In this blog post I provide some detailed, up-to-date information about three final philosophy PhD programs. This week's picks are Rice University, University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, and University of Notre Dame. These programs were chosen randomly, using an app called Pickster. 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 (135 programs between January 2019 and today).
- Rice and Hawai'i are both small to mid-sized programs, whereas Notre Dame is a large program
- The permanent academic placement rates are very similar across these programs, and all above average
- Rice students tend to be in Value Theory, whereas Hawai'i students are in History and Traditions and Notre Dame students are in LEMM
- The program ratings are all above average overall
- Hawai'i students give high ratings for teaching preparation; Rice and Notre Dame students give high ratings for financial support
Overall placement, 2012-present
Rice seems to have had 22 PhD graduates in this period, whereas Hawai'i had 29, and Notre Dame had 77.
Of Rice's 22 graduates, 17 went into academic or unknown employment, and they placed 9 of these into tenure-track or other permanent academic positions (53%), with 2 in programs that offer a PhD in philosophy (12%); 2 have postdoctoral or fellowship positions, 6 have other temporary academic positions, and 5 are in nonacademic positions (e.g. management, auditing, and teaching). The average salary of Rice graduates is $71,000 and 100% preferred an academic job.
Hawai'i placed 14 of 26 into permanent academic positions (54%), with none in a philosophy program that offers a PhD; 7 have temporary academic positions, 3 are in nonacademic positions (e.g. management, university administration, and journalism), and 5 have no or unknown placement. The average salary of Hawai'i graduates is $72,367 and 92% preferred an academic job.
Notre Dame placed 36 of 68 into permanent academic positions (53%), with 8 in philosophy programs that offer a PhD (12%); 12 have postdoctoral or fellowship positions, 12 have temporary academic positions, 9 are in nonacademic positions (e.g. medicine, real estate, university administration, and journalism), and 8 have no or unknown placement. The average salary of Notre Dame graduates is $71,286 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. The average salary of all graduates who took part in the survey is $68,542 and 90% prefer an academic job.
Areas of Specialization, by Category
Including all past and current students in the APDA database, 7% of Rice students are in Language, Epistemology, Metaphysics, and Mind (LEMM), 72% are in Value Theory, 17% are in History & Traditions, and 3% are in Science, Logic, and Math. 20% of Hawai'i students are in LEMM, 19% are in Value Theory, and 61% are in History and Traditions. 40% of Notre Dame students are in LEMM, 21% are in Value Theory, 21% are in History and Traditions, and 18% are in Science, Logic, and Math. For Rice, the majority of graduates 2012 onward who were placed into permanent academic positions were in Value Theory (78%), whereas this is History and Traditions for Hawai'i graduates (57%). The plurality from Notre Dame were in LEMM (42%).
Note that the current database values for all past graduates and current students are 28% in LEMM, 33% in Value Theory, 24% in History and Traditions, and 15% in Science, Logic, and Math.
Including all past graduates and current students, 28% of those from Rice are women, as are 32% of Hawai'i students and 29% of Notre Dame students.
The current database percentage is 31% for all past graduates and current students.
Including all past graduates and current students, 9% of those who answered questions about race and ethnicity from Rice identified as something other than White, non-Hispanic, as did 11% of Hawai'i students and 8% of Notre Dame students.
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 21%, but this is likely inflated relative to the true population due to some of our data gathering efforts.
None of the students who answered questions about SES from Rice were first-generation college students, whereas 17% from both Hawai'i and Notre Dame identified this way.
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 these programs did not provide any public comments on how philosophy could be more inclusive.
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 Rice students selected "somewhat likely" (4.3, n=8), as did Hawai'i students (4.2, n=12) and Notre Dame students (4.1, n=17). Hawai'i has a moderate negative correlation between graduation year and program rating (-.5). 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. It is worth noting that some students give lower ratings to their program because they would not recommend a graduate education in philosophy to anyone or because they think it is more difficult to find employment from that program for reasons that have little to do with the quality of that program.
In response to: "Rate your satisfaction with the advice and preparation this program provides to its graduate students for undergraduate teaching," Rice students selected "satisfied" (4.0, n=6), Hawai'i students selected between "satisfied" and "very satisfied" (4.5, n=6), and Notre Dame students selected "satisfied" (4.1, n=7).
In response to: "Rate your satisfaction with the advice and preparation this program provides to its graduate students for academic research," Rice students selected "satisfied" (3.8, n=6), as did Hawai'i and Notre Dame students (4.3, n=6; 4.4, n=7).
In response to: "Rate your satisfaction with the financial support this program provides for its graduate students, Rice students selected "very satisfied" (4.7, n=6), Hawai'i students selected between "unsatisfied" and "neutral" (2.5, n=6), and Notre Dame students selected "very satisfied" (4.7, n=7).
(Note that these comments primarily come from current students and recent graduates, but in some cases may be from non-recent graduates.)
Rice students provided public comments on the program overall:
Faculty commitment to student success, healthy departmental climate, teaching certificate program, access to resources for things like conferences
on preparation for teaching:
There is a seminary on how to teach philosophy, there are several opportunities to teach intro classes, both at Rice and at the several nearby community colleges.and on financial support:
Since the cost of living is cheaper than many programs on the coasts and the stipend was fairly generous, we were well-funded. Additionally, access to travel resources for conferences and seminars was readily available, so I was able to travel and participate in opportunities I could not have afforded on my own that have helped me to develop my research and build connections.Hawai'i students provided public comments on the program overall:
Supportive atmosphere. Variety of sources of financial support. Broad and inclusive curriculum.
The curriculum is surprisingly narrow. Senior professors tend to be ignorant, or categorically dismissive, of scholarship in other fields. In addition, the funding situation for graduate students is atrocious and, frankly, immoral.
UH has to offer one of the very few graduate programs in philosophy where students have access to a number of excellent specialists on non-western philosophy.
on preparation for teaching:
Good, but not enough TA-ships to go around, so teaching experience was limited.
Philosophy for children pedagogy is amazing useful as a resource for undergraduate teaching. The connection between P4C and the philosophy program is a great resource and anyone who participates in the philosophy program should make an effort to work with the program.and on financial support:
Just not enough money to serve the many students interested in this program. Despite the heavily competitive nature for these funds though there was real camaraderie amongst the students because it is such a unique place to learn.Finally, Notre Dame students provided public comments on the program overall:
Notre Dame is a great community, very supportive, very good financial situation for grad students
on preparation for teaching:
Notre Dame has a pedagogy workshop to help prepare grad students for various aspects of teaching. We also have good teaching opportunities but are not overloaded with responsibilities.
on preparation for research:
Notre Dame does an oral exam which is an awesome tool for learning how to read efficiently and get a handle on the literature. There are also many venues for grad students to present their work and get helpful feedback.
and on financial support:
Notre Dame has one of the best stipend/cost of living ratios for any graduate program in the US. We also have ample conference funding, and many financial resources outside of the department as well.
This was the last of the blog posts on programs for 2019-2020! Feedback is welcome, at email@example.com.