In this blog post I provide some detailed, up-to-date information about two philosophy PhD programs. This week's picks are New York University and University of Utah. These programs were chosen randomly, using an app called "Pickster." (Next week's picks are listed at the bottom of this post.) This information comes from the APDA database, and was updated by my research assistant, Anna Durbin, using the program's placement page and what she could find online. The running tally includes select numbers from all of the programs covered so far.
- NYU is a mid-sized program, about twice as large as Utah
- NYU has very good academic placement, particularly into PhD-granting programs
- Utah students focus on Value Theory, but NYU is split between LEMM and Value Theory
- Utah has above average racial/ethnic and socioeconomic diversity
- Students from both programs are "somewhat likely" to recommend them, with higher scores for NYU in financial support and for Utah in teaching preparation
Overall placement, 2012-present
NYU had 46 PhD graduates in this period, whereas Utah had 19. Of NYU's 46 graduates, 43 went into academic or unknown employment, and they placed 25 of these into tenure-track or other permanent academic positions (58%), with 16 of these in a program that offers a PhD in philosophy (37%). Utah placed 5 of 17 into permanent academic positions (29%), with 1 in a philosophy program with a PhD (6%).
Of NYU's other graduates, 12 are in postdoctoral or fellowship positions, 5 have other temporary academic placements, 3 are in nonacademic positions, and 1 has no or unknown placement.
Of Utah's other graduates, 2 are in postdoctoral or fellowship positions, 9 have other temporary positions, 2 are in nonacademic positions, and 1 has no or unknown placement.
The average salary of NYU graduates is $76,500 and 94% preferred an academic job, whereas the average salary of Utah graduates is $60,889 and 100% preferred an academic job.
The current database values for all 2012 and later graduates now in permanent academic positions, out of those in academic positions overall, is 42%, with 14% in programs that offer a PhD in philosophy.
Areas of Specialization, by Category
Including all past and current students in the APDA database, 54% of NYU students are in LEMM, 36% are in Value Theory, 4% are in History and Traditions, and 6% are in Science, Logic and Math. 23% of Utah students are in LEMM, 38% are in Value Theory, 15% are in History and Traditions, and 23% are in Science, Logic, and Math. For NYU, an equal number of graduates 2012 onward placed into permanent academic positions were in LEMM and Value Theory (40% each), whereas the majority of those from Utah were in Value Theory (60%).
Note that the current database values for all past graduates and current students are 28% in LEMM, 34% in Value Theory, 24% in History and Traditions, and 14% in Science, Logic, and Math.
Including all past graduates and current students, 29% of those from NYU are women, as are 24% of Utah students.
The current database percentage is 31% for all past graduates and current students.
Including all past graduates and current students, 12% of those who answered questions about race and ethnicity from NYU and 23% from Utah identified as something other than White, non-Hispanic.
13% is the overall proportion reported by APDA in 2017. The percentage from the Diversity and Inclusivity survey is 14%. The current database percentage is 20%, but this is likely inflated relative to the true population due to some of our data gathering efforts.
None of those from NYU were first generation college students, but 44% from Utah were.
The percentage of all survey respondents who are first generation college students is 23.4%, compared to 31% for all United States doctoral degree recipients in 2015.
Students from Utah provided one public comment on how philosophy could be more inclusive:
Assuming that philosophy should be inclusive is itself a philosophical assumption. Is inclusiveness merely a subjective desire that is widely shared, or is it objectively valuable? Inclusive along which dimension(s)? Inclusiveness is measured relative to a particular scope of individuals. Without defining the scope or the relevant dimension, this question is literally meaningless.(NYU students did not provide any such comments.)
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 NYU students selected "somewhat likely" (4.3, n=20), as did Utah students (3.9, n=13). Neither program had a moderate or higher correlation between graduation year and program rating. Of 69 programs with at least 10 survey participants who are past graduates, 14 had moderate negative correlations between these values, 7 had moderate positive correlations, and there is a slight negative overall correlation of -.06.
"Somewhat likely," 4.0, is the average rating reported in 2017. The current database overall average is the same, with an average of 3.7 for teaching, 3.9 for research, and 3.7 for financial support.
In response to: "Rate your satisfaction with the advice and preparation this program provides to its graduate students for undergraduate teaching," NYU students selected "neutral" (3.2, n=11) and Utah students selected "satisfied" (4.1, n=10).
In response to: "Rate your satisfaction with the advice and preparation this program provides to its graduate students for academic research," NYU students selected "satisfied" (4.4, n=11), as did Utah students (3.7, n=10).
In response to: "Rate your satisfaction with the financial support this program provides for its graduate students, NYU students selected "very satisfied" (4.7, n=11), whereas Utah students selected "satisfied" (4.0, n=10).
(Note that these comments primarily come from current students and recent graduates, but in some cases may be from non-recent graduates.)
NYU students one provided public comments on the program overall:
Excellent faculty, excellent fellow students.
My professors made themselves very available to me and offered frequent, detailed feedback on my work. The requirements of the program were easily tailored to my areas of interest and specialization. I benefited from a phenomenal exchange program with the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris.
Pros: Great faculty, top-notch peers, prestige. Cons: Little professional development, spotty advising, lack of junior faculty.
The intellectual qualities of the faculty and the other grad students. Also the city is fabulous.
The only problem with the grad program at NYU from my perspective is that faculty are less proactive/involved with guiding their graduate students than--I get the impression--they are at other departments. Otherwise it is fantastic. Super stimulating and intellectually rigorous, engaging, and friendly. The grad student community is very supportive and people work on lots of different, super interesting stuff. I feel very glad to be here.
Very good instruction and advising. Extremely helpful and supportive advisors after graduation (on the job market, applying for fellowships, etc.). Met great students who have been helpful colleagues and good friends.
on preparation for teaching:
Some guidance, but not much. When I attended, there was little awareness among the graduate students of the relevant pedagogical research (or range of possible teaching techniques).
There was very little preparation for undergraduate teaching, but most graduate students nonetheless seem to do well at teaching.
We had the opportunity to teach summer courses that were a big help in refining our skills in course preparation and lecturing.
on preparation for research:
My professors made themselves very available to me and offered frequent, detailed feedback on my work, and the requirements of the program were easily tailored to my areas of interest and specialization.
The program was very research-focused, and conveyed the relevant skills well.
and on financial support:
The stipend was adequate for living in Manhattan, as long as one had a roommate. Remuneration for teaching summer courses was quite good.
Very generous stipend, with significant additional opportunities.
Utah students likewise provided public comments on the program overall:
My department goes above and beyond to create a respectful and inclusive environment. We are competitive, but in a friendly manner.
This program is great for those who wish to focus on philosophy of science or applied ethics. It is reasonably good for those who wish to focus on practical reasoning. It could be stronger in the areas of analytic metaphysics, epistemology, and traditional ethics.
and on preparation for teaching:
Graduate students spend considerable time as teaching assistants before they get their own classes. This sets them up for success.
Next week I hope to look at Baylor University and Boston University. Feedback is welcome, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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