All of our graduates earn a B.A. in Philosophy, with some earning a concentration in Religion. Once they graduate, they take disparate paths. Most majors are somewhat professionally driven and have identified industries that interest them. Philosophical training is the best preparation for law school, so many take that path. Many medical schools are now especially interested in students who have taken the required science courses but have majored in philosophy or religion, so we have an increasing number of majors who plan on pre-health careers.
Tech companies and many businesses are also increasingly calling for humanists rather than coders. Many of our majors pursue graduate school in philosophy, religious studies, or theology in preparation for specific academic or ministerial lives. Now, a few students are free-spirited and meander for some time, searching for that one-of-a-kind job that suits them. This captures the student stereotype that causes worry in parents and friends, but we all know that these students were free-spirited before coming to MSU and studying with us! Regardless, we embrace all our students and help them locate a viable path.
What job will I get when I graduate?
We encourage our majors to think about this question in ways that are different than some other majors. We think there are two questions here: What sorts of careers do I want to prepare myself for? What do I want my first job to be? What kind of work do I want to be doing for the foreseeable future?
A large portion of our students want to continue their schooling, and that we can plan for.
Of the other students, some want to return home and find a job. Others are open to moving to a new place to find work. Still others want to see the world. P&R is going to give you skills that are transportable and useful in any career, but you need to start planning on which path you anticipate taking. If you want to go to your hometown, you need to start making that known to your friends and families and start talking to places about working over the summer and explaining how your skills would work in their organization. If you want to get into a particular industry, then you need to find those organizations and get your foot in the door. Start meeting with the career center now at www.career.msstate.edu. If you want to get out and see the world, seriously consider study abroad (at least once) www.international.msstate.edu/offices/study-abroad
Now, some of our majors are “free spirits” and they just want to figure things out as they go along. We are happy to help them do so, but for the majors who want a clearer path, we want to encourage them to start reaching out to the industries and organizations they are most interested in by the end of their sophomore year. We present lots of data showing that our students are prized, but the students need to do the work of finding those who will prize them and making them know that they are available.
Scholarly: If you are interested in pursuing graduate study in philosophy or religion, it is essential that you let a faculty member know as soon as possible. These fields are extremely competitive, so students should begin planning for the application process early in their junior year.
Graduate School in PHI (Masters, Ph.D.)
Many students get exposed to philosophy for the first time and get hooked. They can’t imagine any other career being more fulfilling than studying philosophy for the rest of their lives in a professional capacity. Others get hooked and really want to see what such a life would be like. We get it—we clearly experienced something similar! Students with this sort of interest should contact a professor right away and let them know.
What that professor tells you will be sobering. It’s hard for students to understand just how difficult it can be to get accepted into one of the few spots in graduate philosophy programs, let alone secure a permanent job as a professor. If you want to take on this challenge, we want to support you, but it’s imperative that you begin right away in planning for that goal.
For some advice, see schwitzsplinters.blogspot.com/2019/06/applying-to-phd-programs-in-philosophy.html
Graduate School in REL (Masters, Ph.D.)
If you are interested in pursuing graduate level religious studies, consult Dr. Joseph Witt.
Divinity School and Seminary
If you are interested in ministry or seminary, consult Mr. Albert Bisson.
Other fields for double majors
Many of our students have majored with us but pursued graduate school in another discipline. Recently, students have enrolled in graduate programs in Biology, English, Physics, and Psychology.
If you want to go to law school, you should be majoring with us. There is plenty of evidence to support this beyond the connection with scores on the LSAT. Taking logic to prepare for the LSAT is essential, but courses on Ethics, Moral Philosophy, Social/Political Philosophy, and Philosophy of Law are also great options.
Medical and Nursing School
Medical schools are seeking applicants with more than just the science prerequisites. So, as you are completing the recommended courses www.prehealth.msstate.edu bear in mind that schools want doctors who understand the human condition. Religious studies and philosophy are particularly valuable.
Other professional schools
Past graduates have entered into Business schools, Architecture schools, and Library science programs
Public Service: Nonprofits; Government Service (Civil Service; PeaceCorps, Americorps; Military; Intelligence)
Everything else: MSU graduates: Touring musicians, entrepreneurs, counseling, teaching (K-12), management/business, engineering
Other graduates: www.apaonline.org/page/whostudiesphilosophy