Erudera's Complete Guide to Studying Philosophy in The US
A philosophy degree from any of the thousands of US universities will equip you with the necessary skills to undertake any career path. You will learn in an environment that encourages growth and support. Universities in the United States rank among the top universities for philosophy in the world, which is what attracts international students to pursue their qualifications here. Philosophy is quite an interesting discipline, which uses logic and reason to analyze the human experience of the world. For those who are especially interested in what philosophy explores, studying at US universities would give them a chance to grow and excel in their chosen career path.
Here’s everything you need to know about studying philosophy in the United States:
Reasons to Study Philosophy in United States
Challenging and Interesting Philosophy Programs
The United States has thousands of colleges and universities providing degrees in philosophy for ambitious prospective students. Whether you are interested in undergraduate or postgraduate programs, you will have countless options to choose from in the US. You probably already know philosophy explores the fundamentals of existence and some of the deepest questions asked by human beings. Philosophy programs at US universities are equipped with highly qualified faculty who will help you broaden your horizons and give you insight into how some of the most significant philosophers of the world used to think. Even if you are not particularly interested in philosophy, you are likely to find yourself intrigued with everything that philosophy explores and the quality of philosophy programs in the US.
Variety of Financially-Rewarding Career Path Opportunities
A degree in philosophy from US universities opens the door to many career paths in the US and beyond. If you wish to find employment in the US after finishing your studies, you will find that your degree is useful across several different sectors. A philosophy degree can even make it easier for you to succeed at law school precisely because philosophy majors have an astonishing ability to think and write clearly as well as analyze and present arguments concisely. But even if you wish to pursue a career related to philosophy, such as in academia, it is safe to say that salaries in the US are rather rewarding (philosophy professors earn a median salary of $90,000 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics). You can undertake other career paths with such a degree, including job titles such as business professional, public relations director, researcher, social worker, foreign service officer, etc.
Intriguing and Stimulating Study Environment
The US is home to over a million international students across all courses and degree programs. Simply being surrounded by a multicultural environment like this will teach you so much about different cultures, traditions, and viewpoints. This, in turn, will help you become a more knowledgeable individual, which will be an advantage in your professional career, regardless of the career path you choose. The study environment in the US is highly stimulating, simply because this country attracts some of the greatest minds in the world. In addition, the academic staff is highly qualified and experienced. You will learn how to do research, organize information, write clearly, communicate effectively, and elicit overlooked assumptions. These will help you build your career, whether in academia or outside of it.
Admission requirements to study philosophy in the United States vary from institution to institution. Regardless of the country they come from; students will need a high school diploma to apply for admission to a philosophy undergraduate program in the US. Then, depending on the school, other requirements such as minimum GPA or passing specific classes (English, natural science subjects, social science, etc.) may also be required. Some admission boards also base their decision on ACT/SAT scores; however, these tests are optional for some universities. Universities may also ask students to submit their statement of purpose as well as letters of recommendation.
Keep in mind that if you are a non-native speaker of English, you must also provide proof of English language proficiency through tests like IELTS or TOEFL.
More and more universities in the United States are using the Common App to receive their applications. The Common App is a college admission application for undergraduate programs. Students wishing to apply to philosophy programs in the United States may use this platform to create an account, log in and work on their application. Many experts recommend that the ideal time to start preparing for your university application is the beginning of your senior year of high school (or the summer before your senior year of high school).
Degree Duration: How Long Does It Take to Study Philosophy in United States?
An undergraduate philosophy degree in the US takes around four years to complete for students who are enrolled in full-time programs. Of course, a part-time degree will take longer to complete. Philosophy students in the US usually follow the typical pattern of general education classes in the first two years of their undergraduate degree and major-focused courses during their final two years of studies. Students will have courses on ancient philosophy, modern philosophy, ethics, epistemology, metaphysics, etc.
A master’s degree in philosophy will take one to two years to complete. Moreover, most PhD programs take four years to complete and culminate in a doctoral dissertation.
Tuition Fees: How Much Does It Cost to Study Philosophy in United States?
The tuition and fees for philosophy programs in the United States depend primarily on the higher education institution. Therefore, tuition fees change from one university to another. More competitive and prestigious universities usually have higher tuition fees. Generally, the average annual cost of tuition and fees for philosophy programs is around $8,300 for in-state students and $29,500 for out-of-state students. The average cost of tuition and fees for graduate programs is approximately $20,600 per year. As a prospective philosophy student in the US, you must also consider the cost of accommodation, personal expenses, as well as books/supplies.
Philosophy Career Prospects in United States
Philosophy graduates in the United States can choose from a wide range of career options. Students who wish to pursue a career in academia, meaning teach at universities, must be in possession of a PhD degree. With a master’s degree, you will be able to find employment in fields like ethics, secondary school education, business, social work, foreign affairs, etc. The skills you learn during your philosophy program are highly transferable across different sectors. Skills like critical thinking, argumentation, problem-solving, research and writing skills are valued across different industries and job titles, especially when earned during your studies in the US. Employers worldwide value qualifications from the US, meaning employment prospects are good even outside the United States.