Top Quartile of Philosophy PhD Programs Ranked by Average Student Rating with Placement Rate and Student Comments

In this blog post I collate some updated information about 30 of the best rated PhD programs in philosophy according to APDA surveys of past graduates and current students:

  • keywords (if 3+ participants chose the keyword),
  • average program ratings (if 5+ participants rated the program on that dimension),
  • job placement,
  • and public student comments (with identifying information removed)**.

This blog post includes the top quartile of the full list of 123 programs and is ordered by average student rating.* There is a table with some of the information included in this blog post here: https://prezi.com/i/xlzuqydltzt6/. Programs excluded are those with no 2020/2021 graduates in the database and those with no placement page/dissertation records. All values that are above average by at least one standard deviation are bolded. See the last two research reports for details on methodology, participation, etc.

I plan to release the next blog post, on the 2nd quartile, a week from today.

You can link to the post at: http://placementdata.com:8182/topquartilephilosophyphdprograms/

*Update Nov 4th: Small differences in order should be treated with a grain of salt. Note, too, that the bottom of one quartile will be virtually indistinguishable from the top of the next.

**Update Nov 12th: Programs that wish to respond to material presented here can do so in the comments, below, or by reaching out to me directly.

1) University of Southern California

Keywords chosen by past graduates/current students:
Analytic, Epistemology, Ethics, Language, Logic/Formal, Metaphysics

Average program rating by graduates 2011 and later or current students:
4.8 overall rating (definitely would recommend); 3.8 program climate (satisfied)

Graduates 2011 and later:
56 total, 34 in permanent academic jobs, 13 in non-academic jobs (79% placement rate)

Student Comments on Program Overall:

Faculty were very supportive through coursework, dissertation, and placement, and have remained supportive since I graduated. The program is also very well structured with well thought out steps along the way, each meant to lead you into a new phase -- from coursework to a dissertation topic, and from there to completing a dissertation. In general I had the sense that graduate training was a priority for the department.
For much of my time in my program I felt that its greatest strength was its graduate student community. In the past couple of years it feels to me like morale has gone way down. My department is a truly great place for professionalization and for some AOS’s. But I am very cognizant now of how little many people here actually value diversity beyond paying lip service to it. And the department encourages a very combative way of doing philosophy. These have a variety of implications for life in the department, and for me at least these have been difficult to manage.
Several of the faculty I worked with were extraordinarily dedicated to graduate training. In the time since I got my degree there has been a lot of hiring and some of those faculty have left, however.

2) University of California, Riverside

Keywords chosen by past graduates/current students:
Analytic, Continental, Ethics, German, Historical

Average program ratings by graduates 2011 and later or current students:
4.8 overall rating (definitely would recommend); 4.0 teaching preparation (satisfied); 4.5 research preparation (very satisfied); 4.2 financial support (satisfied); 4.1 program climate (satisfied)

Job placement of graduates 2011 and later:
33 total, 21 in permanent academic jobs, 1 in non-academic jobs (66% placement rate)

Student Comments on Program Overall:
I have been a member at a number of Philosophy departments, both as a graduate student and as an instructor (full and part time). The Philosophy faculty at the University of California, Riverside has one of the most collegial and integrative communities I have ever been part of. The faculty are top notch, their research and publications are widely cited, and they are interested in what their grad students and their colleagues are working on. There is much collaborative work being done and the tone is warm, encouraging, and stimulating. It is a great community of which to be a member.
Riverside has a wonderfully supportive atmosphere, with a variety of reading groups and workshops that promote student development and sometimes even collaboration. I felt motivated to do write continuously, and to explore new ideas in my writing, without feeling any sense of competition with other students.
The Dept at UCR is genuinely pluralistic, collegial, and supportive. It is also rigorous. Faculty and graduate students care about each other and the Dept. Faculty work very hard to help place graduates.
The University of California at Riverside Philosophy department is a wonderful environment in which to study philosophy. The faculty and students are congenial, conversation is lively and respectful, and there is mutual interest in what colleagues are doing. It is also a wonderful place in terms of professional training and preparedness. All graduate students are employed as teaching assistants and are mentored by the instructors of record. There is a rotating faculty advisor to the graduate students whose job it is to help prepare for the job market. While a student in the department, we had workshops and roundtables in which we discussed anything from reviewing dissertation chapters to surveying a collection of teaching and research statements, cvs, etc., and discussion of best practices. The faculty gave practice job interviews. The faculty were, as a general rule, available for questions and approachable. In part due to this training and in part due to the work of the faculty on behalf of the students, the job placement record for UC Riverside is very high. The faculty are well-respected in their fields of expertise. In fact, in 2017, QS World University Rankings reported that "UC Riverside’s Department of Philosophy ranks No. 1 in the world for the frequency with which published papers are cited by other philosophers."

