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Careers of Philosophy Graduates

In addition to pursuing careers as professional philosophers, many of our majors pursue vocations in one of the following areas:

One indication of the broad usefulness of the skills developed in the philosophy major is that our majors have been just as successful in business fields as they have been in the more traditional professions of law, medicine, teaching, and the clergy. While the philosophy major does not give students immediate entry into a business career, philosophy majors' skills in analytic and creative thinking, as well as their strong reading, writing, and speaking abilities, often help them rise quickly in business organizations, once they get a starting position.

Michael Carroll, a former UD philosophy graduate who is now senior vice president and chief administrative officer for Rodale Publishing, says that philosophical thinking has been a key to his success in the corporate world, allowing him to question systematically, assess situations logically, use language well, and develop creative solutions for problems.

The companies for which our alumni work include American Standard, AT&T, BankOne, Bethlehem Steel, Control Data, Cray Research, DuPont, Eastman Kodak, IBM, Lexis-Nexis, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance, Owens-Corning, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Prudential, Rockwell International, and Warner-Lambert.  They hold virtually every kind of position imaginable: CEO, president, senior vice president, chief administrative officer, director of human resources, senior investment analyst, audit manager, financial services consultant, director of programming management, corporate executive for social services, environmental analyst, systems analyst, sales representative, accountant, and insurance agent.

Some of our philosophy alumni have started their own businesses.  David Biche, who runs a prosperous construction company, Biche Custom Construction, tells us that he uses his philosophical training daily when negotiating with clients and subcontractors and when making decisions.

University of Dayton philosophy graduates have become professors in universities and colleges including Case Western, Indiana, LeMoyne, Massachusetts, Miami, Michigan State, North Carolina/Greensboro, Penn State, Providence, and Widener.  Some have returned to join the faculty at UD. Some of our philosophy graduates have made careers teaching at community colleges including Allegheny County, Clark County, Cuyahoga County, Morris Valley, Roxbury, Sinclair, and Virginia Beach.

Other philosophy majors have become secondary or elementary school teachers in public or private schools in many parts of the country, such as Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton, Dubuque (IA), Fairfax (VA), Hollywood (FL), Kettering (OH), Philadelphia (PA), Rockville (MD), Stafford (VA), and Washington (DC).

Some of our philosophy majors have risen to administrative careers in universities or secondary schools. Some of these administrative positions include university president, VP of academic affairs and provost, VP of university advancement, VP of administration and finance, dean of arts and sciences, department chairperson, director of business and professional programs, director of university library, coordinator of career counseling, director of student financial aid, high school principal, assistant to superintendent of education, assistant director of campus ministry, assistant placement director, and student life hall director.

Like philosophy majors elsewhere, our philosophy majors have had much success gaining admission to law schools and medical schools.  No UD philosophy major who applied to law or medical school immediately after graduation has failed to be admitted to some J.D. or M.D. program.  Most of our graduates are accepted in many of the programs to which they apply.

Our majors have been admitted to such law schools as Antioch, Case Western, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland Marshall, Dayton, George Washington, Indiana, New York U., Notre Dame, Ohio State, Texas, Valparaiso, Vanderbilt, and Washington U.

UD philosophy majors who obtained law degrees have taken positions including attorneys in private practice, city solicitor, city counsel, county counsel, deputy general counsel, magistrate, military judge advocate, and public defender.  One of our majors has clerked for a federal judge.

Fewer philosophy majors have pursued vocations in medicine.  Where they have entered medical fields, they have been very successful.  In addition to serving as surgeons, primary care physicians, dentists, nurses, or midwives, our majors have held positions including senior vice president and CEO (St. Francis Health Foundation), mental health program director, director of managerial care, executive director (of mental health agency), family mental health therapist, community mental health center case manager, hospital chaplain, medical ethics consultant, and medical insurance manager.

Patrick McCulloch, a philosophy major who went on to become an orthopedic surgeon, says that studying philosophy helps him with the logical and critical thinking tasks that his work demands.  Anne Rosa, a philosophy major who became a certified nurse-midwife, says that her philosophical training allows her to contextualize and analyze others' situations and lives with a depth and fullness that makes her a more effective and careful caregiver.

Since philosophy majors commonly study theories of political life, the nature of democracy, and the responsibilities of citizenship, quite a few of our majors have become active in public service. Their positions have included: U.S. congressman, deputy general counsel for the FBI, Brazilian federal research director, director of the Bureau of Information Services for the Pennsylvania State Treasury Department, educational researcher and administrator for the U.S. Office of Education, and urban planner for the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.

Other positions in public service that our majors have held include city solicitor, museum project proposal director, air traffic controller, budget specialist, supply logistics manager, police officer, welfare casework instructor, officer in the armed forces, and Peace Corps volunteer.

Philosophy majors have often sought careers in social service agencies as well, working for children's services organizations, community development corporations, Catholic Social Services, the American Red Cross, United Cerebral Palsy, Women in Crisis, and other public and private agencies.

Given UD's Roman Catholic and Marianist identity, it is not surprising that quite a few philosophy majors have been called to religious vocations, both in religious orders and in other church-related positions and agencies.  An undergraduate major in philosophy has long been a traditional path in preparation for seminary study and ordination.

UD philosophy majors have served religious vocations as bishops, priests, religious brothers and sisters, missionaries in the U.S. and abroad, provincial administrators, campus ministers, hospital chaplains, retreat leaders, youth ministers, and religious educators at both the secondary and university levels.

Some of our philosophy majors have also found religious vocations outside of Catholicism.  For example, we count a Jewish rabbi, an Episcopalian priest, and the founder of a Protestant halfway house among our alumni.

Writing is often a central component of philosophy majors' careers. Those who become teachers or scholars write for academic audiences. Outside of academia, there are many kinds of work that value the writing skills developed in the study of philosophy. UD philosophy majors have pursued a variety of careers as professional writers, becoming legal writers, print journalists, newspaper editors, editors for university presses, novelists, public relations consultants, technical writers, media specialists, and publishers.


Department of Philosophy

300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 1546