Careers with philosophy

Learn languages

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All our students can learn languages in a number of ways, including as part of your degree, in evening classes or online at no extra cost, or via Essex Modern Language Certificates.

We actively assist our students with their professional development and search for employment or further study. We encourage you to speak to any member of staff about your plans for the future, but particularly to Fiona Hughes, our careers link in the School and our Director of Employability, or to Lynne Jordan, our dedicated adviser for philosophy in our Employability and Careers Centre.

What can you do with a philosophy degree?

A philosophy degree is highly advantageous and relevant to a wide range of professions. As more and more areas of employment, from government to business, have become aware of the importance of wider ethical and philosophical issues, philosophy graduates are increasingly attractive to employers.

Transferable skills

We encourage you to be aware of the transferable skills you develop during your course. This will be particularly useful for writing CVs, job applications and interviews.

  • As a philosophy graduate, you will be able to:

    • define the task you are engaged in and exclude what is irrelevant;
    • seek and organise the most relevant sources of information;
    • process large volumes of diverse and sometimes conflicting arguments;
    • compare and evaluate different arguments, and assess the limitations of your own position or procedure;
    • write and present verbally succinct and precise accounts of positions, arguments, and their presuppositions and implications;
    • be sensitive to the positions of others and communicate your own views in ways that are accessible to them;
    • think laterally and creatively - see interesting connections and possibilities, and present these clearly rather than as vague hunches;
    • maintain intellectual flexibility and revise your own position if shown to be wrong; and
    • think critically and constructively.

  • The skills philosophy teaches are widely recognised in the media:

    • ‘A mind sharpened by the study of philosophy is ideal for today's workplace’, Times Higher Education
    • ‘Philosophy graduates are suddenly all the rage with employers’, The Guardian
    • ‘What can you do with a degree in Philosophy’, The Guardian
    • ‘Studying philosophy equips you with an adaptable mind and vital life skills’, The Independent.

  • Our graduates go onto to find work in a wide variety of careers:

    • Administration in higher education and local government
    • Army
    • Banking sector
    • Celebrity PR officer
    • Charity and aid work
    • Civil Service
    • Compliance Manager at HM Revenue and Customs
    • Fire service
    • Freelance writer
    • Journalism
    • Law firm
    • Librarianship
    • Lecturer
    • Police force
    • Radio presenter
    • Recruitment consultant
    • Researcher
    • Television presenter
    • Teaching English as a foreign language
    • Teaching/PGCE

Many of our graduates also pursue postgraduate study at Masters and PhD level. Read about the some of the careers paths our graduates followed after leaving the University.

Gain experience during your studies

Our Employability and Careers Centre helps you make the most of all the available opportunities for personal and professional development during your studies, as well as assisting with finding jobs, CVs and making applications.

There are many chances to gain work experience while you study with internships and our frontrunners work placement scheme. We also offer a variety of options for study abroad, while our Languages for All programme allows you to learn a language for free alongside your course.

What our students say

Read how BA Philosophy graduate Josh Gallagher developed his employability during his studies, including with the Big Essex Award:

  • Josh Gallagher, BA Philosophy

    Josh Gallagher

    What made you interested in the Big Essex Award?

    “I completed the award during the final year of my degree to help me get ready to look for graduate employment - employability has been constantly at the forefront of my mind. Participating in the Big Essex Award was the perfect opportunity to get various experiences, develop skills and it allows me to have something to put on my University transcript to set me apart from other candidates.

    What have you achieved through the Big Essex Award?

    “I did many forms of volunteering as part of the Award. They were all in areas which I find enjoyable. It gave me a chance to have this present on my University Transcript as an accredited award, not just some separate activities that I could put on my CV.

    What types of projects have you been involved in?

    “I was spending around five hours per week as a volunteer three separate projects – I was working with the mental health charity ‘Mind’, teaching English to Japanese students on campus and also working with refugees to improve their living quarters. This allowed me to cover a wide variety of skills and gave me the opportunity to experience a variety of cultures and appreciate diversity, which is really sought after by employers, especially in the teaching industry which I am interested in going in to.

    How was your experience?

    “I really enjoyed taking part in the Big Essex Award. I deliberately chose volunteering options which I would like, which meant that it seldom felt as though I was doing anything extra or ‘out of my way’.

    What skills have you developed with the award?

    “I developed a number of skills such as working with a variety of people, recognising and supporting diversity, showing empathy, as well as generally improving my communication skills and interpersonal skills. The experience of volunteering even benefited my research for my dissertation.

    Would you recommend the Big Essex Award to other students?

    “I would definitely encourage students to take part in the Big Essex Award. Even if you haven’t done so in your first or second year, it is never too late to do so - and the skills you learn are invaluable.”

Support after graduation

You can use the services of our Employability and Careers Centre for up to three years after you graduate. Our staff also regularly provide references for our students and graduates to assist with applying for jobs and further study.

Employability events

Students at a careers fair

We have lots of careers events and workshops running this term, all designed to help you develop skills, research future career options and meet employers. Some are one-off annual events, so don't miss out.

frontrunners placements

Frontrunner students gathered round a table

frontrunners is our original placement scheme that offers students paid work opportunities on campus. You'll get on-placement training and great experience to add to your CV.

Essex Interns

Students walking up stairs

Internships are an excellent way to earn money and develop a stand-out CV. Register with us for information on paid internship opportunities with local, national and even international employers.

Employability advice

Our Careers Centre

Our Employability and Careers Centre helps you develop the skills for a successful career. Our friendly staff and excellent resources help you to make informed career choices and to enter your chosen field.