“What’s philosophy, and what am I going to do with it?”
“I like history, but I don’t want to teach it. Should I still major in History?”
“Does Political Science lead to careers in anything other than politics?”
We hear questions like this all the time from new and prospective students (and their parents). So please feel free to talk to any of our professors if you’re interested in our programs but aren’t sure how that kind of study will set up you for your career.
But here are two things you’ll probably hear us say, plus some links to further resources:
1. Think about calling, not just career
Jobs and even careers will change over your lifetime. But a Christian liberal arts college like Bethel is meant to help you identify something more enduring: your divine callings from God.
(Callings, plural: not just the work you’ll be paid for, but how you’ll live as a parent and spouse, a citizen, a neighbor, a church member, etc.)
In other words: being a Bethel student is about discovering who you are, not just what you’ll do.
The challenge is learning to listen for the voice doing the calling. Maybe you’ve just always had a passion for politics and a desire to serve others. Maybe you took a high school history class or visited a historic site and felt like you had never enjoyed something so much before. Or maybe you’ll hear that voice in your first year at Bethel, when you take a philosophy course for the first time and want to keep asking questions about truth, justice, and the good life.
And sometimes it takes another person to help you hear your callings: e.g., a professor who sees you thriving in class and encourages you to take the next step in studying that field.
2. Studying history, philosophy, and political science prepares you for a wide variety of careers.
Now, if you feel called to teach middle school or high school students and you enjoy subjects like history, government, or geography, then Social Studies Education 5-12 is probably the major for you. You’ll learn the content and skills you need to succeed in that career, get valuable experience in actual classrooms, get to know professionals in the field, and be licensed by the state of Minnesota.
But our other majors — Business & Political Science, Digital Humanities, History, International Relations, Philosophy, and Political Science — aren’t meant to prepare graduates for any single job. Instead, we’ve found that our graduates follow their interests and passions into our courses and programs, and then find that they’re prepared to find careers in a wide variety of fields.
In a January 2021 survey of our alumni, here’s the kind of work our graduates reported doing:
Some of the jobs held by our alumni: VP of marketing; VP of due diligence; systems engineer; consultant; business process analyst; sales enablement manager
Some of the jobs held by our alumni: teacher; principal; professor; librarian; coach; registrar; admissions director
Law & Government (20%)
Some of the jobs held by our alumni: attorney; military officer; diplomat; city manager; state legislator; congressional staffer; lobbyist
(If you’re particularly interested in practicing law… History, Philosophy, and Political Science are all popular undergraduate fields for law students. Click here to learn more about pre-law at Bethel, or talk to our pre-law advisor, Prof. Matt Kuchem.)
Health Care & Ministry (10%)
Some of the jobs held by our alumni: dentist; pastor; nurse; social worker; chaplain; paramedic
Some of the jobs held by our alumni: social entrepreneur; data analyst; historical interpreter; archivist
How does this happen? How can taking classes in comparative politics or metaphysics or ancient history prepare our students for such a wide variety of careers?
Because most employers aren’t looking for specific college majors. In most fields, employers want to hire people who are skilled in research, writing, and critical thinking — skills that over 90% of our recent alumni say they honed in our courses. And employers often want to see that college graduates can work together on projects related to real-life issues — just like what you’ll do in Applied Humanities Seminar, the capstone course for our majors, or as an intern or teaching assistant.
To Learn More about Careers for History, Philosophy, and Political Science Majors…
One of the things we like to do at CC 4th is to interview our alumni, to let them explain how they picked their major and how those studies at Bethel helped them discern their callings and enter their careers. Here’s a complete list of individual interviews and roundtable conversations we’ve compiled since 2012.
(Note: we’ll be adding Philosophy and Political Science stories in Fall 2021, our first as a merged department. But many of the History majors we’ve interviewed also studied Political Science or Philosophy, and much of what they describe translates across our various disciplines. And you can explore the alumni map at the top of this page to find many more graduates from all our fields.)
Individual Alumni Interviews and Profiles
- Major League Baseball Umpire — Jeff Nelson ’87
- Nautical Archaeologist — Christopher Olson ’87
- Directing a College Library — Kevin McGrew ’88
- Nonprofit and Corporate Research — Jon White ’90
- Insurance and Banking — Travis Hoaglund ’91
- Dean of Student Life — Meloni Rudolph ’94
- Islamic Studies — Amy (Kline-Blount) Poppinga ’99
- College Admissions — Scott Kirchoff ’03 and Bret Hyder ’04
- Corporate Leadership — Brandon Raatikka ’03
- Dentistry — Heidi (Hultstrand) Pound ’04
- The Army JAG Corps — Peter Williams ’04
- VP of Marketing — Tim Goddard ’04
- Graduate Study in Ancient History — Katie (Thostenson) Dunker ’05
- Nonprofit Entrepreneur — Tim Anderson ’05
- Leading Worship — Andene (Christopherson) O’Neil ’05
- Teaching High School Social Studies — either straight out of college (Emily Osborne ’06) or by going back to school for a master’s in teaching (Heidi (Pound) Louwsma ’05)
- Teach English in China — Michael Bumann ’06
- Social Work — Joylynn (Corum) Israel ’07 and Lauren Peffley ’09
- Financial Planning — Brandon Marcott ’07
- Public History and Museum Studies — Ashley Wyatt ’09
- Minor League Baseball Executive — Ben Beecken ’10
- Magazine Editor and Publications Coordinator — Tim Krueger ’10
- AmeriCorps — Amy Arends ’10 and Jacob Manning ’15
- Congressional Staff — Caleb Graff ’10
- Historical Interpretive Coordinator — Dana Morrison-Lorenz ’12
Roundtable Discussions with Multiple Alumni in a Field
- Graduate School in History: Noel Stringham ’07 (PhD, U. Virginia), Katie Thostenson ’05 (doctoral candidate, U. Edinburgh), Ben Wright ’05 (PhD, Rice University)
- Law School and Legal Careers: Wade Adamson ’09 (William Mitchell Law School; Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP); Gina Schulz ’07 (University of Michigan Law School; Minnesota Board of Public Defense); Aaron Thom ’08 (University of Minnesota Law School; Thom Ellingson PLLP)
- Teaching Middle and High School: Zach Haskins ’14 (Shakopee High School), Joe Held ’13 (Centennial High School), Micayla Moore ’16 (Minnetonka Middle School West), Daniel Rimmereid ’15 (Franklin Middle School – Minneapolis), Kelly Van Wyk ’15 (MOC-Floyd Valley Middle School – Alton, IA)
- Middle and High School Principal — Bart Becker ’01 (Maple Grove Senior High School) and Dave Lutz ’07 (Wayzata West Middle School)