3) Australian National University

Keywords chosen by past graduates/current students:
Analytic, Biology, Epistemology, Ethics, History and Philosophy of Science, Metaphysics, Mind, Political

Average program ratings by graduates 2011 and later or current students:
4.8 overall rating (definitely would recommend); 3.6 teaching preparation (satisfied); 4.1 research preparation (satisfied); 4.0 financial support (satisfied)

Job placement of graduates 2011 and later:
62 total, 22 in permanent academic jobs, 12 in non-academic jobs (44% placement rate)

Student Comments on Program Overall:
Collaborative and supportive atmosphere. Active department in all areas of specialization, encouragement to all participants right the way down to undergrads. Plenty of opportunities to practise key skills including writing, presenting, critiquing and discussing. Great campus, great city. Essentially none of the negative attributes typically associated with comparable American institutions.
Great sense of community among students and staff; Access to world-class researchers
The apprenticeship model of teaching PhD students: we were treated just as staff members were--given our own offices, invited to all of the events and talks and social events, etc. Networking opportunities: visitor season in the middle of each year attracting leading experts across different fields from around the world. Community: morning and afternoon teas every day, a welcoming and supportive community with many opportunities for socialising.
This program enhances our social life and addresses its social and political problems.
Very social and supportive graduate school environment

4) Rutgers University

Keywords chosen by past graduates/current students:
Analytic, Cognitive Science, Contemporary, Epistemology, Ethics, Language, Metaphysics, Mind

Average program ratings by graduates 2011 and later or current students:
4.7 overall rating (definitely would recommend); 3.7 teaching preparation (satisfied); 4.6 research preparation (very satisfied); 4.3 financial support (satisfied); 4.3 program climate (satisfied)

Job placement of graduates 2011 and later:
73 total, 44 in permanent academic jobs, 4 in non-academic jobs (64% placement rate)

Student Comments on Program Overall:
(in no particular order) 1. Relative chances on the job market 2. Quality of Potential Supervisors 3. Climate of the Department, Commitment to Inclusion 4. Quality of Funding/Support vs. Cost of Living 5. Grad Student Community 6. Breadth of Topics Studied/Taken Seriously 7. Proximity to Major City
Amazing professors and fellow grad students, great academic culture, good funding, many professional opportunities, etc.
[Name removed] is amazing. There is a high level of philosophical acumen among the other graduates students, so you can learn a lot from them. The program is very highly regarded within professional philosophy, which can help with your career. It is an extremely active department, with a lot of events and philosophy conversation. Almost every faculty member answers almost every emailed question within a few hours. They are very supportive.
intellectually rigorous, appropriate professionalization training, good placement record, good philosophical environment
It has a large and inclusive graduate student body and is well-positioned to get its graduates jobs.
Placement/publication oriented. Lack of junior faculty creates some distance between graduate students and faculty, and some lack of resources for strong publication oriented feedback. But all the senior faculty make for great letter writers.
Rutgers has a strong grad community, world-class faculty, and a culture of reading groups that helps young scholars grow in their strengths and explore new areas of philosophy as desired. The program is well-organised with formal feedback mechanisms to monitor student progress. It also does not employ the many pointless gatekeeping measures such as oral exams/comps that other programs favor. I was very happy with my experience there.
The amazingly high quality of the faculty and graduate students; the collaborative feeling of the environment among grad students and faculty (not competitive; lots of generous discussion); and huge institutional support, from both the faculty and the graduate school. Also, we have a great placement record, and a department (and former faculty, including my advisor) that supported me getting to a TT job long after I had graduated.
The community at my institution was helpful, friendly and supportive. The faculty are excellent philosophers, and I had excellent experiences in their seminars and in meetings. My committee members were exceptionally helpful and supportive. The program and my committee also spent a great deal of time preparing me for the job market. The department also has a relatively good placement rate (excellent compared to other programs, though still bad, due to the market).
The graduate community was supportive and non-competitive. I felt my philosophical training was excellent, particularly in philosophy of language.
The program is excellent, with fantastic and supportive faculty and graduate students.
The program was supportive and academically top-notch. When I was there, the graduate student community was supportive and got together regularly to talk about philosophy in a variety of professional and non-professional contexts.

