Philosophy PhD Programs: Brown University and Ohio State University

In this blog post, and hopefully in future weekly blogposts, I will provide some detailed, up-to-date information about two philosophy PhD programs. This week's picks are Brown University and Ohio State University. These programs were chosen randomly, using an app called "Pickster." (Next week's picks are listed at the bottom of this post.) I updated this information myself, using the program's placement page and what I could find online. I plan to construct these posts with an eye to what can be seen about the programs from the APDA data set alone. This information has come from several sources, including current students and graduates. Prospective graduate students should look at the websites for the programs, linked above, for more complete information. The running tally includes select numbers from all of the programs covered so far.

tl;dr

  • Brown's academic placement record for this period is stronger than Ohio State's, but both fall below the overall placement rate
  • Brown and Ohio State have a similar area of specialization profile (majority in LEMM, followed by Value Theory), but the majority of Brown graduates now in permanent positions specialized in Value Theory
  • Brown is stronger in racial and ethnic diversity, and has become stronger in gender diversity, but Ohio State is stronger in socioeconomic diversity
  • Ohio State students rated their own program higher than Brown students, both overall and on specific metrics

Overall placement, 2012-present
Brown University appears to have had 27 graduates in this period, whereas Ohio State University has had 29. Of these, Brown has placed 8 into tenure-track or other permanent academic positions (30%), with 4 of these in programs that offer a PhD in philosophy (15%). Ohio State has placed 6 into permanent academic positions (21%), and 0 in programs with a PhD. Of Brown's other graduates, 4 are now in postdoctoral or fellowship positions, 9 are in other temporary academic positions, and 6 are in nonacademic positions. Of Ohio State's other graduates, 3 are in postdoctoral or fellowship positions, 12 are in other temporary academic positions, and 8 are in nonacademic positions.

Note that the overall proportion of 2012-2016 graduates from the 135 programs tracked by APDA in permanent academic positions is 36%, with 11% in PhD granting programs.

Areas of Specialization, by Category
Including all past and current students in the APDA database, 64% of Brown students are in LEMM, 34% are in Value Theory, 2% are in History and Traditions, and 0% Science, Logic and Math. 41% of Ohio State students are in LEMM, 31% are in Value Theory, 17% are in History and Traditions, and 10% are in Science, Logic, and Math. Of Brown's graduates 2012 onward placed into permanent academic positions, 3 were in LEMM and 5 were in Value Theory. Of Ohio State's graduates 2012 onward placed into permanent academic positions, 5 were in LEMM and 1 was in Science, Logic, and Math.

Diversity
Including all past graduates, 18% of Brown graduates are women and 24% of Ohio State graduates are women. Including only current students, 35% of Brown students are women, and 11% of Ohio State students are women.

29% is the overall proportion reported by APDA in 2017.

Including all past graduates and current students, 29% of those who answered questions about race and ethnicity from Brown identified as something other than white, non-Hispanic. 7% of those from Ohio State identified as something other than white, non-Hispanic.

13% is the overall proportion reported by APDA in 2017.

None of the past or current Brown students who answered survey questions about socioeconomic status were first generation college students, but 25% of the Ohio state students were. Similarly, all of the Brown students identified as middle or upper middle SES, whereas Ohio students spanned the lower middle to upper middle categories.

Brown students provided two public comments on how philosophy could be more inclusive:

I count myself as politically quite liberal, but we need to make it the case that conservative members of the discipline can speak freely without fear of serious repercussion or derision. This is currently not the case.
All faculty should receive training about implicit bias. Faculty should be made aware of the demographic realities of our field. Faculty should be asked to develop inclusive pedagogies.

Ohio State students provided one:

Hard to say. I am from the dominant group (white, cis-male), so I surely have some blind spots and I no doubt make mistakes, even while intending only what is right and good. I suppose that as a start, I need to sit back, listen, and then do my part to implement changes recommended by those who are better informed.

Program Rating
In response to the question: "How likely would you be to recommend the program from which you obtained or will obtain your PhD to prospective philosophy students?" past and current Brown students selected "neither likely nor unlikely," on average (3.2). Ohio students selected something between "somewhat likely" and "definitely would recommend" (4.5).

"Somewhat likely," 4.0, is the average rating reported in 2017.

In response to: "Rate your satisfaction with the advice and preparation this program provides to its graduate students for undergraduate teaching," 50% of Brown students selected "neutral" and 50% selected "unsatisfied." Around 42% of Ohio State students selected "neutral," 42% selected "satisfied," and 17% selected "very satisfied."

In response to: "Rate your satisfaction with the advice and preparation this program provides to its graduate students for academic research," 60% of Brown students selected "satisfied," and 40% selected "neutral" or "unsatisfied." 83% of Ohio State students selected "satisfied" or "very satisfied" and 17% selected "neutral."

In response to: "Rate your satisfaction with the financial support this program provides for its graduate students," 60% of Brown students selected "satisfied" or "very satisfied" and 40% selected "neutral" or "unsatisfied." 83% of Ohio State students selected "satisfied" or "very satisfied" and 17% selected "neutral."

One Brown student left a public comment about their program:

The fellow students are supportive and the faculty is available and happy to meet and talk with their students.

Next week I hope to look at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Princeton University. Feedback is welcome, at apda@ucmerced.edu.