The ability to question and to think, nurtured through the study of Philosophy, is increasingly sought after in high growth sectors such as technology.

Philosophy students examine fundamental questions about knowledge, reality, and existence. They explore the history of ideas and the connection to modern ethical issues such as war, abortion, and euthanasia.

Students develop skills in strategic thinking, logical and abstract reasoning, and critical analysis, while examining an issue from all sides.

Skills such as these are systematically tested for in many employers’ recruitment programmes. Students also learn to communicate ideas, arguments, and information cohesively and persuasively, in both verbal and written forms.

Roles and career pathways

Philosophy graduates work in a wide range of roles that use their inquiring approach, creative and analytical thinking, and communication skills. These skills—alongside practical skills in logic, reasoning, and decision making—make them highly valuable in sectors such as law, justice, business, community services, education, and IT.

Combining with other subjects

Studying another subject alongside your Philosophy degree can help broaden your employment options and may help determine your career pathway. Complementary subjects for students in Philosophy who are interested in areas such as ethics, art, society, and culture include History, Psychology, Economics, Sociology, Media Studies, Film, Marketing, Criminology, and Political Science.

Students may also consider studying a conjoint degree in Law. Philosophy students interested in logic may also study subjects such as Mathematics, Computer Science, Data Science, or Information Systems. They may work as software developers, business analysts, data analysts, or IT contractors.

Working in organisations

Government ministries employ Philosophy graduates in policy, stakeholder relations, communications, and research analyst or advisory roles. First roles for those with undergraduate degrees may be in administration or coordination.

Philosophy graduates may also work as community advocates, intelligence analysts, management consultants, organisational development advisers, communications advisers, web content writers, journalists, tutors, programme coordinators, customer service managers, or university faculty administrators.

Postgraduate study

Studying Philosophy at postgraduate level—for example, through an Honours or Master’s degree—is helpful for a number of policy and research roles where specialised, in-depth analysis is important.

For those students wanting to enter teaching, a postgraduate qualification is required. For secondary school teaching, at least two approved teachable subjects need to be completed during their degree. For more information see Teaching.

Where Philosophy graduates work

Philosophy graduates work across the private and public sectors in a variety of organisations. They may work in non-profit organisations, government ministries, professional services firms, universities, small or medium-size businesses, or they may be self employed.

Recent Philosophy graduates have worked in organisations such as:

Build relevant skills and experience

Part-time work and volunteering during study all help to increase your job prospects when you graduate.The WFHSS Internship course run by the Wellington Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences helps build practical workplace experience.

Programmes such as Wellington Plus and Wellington International Leadership Programme (WILP) offer opportunities to gain diverse volunteer and leadership experience.

Make career connections

Making connections with individuals and groups during your degree can help you learn more about career and networking opportunities. The Philosophy Programme offers various educational seminars throughout the year that allow for opportunities to network with lecturers and fellow students and to make connections with graduates.

The Wellington Chamber of Commerce and Wellington Young Professionals offer various events and opportunities for networking. The Alumni as Mentors programme for final-year students also helps enhance your connections and employability while studying.

Graduate career stories

Blair Mum with High Court and Parliament in background

Blair Mumm

Philosophy honed Blair’s skills in critical analysis and understanding diverse points of view, leading to work in justice and studying Law.

Portrait of Black Walters.

Blake Walters

Complex critical thinking and effective decision making honed through the study of Philosophy are crucial to Blake’s emergency response role.

Photo of Ushana Jayasuriya. Ushana wears a pink blazer and smiles at the camera. Ushana stands in front of a fence. In the background is a forested hill.

Ushana Jayasuriya

Ushana wields the broad, critical-thinking skills that she developed while studying Philosophy in her role working with and analysing data for Stats NZ.