5) University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Keywords chosen by past graduates/current students:
Analytic, Ancient, Contemporary, Early Modern, Epistemology, Ethics, Historical, History and Philosophy of Science, Metaphysics, Mind, Political

Average program ratings by graduates 2011 and later or current students:
4.7 overall rating (definitely would recommend); 4.3 teaching preparation (satisfied); 4.1 research preparation (satisfied); 4.1 financial support (satisfied); 4.1 program climate (satisfied)

Job placement of graduates 2011 and later:
64 total, 35 in permanent academic jobs, 5 in non-academic jobs (59% placement rate)

Student Comments on Program Overall:
Community of graduate students; collegiality and availability of faculty; location; overall strength of university; broad strengths of the faculty; strong financial support
Faculty engaged and deeply committed. Friendly, inclusive student climate.
Faculty invested in graduate student success. Rigorous academic environment. Excellent graduate student peers. Opportunities for academic engagement beyond the classroom and research, especially through the PPE program and Parr Center for Ethics.
Friendly and collegial faculty and fellow grad students. Cooperative and supportive environment. Teaching and service opportunities abound.
Friendly atmosphere; Supportive faculty; Great university
Good community of scholars. Strong professional support, e.g. on job market.
Good education, good professional connections, awful climate for grad students, especially for women.
My fellow graduate students were the best aspect of the program: I made some wonderful friends. It was not a competitive environment; I was able to do my work while maintaining a healthy, balanced lifestyle.
Overall strength of the program; congeniality of the faculty; positive atmosphere among the graduate students; adequate funding; good location; lots of structure to the program; ample teaching opportunities
Strength of faculty; location; strength and reputation of university; culture and community within department; well though-out graduate program; opportunities for teaching and research; good funding
Strong mentoring by faculty, collegial environment among graduate students. Focus on both expert domain knowledge and breadth of philosophical training in coursework and per-dissertation seminars.
The faculty were extremely supportive, the graduate student climate was lively and non-competitive, and I received good training in an array of areas.
The program emphasizes providing graduate students with a rigorous general education in mainstream contemporary analytic philosophy and the history of Western philosophy (though not other philosophical traditions). The program is thus highly structured and involves many requirements. While some find these requirements to be onerous, I have generally found them to be valuable and intellectually enriching. Graduate students have many opportunities to teach their own courses as the instructor of record, and there is a strong community of graduate students who are interested in teaching and philosophy pedagogy. Between the philosophy department and the affiliated Parr Center for Ethics and PPE (Philosophy, Politics, and Economics) Program, there are an abundance of interesting events to attend.
When I was there the most successful students were working on three topics: philosophy of science, ethics, and early modern philosophy. political philosophy did pretty well too. The other topics had good people, but success rates for their students were lower. But there has been a fair bit of faculty turnover since I was there, so it is hard to say much about how things stand now. But I can say that [Name removed] was amazing. [They] made sure we had an actual placement program that actually prepared people for the job market.

