In this blog post I provide some detailed, up-to-date information about two philosophy PhD programs. This week's picks are University of Arkansas and Southern Illinois University. 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.
- Arkansas is a small program, whereas SIU is a mid-sized to large program
- Both have below average academic placement rates
- Most Arkansas students are in LEMM, whereas most SIU students are either in Value Theory or History and Traditions
- Arkansas appears to have above average gender diversity, whereas SIU appears to have above average racial/ethnic diversity
- SIU students give it a below average rating
Overall placement, 2012-present
Arkansas seems to have had 15 PhD graduates in this period, whereas SIU had 53. Of Arkansas' 15 graduates, 14 went into academic or unknown employment, and they placed 4 of these into tenure-track or other permanent academic positions (29%), with 1 in a program that offers a PhD in philosophy (7%). SIU placed 11 of 47 into permanent academic positions (23%), with 1 in a philosophy program with a PhD (2%).
Of Arkansas' other graduates, 1 has a postdoctoral or fellowship position, 7 have other temporary academic positions, 1 is in a nonacademic position, and 2 have no or unknown placement.
Of SIU's other graduates, 1 has a postdoctoral or fellowship position, 33 have other temporary academic positions, 6 are in nonacademic positions, and 2 have no or unknown placement.
Nonacademic positions held by graduates of Arkansas include university administration, whereas those held by graduates of SIU include teaching, management, and government.
The average salary of SIU graduates is $61,300 and 100% preferred an academic job. (Too few Arkansas graduates provided this information to report.)
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, 53% of Arkansas students are in Language, Epistemology, Metaphysics, and Mind (LEMM), 33% are in Value Theory, and 13% are in History & Traditions. 17% of SIU students are in LEMM, 40% are in Value Theory, 34% are in History and Traditions, and 9% are in Science, Logic, and Math. For Arkansas, the majority of graduates 2012 onward who were placed into permanent academic positions were in LEMM (75%), whereas this is History and Traditions for SIU graduates (55%).
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, 44% of those from Arkansas are women, as are 21% of SIU students.
The current database percentage is 31% for all past graduates and current students.
Including all past graduates and current students, 40% of those who answered questions about race and ethnicity from SIU identified as something other than White, non-Hispanic. (Too few Arkansas students provided this and the following information to report.)
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.
Too few students from Arkansas and SIU provided SES information to report.
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 Arkansas and SIU 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 SIU students selected "somewhat likely" (3.7, n=6), whereas too few Arkansas students provided this information to report, and too few from either program provided more detailed ratings to report.
"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.
(Note that these comments primarily come from current students and recent graduates, but in some cases may be from non-recent graduates.)
SIU students provided two public comments on the program overall:
The number of professors and resources have decreased since I attended. The hobbling of the Dewey Center is especially troubling. Further, the funding situation for graduate students is abysmal.
The program was first rate with regard to American pragmatism and Continental philosophy. They have lost some good faculty members in the last nine years though.
Next week I hope to look at Rice University and University of Hawai'i at Mānoa. Feedback is welcome, at firstname.lastname@example.org.