The lifetime earning power of a philosophy degree, compared with all the others.

The folks at have conducted a pretty impressive study comparing the earning power of virtually every major. Philosophy doesn’t stack up to the top paid major, petroleum engineering, but no one really thought it did. (Although, it is worth reading our earlier post showing that the rate of return on a philosophy major is the same as an engineering major, That fact does equalize the playing field quite a bit.)

The study shows that philosophy is at the top of the humanities heap. In fact, if we read the methodology correctly, philosophy is #75 in mid-career earnings out of 540 majors of all levels. That puts it in the top 13 percent.

“‘We hear again and again that employers value creative problem solving and the ability to deal with ambiguity in their new hires, and I can’t think of another major that would better prepare you with those skills than the study of philosophy. It’s not terribly surprising to see those graduates doing well in the labor market. We’ve seen quite a few executives—CEOs, VPs of Strategy—who studied philosophy as their undergrad program,’ says Lydia Frank, the senior editorial director at PayScale,” as quoted in The Atlantic.

Once again we see that philosophy is a lucrative major with tremendous skills. Unemployment is simply not a factor.

Read the study, here.

Philosophy is a Great Major is funded by private donations. Please give what you can to support it and the Institute for Philosophy in Public Life.

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