6) The Catholic University of America

Keywords chosen by past graduates/current students:
Medieval

Average program ratings by graduates 2011 and later or current students:
4.7 overall rating (definitely would recommend); 4.6 program climate (very satisfied)

Job placement of graduates 2011 and later:
66 total, 35 in permanent academic jobs, 14 in non-academic jobs (67% placement rate)

Student Comments on Program Overall:
- Strong historical approach, unusual among Anglophone universities - Excellent and large faculty across all major historical periods and schools - Vibrant intellectual climate, among both faculty and graduate students - 3 years of teaching fellowship (2 sections of 1 course per semester) after obtaining the MA, which provides valuable teaching experience and attentive mentoring - Pontifical degrees are an advantage for Catholics seeking to teach at Catholic seminaries (as I currently do) - The institution has a vibrant Catholic faith, but at the same time is warm and welcoming to students of other religious persuasions
Great program for medieval, esp Aquinas; Good in other areas but not as notable as the above; Language and comps requirements are extensive compared to similar programs; Funding is good for teaching fellows (2-4 yrs max) but quite mediocre for other other years of the program. Grad student life is vibrant.
Strong program in the history of philosophy with emphasis on the Catholic tradition. Many professors not merely historians but philosophers in their own right.
The program provided a thorough grounding in the history of philosophy, which opened up innumerable avenues for understanding contemporary philosophical problems in novel ways.

7) Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Keywords chosen by past graduates/current students:
Analytic, Contemporary, Epistemology, Ethics, Gender/Feminist, Language, Logic/Formal, Metaphysics, Mind

Average program ratings by graduates 2011 and later or current students:
4.7 overall rating (definitely would recommend); 4.3 program climate (satisfied)

Job placement of graduates 2011 and later:
51 total, 36 in permanent academic jobs, 8 in non-academic jobs (84% placement rate)

Student Comments on Program Overall:
1. The climate is very good. 2. People are always around the department. 3. There are lots of reading groups and workshops etc -- lots of opportunities to present your work. 4. Faculty are excellent and most clearly care a lot about graduate education. 5. The graduate students are in general very good. This pushes you to become a better philosopher.
Extremely supportive environment, lots of involvement and interest from all faculty—advisors and others who are happy to help, a happy place to be a student
Faculty and other students in the program are very supportive, both from a strictly professional and from an emotional point of view. The program offers plenty of opportunity for high-quality philosophical interaction and students are usually encouraged to take an active role in department life.
I found the graduate program in philosophy at MIT to be an exceptionally supportive environment. Before I joined the department, I was a student in India. So, when I moved to the US, I need to get used to a number of cultural differences as well as differences in academic practices, conventions, and interests. Naturally, there was an initial period of adjustment before I could be fully immersed in the departmental life. But, despite the difficulties of that initial period, my mentors and other students in the department were extremely welcoming, encouraging and sympathetic to my situation. Their support made it possible for me to continue to be in academic philosophy.
The community. Faculty are accessible, graduate students are collaborative, and there is always a buzz of interest in a variety of topics, including regular reading groups etc. Most of my good ideas in graduate school came from semi-random discussions with other graduate students in the lounge.
The department tends to be very lively, and usually collaborative, with active involvement from graduate students in organizing many aspects of life in the department. Availability of faculty tends to be good. Teaching load is very manageable. Gender diversity tends to be good. Graduate student advocacy tends to be supported by faculty and students. Placement is on par with other top programs, with some variability year to year. There are areas for improvement, particularly when it comes to serving or supporting students with certain kinds of interests; and graduate student pay has lagged behind other comparable programs as living costs have risen; but on average, this graduate program compares favorably to other top programs in LEMM & analytic Ethics. On some metrics, this program has historically done better than other top programs. The main reason I would recommend this program is that it is rigorous (the first year in particular is a tremendously valuable stepping-stone for contemporary work in Analytic philosophy), active (there are constantly events, lectures, and reading groups, which foster learning, dialogue, and debate), and relatively faster than other programs. Students are less likely to languish undecided for years before continuing their life post-PhD, either in an academic or non-academic position. For mental health reasons, I believe this is best for a young student. Those who do enroll and then struggle to finish a dissertation within a 5-year period or find placement may have a very difficult time, however: MIT does not offer, to my knowledge, financial support after the 5th year, so students will have to apply for grant funding or find teaching work in order to complete the PhD. Many have done so successfully, but finding support or work can be difficult, particularly for international students. Due to its structural brevity, this can be a good program for those continuing from a Masters program or from a non-academic job. Someone coming in with specific goals and a timeline will usually be successful, as long as they have an interesting project. I would not recommend this program to an aspiring historian, Continental philosopher, or someone working on non-Anglophone philosophy, although it is possible to learn about these areas while at the program by taking courses at nearby schools or doing independent work (students will find support within the program to do these things), and it is even possible to complete a dissertation in areas not best served by the department (and several have).
Wonderful sense of community, very stimulating philosophically, fantastic faculty.
Wonderful, collaborative graduate community.

