Why study PHRE?

… if I went back to college today, I think I would probably major in comparative religion, because that’s how integrated it is in everything that we are working on and deciding and thinking about in life today.

— John Kerry, United States Secretary of State, August 7, 2013

Philosophical issues touch on every aspect of life — including issues about what sort of creatures we are and could become, what we can know of ourselves and others, how we should treat one another, whether we are capable of forming a better society and what that would look like, and the significance of our mortality… A philosophy education introduces students to captivating ideas and perennial questions while imparting crucial skills of analysis, argumentation, clarity, and precision. In its capacity both to stimulate and to discipline the imagination, training in philosophy empowers students to enter any career, while enriching their entire lives by opening up new avenues of thought and fresh possibilities for living.

— Seana Shiffrin, Department Chair, Dept. of Philosophy, UCLA

Philosophy changes lives. Over the years, hundreds of students have told me that taking one of my courses has changed the direction of their life, leading them to live in accordance with values that they would not have had, or perhaps would not have articulated if they had not taken the course. Some of them have then pursued different careers, or changed what they eat, or what they spend money on (or donate money to). What subjects other than philosophy can do that?

Peter Singer, Professor of Philosophy, Princeton University and the University of Melbourne

So… what good is a degree in Philosophy and Religion?

We’re glad you asked!

The following are some great places to look for reassuring answers to some of your deepest questions about the value of a Philosophy and Religion degree.

Note that while many of the answers are about degrees in philosophy, the same skills one develops in philosophy courses make the answers equally applicable to a degree in Philosophy and Religion.

More Resources

Here are some great graphs and charts illustrating the value of a PHRE education.

For those looking for advice about non-academic opportunities with a PHRE degree, check out the American Philosophical Association’s “Beyond Academia” webpage.

Finally, there are many famous people with degrees in philosophy including the founder of the PopSockets company who is a former philosophy professor.