Careers for Philosophers
Studying Philosophy offers excellent preparation for a career in a wide variety of different fields, in addition to being immensely enjoyable for its own sake. We are concerned to help our students develop beyond their undergraduate degree, whether that is into employment outside the University or further study in Philosophy or another subject.
What our graduates do
In a recent survey of Philosophy graduates two and five years after graduating, all were in employment. Some of our recent graduates work in journalism, marketing, teaching, law charity and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and the civil service. Others have forged careers in film-making, fundraising, public relations, art and computer science to name just a few destinations.
Meet our alumni
Studying at Sheffield allowed me to walk straight into a job after graduation.
BEN ARSCOTT, BA HISTORY AND PHILOSOPHY
I use skills gained from my degree day to day in questioning structures that are already in place to improve them, and in understanding the viewpoints of different people.
TAMLYN GRIGGS, BA PHILOSOPHY AND PSYCHOLOGY
Philosophy in the Media
Media coverage about philosophy and careers
Blogs about philosophy and careers
Preparing for Your Future
The Philosophy Department is committed to supporting you as you prepare for your future after graduation. At the foundation of preparing for your future are the invaluable transferrable skills you will master through completing your coursework. The Department also puts on a wide variety of opportunities designed for you to explore and prepare for the path where you’ll choose to apply these skills after your degree. In doing so we often partner with the University Careers Service or external partners.
Learn more about these opportunities below:
Every student is assigned a Personal Tutor with whom they are encouraged to meet on a regular basis. Book an appointment with your Tutor to discuss how you’re doing with your skill development and how you might prepare for your future beyond graduation.
Many of our students take advantage of one-on-one meetings put on by the Careers Service. You can have a meeting with a staff member trained specifically to help guide you in selecting and preparing for a career path. Book a session via Career Connect on MUSE.
The Department puts on at least one careers event each semester, inviting recent alumni or employers to campus to discuss what their work involves and how students can prepare for a career in the field. To ensure you’re up-to-date on these events, check your student email, or get in touch with the Departmental Careers Officer.
The Careers Service regularly puts on events in partnership with prospective employers. To keep informed about career fairs and other events of this kind, check out Careers Service’s list of events.
|Modules with career elements
In the second half of this module, students spend time creating lesson plans, leading seminars and reflecting on teaching observations, culminating in the delivery of a three day philosophy conference to school pupils. It’s excellent practical preparation for students interested in a teaching career.
PHI Career Development Program (not for credit)
This online program, which is delivered through MOLE, will introduce you to the many opportunities you have to develop your career prospects during your degree, and will guide you through some practical exercises that will prepare you to identify and secure a career of your choosing after graduation. Each year, you will be automatically enrolled in the module designed for your year unless you request to opt out.
Level 3 Placement Module (20 Credits)
This level 3 module will allow you to gain practical work experience within an NGO/charity or other organisation, while reflecting on how your degree has enabled you to fulfil the duties of the post. This module is currently being developed within the department, to be piloted in Spring 2018 and rolled out more widely from 2019 onwards.
Degree with Employment Experience
The Philosophy Department offers the option for students to spend a year in employment as part of their degree programme. For more details about this programme, see the section on Degrees with Employment Experience on the Careers Service’s placement page.
Students are encouraged to take advantage of summer placement opportunities. To learn more about summer placements and register your interest in one, visit the Careers Service’s placements page.
The Higher Education Achievement Report provides a comprehensive record of your university achievements, including both academic and extra-curricular learning and experience. Every student has a HEAR, and making sure your HEAR is accurate and comprehensive can give employers a more detailed impression of your achievements at University.
Philosophy in the City
Philosophy in the City (‘PinC’) is an award-winning outreach project, run entirely by student volunteers from the University of Sheffield’s Philosophy Department. Volunteering for PinC is a great way to get experience of interacting with people across all walks of life which can help you in your future career.
PhilSoc, the student-run Philosophy Society at the University of Sheffield, puts on a wide range of activities including social, intellectual, and charitable events. Getting involved can help you network with peers, and may present you with opportunities to develop your leadership skills.
Sheffield Philosophy Undergraduate Conference is run each year by the department. It's an excellent opportunity to experience presenting one of your own papers to an interested group of peers and/or to be involved in organising the event.
PhilonoUS Undergraduate Journal
PhilonoUS is run by Philosophy undergraduates and features papers from undergraduates around the world. Being part of the editorial team is a great way to develop leadership and organisational skills.
Philosophical Projects Modules
In Year 3, the Department offers Philosophical Projects modules in each semester. These are inquiry-based learning modules in which students will engage in primarily self-directed work, culminating in a long essay. They offer students the opportunity to develop skills relevant for research.
Sheffield’s Undergraduate Research Experience scheme offers students the opportunity to take part in "real life" research projects in subject areas that are of special interest, and to experience what it's like to work in partnership with academic staff or collaboratively in a research group.
In Year 3, students have the opportunity to be assessed by a 4500-6000 word long essay in a maximum of three modules. This option is designed to enable students to pursue a chosen topic in greater depth than normal, and to test out their aptitude for graduate-level work.
The Philosophy Department encourages students to participate in the University’s eMentoring scheme, where current students are paired with recent alumni mentors from whom they can learn about specific careers.
Carrying on in Philosophy
In a competitive field, a postgraduate degree will often give you the edge. Many of our graduates go on to further study, either in Sheffield or in other departments in the UK and abroad. The most common next step in postgraduate work is to take an MA and our department offers an MA in Philosophy (allowing you to specialise in any of a wide range of areas of the subject), and interdisciplinary MAs in Political Theory and Cognitive Studies. Sheffield has a very strong, yet friendly, graduate school, with one of the best programmes in the country; students often go straight on to a PhD from the MA. Staff can also advise on other Philosophy departments, for those thinking of leaving Sheffield after your first degree.
Find out more about staying on at Sheffield for postgraduate study in Philosophy.
Departmental Careers Advisor
Our Departmental careers advisor is Ryan Byerly, who would be happy to see you to discuss any questions you might have.