8) University of California, Berkeley

Keywords chosen by past graduates/current students:
Analytic, Early Modern, Epistemology, Ethics, Historical, Language, Logic/Formal, Metaphysics, Mind

Average program ratings by graduates 2011 and later or current students:
4.6 overall rating (definitely would recommend); 4.1 teaching preparation (satisfied); 4.1 research preparation (satisfied); 2.9 financial support (neutral); 3.8 program climate (satisfied)

Job placement of graduates 2011 and later:
56 total, 31 in permanent academic jobs, 5 in non-academic jobs (61% placement rate)

Student Comments on Program Overall:
Faculty, even famous ones, work closely with grad students. Supportive environment and great peers.
Genuinely ecumenical about multiple subdisciplines, strong graduate community. The department has changed dramatically since, however, in ways both positive and negative.
High quality of professors and instruction. High quality of other graduate students. Collegial attitude and interactions among people in the department. Strong placement. Guaranteed graduate student funding for almost unlimited years. Wonderful place to live.
I found the atmosphere supportive; faculty were great and happy to work with grad students.
Most important: Overall quality of research being done, Overall quality of teaching/seminars/advising. Also important: grad student community, departmental culture.
The emphasis on integration of the history of philosophy, and openness to a wide range of approaches and traditions - together with rigor etc.
The faculty and graduate students are first rate; many of the faculty care deeply about teaching; smart and energetic undergraduates make the teaching component of the graduate program very rewarding; and the geographical location is unbeatable.
The most relevant consideration with respect to question 1, for me, would be placement record, followed by department climate. My PhD program has had quite a good placement record over the past few years (all things considered), and I found the climate to be very positive and supportive during my career there.

9) Saint Louis University

Keywords chosen by past graduates/current students:
Analytic, Epistemology, Historical, Medieval, Metaphysics

Average program ratings by graduates 2011 and later or current students:
4.6 overall rating (definitely would recommend)

Job placement of graduates 2011 and later:
55 total, 23 in permanent academic jobs, 8 in non-academic jobs (49% placement rate)

Student Comments on Program Overall:
-Excellent program in medieval philosophy and philosophy of religion -Lots of mentoring available to grad students -Grad students can teach their own courses through teaching assistantships
I received a great education. The faculty of the school were strongly in support of the students. We were well-trained and well-cared for.
SLU is an incredible program. The professors and the grad students create a wonderful academic environment. The professors challenge and encourage you. The grad students are generous and willing to help. I could not have asked for more from my time at SLU.
Strong faculty, excellent training and vocational preparation, good reputation and placement record.
the atmosphere in the department, both between students and with faculty; the availability of the faculty; the commitment to training for teaching
The professors actively developed relationships with students. There was a significant sense of community among graduate students. The professors are excellent. The resources for research are excellent.
The program was eclectic and collegial and supportive of grad students.

