Why Study Philosophy? | Blog | Varsity Education

Why study philosophy?

Philosophy has been studied for thousands of years, and it evolved independently in a number of the world’s civilisations: India, China, the Middle East, the Americas and, most well known of all, Ancient Greece. The term is derived from the ancient Greek word philosophia, meaning “love of wisdom.”

Philosophy embraces many deep and meaningful questions about reality, morality, the value of human life, politics and society. For some, this is reason enough to study it at university. However, others may wonder what concrete benefits there are to pursuing a degree in philosophy, and what its real-world applications are. Here we’ll look at how studying philosophy can help you thrive in a range of careers, and we’ll explore the reasons why philosophy graduates are actually more sought after than you might’ve thought.

Transferable skills


Philosophy helps students develop crucial critical reasoning, problem-solving, persuasive writing and debating skills. It also helps students to think analytically and requires them to develop sound research methods. It is also a solid foundation for later study and careers. Many philosophy undergraduates go on to study other degrees like politics, economics, business or law at postgraduate level. Graduates in philosophy also command an average starting salary higher than graduates in many other disciplines.

A solid foundation for further study


While studying law at undergraduate level may seem like the obvious starting point for aspiring lawyers, philosophy is in fact a very common degree for students entering law school, and is the most common undergraduate degree held by law students in the United States. It’s well recognised that philosophy degrees provide excellent training in some of the most important skills required for law school. Many leading businessmen and women also studied philosophy before entering the world of work.

Studying philosophy at Oxbridge


Philosophy is included within several Oxford degrees, meaning you don’t need to study it in isolation: it can form just one part of your studies. The most notable of these is Philosophy, Politics and Economics, a course offered by Oxford (but not Cambridge) which has produced many of Britain’s leading politicians. The full list of degrees at Oxford featuring philosophy is as follows:

  • Classics
  • Computer Science and Philosophy
  • Mathematics and Philosophy
  • Philosophy and Modern Languages
  • Philosophy, Politics and Economics
  • Philosophy and Theology
  • Physics and Philosophy
  • Psychology, Philosophy and Linguistics

At Cambridge, philosophy is studied as a single degree subject, covering a number of topics and fields within three years of study. To find out what the philosophy course at Cambridge consists of, click here.

Relevant Articles

Studying PPE at Oxford: A pathway to power?

Read Article

Oxford and Cambridge Traditions

Read Article

5 tips to make the most out of your Varsity Education experience

Read Article