Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Don't Put Philosophy And Religion Majors Together When Calculating Earnings

Look, I don't think money is the best reason to study philosophy... But I do think that the perception that philosophy majors will be delivering pizzas keeps some students from even considering the major. Often it convinces their parents to forbid them from majoring.

It's just an incidental feature of this chart, but here's the kind of thing that happens when you put philosophy and religion majors together for these purposes.

Separate them out, and get more majors in play, and philosophy actually does very, very well. It comes in in the midst of a bunch of majors that are purely vocational/non-academic. It beats a slew of purely vocational majors, some of the sciences, most of the social sciences, and all the rest of the humanities. 45th out of 129 is nothing to sneeze at. If you check out where religion, theology, and biblical studies rank, you'll see why they drag philosophy down.

Again, I don't think money should be the main motive for choosing a major. Some interesting majors don't pay well, and some crap majors do pay well.

But it's good to get the facts straight.

[Turns out this is already being discussed on the Leiter Report.]


Blogger Random Michelle K said...

I (no offense) always thought of Philosophy as major that grounded you for going to grad school (or especially law school). Learning critical thinking skills vs facts.

I wonder if people who get degrees in religion are naturally more likely to go into lower paying fields (ie, going on to become a pastor).

6:45 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Yeah, that's absolutely what it is--or a big part of it, anyway. A significant number of religion students do things like go to seminary...that alone brings the salaries down dramatically. OTOH, lots of philosophy majors go to law school, which brings philosophy salaries up.

Nothing wrong with doing the stuff RS students do...but for purposes of getting data about salaries, it really distorts things to smoosh the two groups together.

9:28 PM  

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