10) University of Cambridge (HPS)

Keywords chosen by past graduates/current students:
History and Philosophy of Science, Interdisciplinary

Average program ratings by graduates 2011 and later or current students:
4.6 overall rating (definitely would recommend); 3.4 teaching preparation (neutral); 4.2 research preparation (satisfied); 3.2 financial support (neutral)

Job placement of graduates 2011 and later:
27 total, 13 in permanent academic jobs, 2 in non-academic jobs (52% placement rate)

Student Comments on Program Overall:
Expert supervisors, brilliant library and collections facilities, excellent support network, friendly department.
I was glad to be largely left alone within this program, rather than being required to attend various graduate classes or seminars. This left me with plenty of time to get on with my own research, and meant I completed within three years.
UK PhD programs are short (3-4 years) and funding is hard to obtain. US programs normally provide more years of funding and it is more readily available. Within the UK, Cambridge HPS is a very good program for philosophy of science and the HPS Department has a friendly atmosphere. The Department as a whole has a strong focus on history of science and is world-leading in this area.

11) Yale University

Keywords chosen by past graduates/current students:
Analytic, Ancient, Early Modern, Epistemology, Ethics, Experimental Philosophy, Metaphysics

Average program ratings by graduates 2011 and later or current students:
4.6 overall rating (definitely would recommend); 3.0 teaching preparation (neutral); 4.2 research preparation (satisfied); 4.5 financial support (very satisfied); 3.7 program climate (satisfied)

Job placement of graduates 2011 and later:
46 total, 34 in permanent academic jobs, 2 in non-academic jobs (77% placement rate)

Student Comments on Program Overall:
Excellence of faculty, accessibility of faculty, dedication to both research and teaching.
Financial support and extracurricular quality of life while in grad school was high. Influence of faculty in the discipline at large was great and consequently placement record was strong. It was a good place to learn how to teach philosophy.
For students interested in research at the intersection of philosophy and psychology, the program at Yale has no real comparison. There is now a formal program for pursuing a combined PhD in philosophy and psychology, and members of both departments are actively engaged in this kind of interdisciplinary work. It is also typical to combine this kind of research with classes/work in formal semantics.
It was an overall very welcoming program, with great education and opportunities for interdisciplinary studies.
Life is enjoyable while a Yale. The faculty are real leaders in their field and provide excellent resources for the professionalization of graduate students. The likelihood of a good job placement is high.
One of the few (or only?) place to earn a joint degree in philosophy and psychology
There have been multiple graduate students who have filed...complaints about faculty misconduct in this program. The allegations range from...bullying, sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, and sexual assault. There have also been multiple cohorts of students who expressed serious concerns about the environment for non-male and non-white students; a student-run survey related to the department climate several years ago exposed severe problems. The department has yet to hire (and keep) a Black faculty member, and has done almost nothing to respond to student concerns. [editorial note 11/15/21: I have removed potentially identifying information and replaced with "..."]
warm, collegial atmosphere; extremely supportive faculty; excellent preparation for job market

(One of the above comments was edited slightly in response to a request from the participant responsible for that comment.)

12) University of Michigan

Keywords chosen by past graduates/current students:
Analytic, Ancient, Contemporary, Epistemology, Ethics, History and Philosophy of Science, Interdisciplinary, Language, Logic/Formal, Naturalist/Empirical, Physics

Average program ratings by graduates 2011 and later or current students:
4.6 overall rating (definitely would recommend); 3.8 teaching preparation (satisfied); 4.1 research preparation (satisfied); 4.2 financial support (satisfied); 4.0 program climate (satisfied)

Job placement of graduates 2011 and later:
55 total, 35 in permanent academic jobs, 4 in non-academic jobs (69% placement rate)

