Philosophy majors, rejoice!
Despite what you may have heard from your peers and parents, fear not liberal studies majors; you, too, may land a job after graduation.
Students and staff at GC are breaking the stigma of seemingly “unemployable” majors. Liberal studies, philosophy and history majors are among a few of the pathways GC provides that are commonly associated with unemployment after graduation.
After disclosing their unconventional choice of study, students with these majors brace themselves for the all-too-familiar question: “So, what do you want to do with that?”
“I’m going to get my non-profit certification,” said sophomore Laura Kraynick, a philosophy major. “Eventually I want to own one or start one.”
Kraynick, an ex-mass communications major, plans to intern in Baltimore. She does not regret changing her major to philosophy.
“I’m paying to be here, so I might as well do something I’m interested in,” Kraynick said.
Many students are wondering what their futures will hold when there is no clear-cut job for a designated major.
“From the outside, it’s viewed as a useless major, but once people ask me what I want to do with it, that’s where it becomes more clear,” said junior Marty Wehner, a history major. “I want to teach high school history.”
These so-called “unemployable” majors hold more promise than some might expect.
Approximately half of the 456 GC graduates surveyed in 2018 are employed part-time, full-time or in an internship.15 percent are enrolled in graduate school programs.
The 35 percent are military, job searching, not searching for jobs by choice, or planning to enroll in graduate school.
“I think most of our majors, unless it is something specific like nursing and education, maybe accounting, [don’t have] a clear career path,” said Mary Roberts, director of the career center. “For our 2017 class, the alumni relations office has reported that 100 percent of those completing the [career outcomes] survey were employed or enrolled in graduate school.”
Roberts said that not all students fill out the survey, but a majority of graduate students are accounted for.
Career Outcome surveys are emailed out soon after graduation and again six months later, but the data they collect are reliant upon the graduates to fill out the forms.
“I think that term ‘unemployable major’ is a problematic term,” said Eric Tenbus, dean of the college of Arts and Sciences “That sort of narrative is perpetrated through media and by politics. The corporate world is realizing they need [individuals with well-rounded knowledge], and they can’t shut these majors out. It’s an attractive sound bite for politicians or those who want to push an anti-liberal arts agenda.”
Tenbus said that despite the image of philosophy majors exchanging their copies of Plato’s Republic to for McDonald’s uniforms, “unemployable majors” are important because they provide a range of different perspectives.
The workforce needs people who majored in management, accounting and other technical degrees, but it also requires the critical thinking component of a liberal arts education to complement it.