely a worrying trend when we realize that ancient India gave birth to Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism - religions that offer various philosophies of life. Learned masters like Sankara, Ramanuja, Gautama Buddha, and Ramana Maharishi have all found enlightenment in India.  

Currently most of the students who opt for programmes in Philosophy are those students who are preparing for a life in the seminary or a monastic order. With heightened interest among foreign students to learn more about Indian culture, philosophy and religion, we can hope that there will be a revival of Philosophy as a viable subject option in India.

We hope that you found this article useful. Do share your thoughts and feedback in the ‘Comments’ section below. 

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