Student Comments on Program Overall:
- There is a strong, supportive community of graduate students. - Many (but not all) professors are effective mentors. - That said, this program has had a surprisingly weak placement ranking given its outstanding reputation. More mentorship on publishing as a graduate student would have been helpful.
-- excellent grad culture & norms -- good gender ratio (including among faculty) + relatively decent representation of POC -- faculty very receptive to grad student input
A rich intellectual environment; incredibly supportive and thoughtful faculty
Excellent program, but for some reason not the best placement record.
Faculty members in our Department are amazing scholars, supportive advisers, and are committed to creating a friendly and welcoming social environment. We have a wonderful grad student community, and grad students organize an astonishing range of different philosophy events and programs. We receive generally good support for the job market (although there could always be more!). Grad course cover a good range of different topics, and provide a good entry/extension point into various key debates.
Michigan philosophy PhD students need to be highly motivated to advance through the program and develop professional contacts and skills, as there is little support from the faculty in either.
The student body is always outstanding. Professors are extraordinary philosophers and great human beings. Both elements make of UofM an extraordinary place to learn and do philosophy. The only huge problem is the weather, which does in fact become a great obstacle on the way to graduation.

13) Carnegie Mellon University

Keywords chosen by past graduates/current students:
Analytic, History and Philosophy of Science, Logic/Formal, Mathematics

Average program ratings by graduates 2011 and later or current students:
4.5 overall rating (definitely would recommend); 3.8 program climate (satisfied)

Job placement of graduates 2011 and later:
32 total, 15 in permanent academic jobs, 6 in non-academic jobs (58% placement rate)

Student Comments on Program Overall:
CMU is an absolutely wonderful programme for all the things it aims to do. The only reason I would not definitely recommend it is that it is very specialised, so I would have to be sure that the student has the right interest and skill set to profit from a CMU education. So long as they are potentially within the target audience, though, I would certainly recommend CMU philosophy as an excellent place to get a PhD.
Department is "weird" and eclectic, in a way that allows for immense intellectual freedom as a graduate student. I feel like I have a comparative advantage having training in this program that is rather nonstandard for someone in my specialization. Job placement is very good (though often into non-philosophy departments since many people do interdisciplinary work).
In addition to being a world-class program in philosophy, it is a particularly great program from an employment perspective as there is an open attitude and strong track record of placing graduate students in jobs outside academia as well as academic fields outside of philosophy (e.g., statistics).
Strong mathematical and technical programs
The CMU program is very interdisciplinary and excels in its areas of focus, especially in topics related to logic, philosophy of science, and formal epistemology. For students (including those with non-philosophy backgrounds) with interests in any of those areas or the intersection of those areas with non-philosophy fields, the CMU program is ideal. Graduates end up with jobs in philosophy, math, computer science, statistics, etc. as well as in (non-academic) industry.

14) University of Wisconsin-Madison

Keywords chosen by past graduates/current students:
Analytic, Biology, Epistemology, Ethics, History and Philosophy of Science, Logic/Formal, Mind

Average program ratings by graduates 2011 and later or current students:
4.5 overall rating (definitely would recommend); 4.4 program climate (satisfied)

Job placement of graduates 2011 and later:
61 total, 33 in permanent academic jobs, 11 in non-academic jobs (66% placement rate)

Student Comments on Program Overall:
Excellent graduate community. Professors do a good job of mentoring students as whole persons. Job placement support and planning is exceptional. The program itself is filled with a good range of courses, and support specialization in a decent range of areas. Reading groups and other professional support are common.
Good, consistent placement record over the past 10 to 20 years, large and well-publishing faculty with many areas of specialization, well-regarded by peers, in a very desirable location in a vibrant little city from which one can easily connect to other cities.
Madison is a small, lively and livable city and the University is an essential part of its overall dynamics. The unusual mixture of urban atmosphere, cosmopolitan ecosystem and the familial scale of the city makes it the ideal environment for study and research where social interaction is easy, respectful and rewarding.
The department was incredibly supportive, particularly of the job search. The placement director works hard with students to be sure their materials will set them apart in the application process.
Very supportive environment amongst graduate students. Most faculty are interested in mentoring graduate students. Great placement mentorship.

