The first thing to realize about an undergraduate education is that it’s opportunity for students to study a subject that they are actually interested in and that the first couple of years of an undergraduate education are going to be fairly broad (from a course selection perspective). That is to say, most colleges and universities require that a student take a minimum amount of general education credits. If it were up to me, I’d make it a requirement for all undergraduate students to obtain a dual major and, specifically, one major would be in the humanities and the other would need to be in some applied field such as Engineering, Agriculture, Economics, etc. Universities should be producing thinkers and doers (not just one or the other).
– You will need plenty of self discipline to distil the real gold nuggets from a philosophy major; viz, critical thinking skills and ability to clearly write and communicate.
– No one is going to hand you a job after you graduate with your degree and you will need to work extra hard to turn the skills you learned as a Philosophy major into practical, applicable, knowledge that translates well within the marketplace (sorry, this is just a reality).
– You may need a professional degree if you can’t apply skills learned as an undergraduate into a job category that is in demand. That is to say, you may need to quickly aquire an MBA, JD, or other professional degree to get a job. I graduated from University in the late 1990’s and the .com boom was underway and many jobs were available (this is currently not the case in the US) and I had a practical skill set thanks to work-study position I held for a number of years.
I think the only time I’ve felt negative about studying Philosophy as an undergraduate was during my first two years at University. Studying Philosophy comes with lots of criticism from peers, parents, professors, etc. and it’s especially tough to ignore the negative comments when you’re still new to campus and college life, in general. A typical scenario is your Engineering major roommate constantly bombarding you with questions on why you’re wasting your time studying something so obtuse and unimportant (be ready with thick skin and a couple of good arguments).