What can be done with an undergraduate Philosophy degree? Anything!

In pursuit of reasonable answers to fundamental questions, a student of Philosophy develops the ability to read critically, to reason well both orally and through analytical writing, and to ask relevant and interesting questions. While the development of these skills may be personally beneficial in enhancing one's self-understanding, they translate into specific skills that are vital to success in many professions. After all, everyone has to do these things at least occasionally. While a great many Philosophy majors do go on to a graduate program (in Philosophy, law, medicine, etc.) where these skills are used in an academic or an otherwise obvious way on a daily basis, there are a host of fields where the skills honed as a Philosophy major are the gateway to professional success. Some of those fields might surprise you. Compiling a list of well-known Philosophers is easy. But contemporary Philosophers tend not to be famous. Here is a list of some famous contemporary Philosophy majors who have used their critical thinking skills to "some" success:

  • Rahm Emanuel -- Mayor of Chicago, IL
  • David Souter -- Supreme Court Justice
  • Wes Anderson -- Filmmaker, writer
  • Mary Higgins Clark -- Mystery writer
  • Ethan Coen -- Oscar winning filmmaker, writer
  • Elie Wiesel -- Writer
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. -- Civil rights Leader and Nobel laureate
  • Pope John Paul II -- Pope
  • Phil Jackson -- All-time winning coach of the NBA
  • Woody Allen -- Oscar winning filmmaker, writer, actor
  • Harrison Ford -- Actor
  • Bruce Lee -- Actor and martial arts expert
  • Jay Leno -- Comedian and host of The Tonight Show
  • Gene Siskel -- Film critic
  • Steve Martin -- Comedian, actor
  • Dennis Miller -- Comedian
  • Susan Sarandon -- Oscar winning actress
  • Alex Trebek -- Host of Jeopardy
  • David Duchovny -- Actor
  • Carl Icahn -- Business magnate
  • Terrence Malick -- Filmmaker, director, and screenwriter

Admittedly, by majoring or minoring in Philosophy, you probably will not win an Academy Award, an Emmy Award, an NBA championship, a Nobel Prize, or even become a millionaire. But the real "reward" from pursuing Philosophy does not come from external sources. It comes from within. And it comes from pursuing knowledge for its own sake. If this or the skills you master by being a Philosophy major matter to you, then we as a department welcome you. The Department of Philosophy at the University of New Orleans offers a variety of courses to help the student develop their own philosophical interests, as well as cultivate their basic skills for philosophizing and reasoning -- skills that will translate into success no matter what you choose to do.