One of the attractions of studying philosophy is that you get to ask big questions that intelligent and inquisitive people wonder about. What can you know for sure? Is everything explained by science? What makes actions right or wrong? Does God exist? What kind of life should I lead? When you study philosophy, you learn what some of the great thinkers have said about such issues, but you also learn some of the skills involved in examining fundamental assumptions for yourself and trying to find answers that satisfy you.
Philosophy teaches you skills that are applicable to many pursuits. For example, it teaches you to examine things from many perspectives and to question what is often taken for granted. It stresses the importance of trying to understand viewpoints that differ from your own. It places a high value on communicating clearly and precisely and offering reasoned support for your views. It puts you in the habit of using logic to evaluate your own reasons for believing something, as well as reasons offered by others.
Although the philosophy undergraduate major does not prepare you for a specific career in the way a major such as accounting does, it is one of the best kinds of preparation for a variety of careers in which you can put philosophical thinking skills to use. Philosophy majors from Southern Miss have gone on to become college professors, strategic planning directors, administrators in educational and health care organizations, lawyers, diplomats, business owners and managers, ministers, military officers, and more.
Some fields require additional academic or professional study beyond the undergraduate degree, and philosophy majors tend to do very well on graduate and professional school exams. (see "What Can You Do with a Philosophy Major?") In addition to the traditional major in philosophy, we also offer a version of the philosophy major with a pre-law area of emphasis.