15) Georgetown University

Keywords chosen by past graduates/current students:
Analytic, Applied, Bioethics/Medical Ethics, Continental, Epistemology, Ethics, Gender/Feminist, German, Interdisciplinary, Phenomenology, Pluralist, Political, Pragmatism

Average program ratings by graduates 2011 and later or current students:
4.4 overall rating (somewhat likely to recommend); 4.5 teaching preparation (very satisfied); 4.1 research preparation (satisfied); 3.3 financial support (neutral); 4.2 program climate (satisfied)

Job placement of graduates 2011 and later:
48 total, 22 in permanent academic jobs, 11 in non-academic jobs (59% placement rate)

Student Comments on Program Overall:
Congenial environment, supportive and engaged faculty, large and pluralistic department.
Having an underdog mentality, the department tries harder than many on placement. Consequently (mixing metaphors) it punches above its weight.
Helpful, Warm, Nurturing. They will go the extra miles to help you succeed
I was able to pursue my research interests but also given good strategic advice about which courses to take/specializations to pursue to prepare myself for the job market. The program provided a vibrant graduate student community and more or less adequate financial support for a single person to live in DC. I also had good access to professionalization activities like conferences and workshops as well as teaching training. I feel that the program prepared me well to become a professional academic.
Pluralistic faculty that gets along. Supportive, thoughtful environment. Excellent placement preparation.
Rigorous. Pluralist. Respectful. Supportive. Caring.
The faculty provided excellent training in normative and applied ethics. The program is closely affiliated with an ethics center that offered more resources and provided opportunities for interdisciplinary collaborations.
Warm, supportive, heterogenous, diverse

16) University of Arizona

Keywords chosen by past graduates/current students:
Analytic, Ancient, Cognitive Science, Epistemology, Ethics, Experimental Philosophy, Interdisciplinary, Mind, Political

Average program ratings by graduates 2011 and later or current students:
4.4 overall rating (somewhat likely to recommend); 3.8 teaching preparation (satisfied); 4.4 research preparation (satisfied); 3.0 financial support (neutral); 4.3 program climate (satisfied)

Job placement of graduates 2011 and later:
55 total, 27 in permanent academic jobs, 2 in non-academic jobs (51% placement rate)

Student Comments on Program Overall:
1st tier faculty; Attentive mntoring; Convivial atmosphere; Excellent grad student culture; Excellent placement
Amazing political philosophers that are approachable, diverse, and who interact with one another and team-teach. The opportunities to be well-trained in political philosophy are unparalleled.
Excellent professors & courses, vibrant philosophical community, competitive but supportive graduate student community
Grad student community is great. Smart profs and grad students. Job prospects not ideal - most graduates struggle unless AOS is political.
Graduate student community is wonderful--incredibly supportive, collaborative, and nurturing. Most faculty go out of their way to be available to grad students despite extremely rigorous publishing/editing responsibilities. The main drawbacks are pay (low, but Tucson is cheap), teaching load (up to 100 students in a semester and you teach most semesters), and that a number of excellent faculty have been picked off by richer programs or retired in recent years. Still yet to see whether we will receive support from our college to fill those gaps, although we still have a wealth of quality mentorship in many areas (esp. political, mind, metaethics, free will & responsibility, epistemology).
Great community. Smart students. Some excellent professors (though some of those have since left).
Here are a few features that stand out to me: The faculty are extremely talented and very eager to work with graduate students. The graduate students have a tradition of collegiality that helps to make the program supportive. Finally, although the program is poorly funded, with all the problems that come along with that, the funding situation meant that I got a lot of teaching experience; without that experience I would have been a poorer candidate for teaching-centered positions.
Student and department culture; welcoming atmosphere; wonderful support staff; top-class faculty; cognitive science program; interdisciplinarity; naturalistic/empiricist bent

17) University of California, San Diego

Keywords chosen by past graduates/current students:
Analytic, Cognitive Science, Early Modern, Ethics, Historical, History and Philosophy of Science, Interdisciplinary, Logic/Formal, Naturalist/Empirical, Physics

Average program ratings by graduates 2011 and later or current students:
4.4 overall rating (somewhat likely to recommend); 3.4 teaching preparation (neutral); 4.1 research preparation (satisfied); 3.4 financial support (neutral); 4.3 program climate (satisfied)

Job placement of graduates 2011 and later:
47 total, 20 in permanent academic jobs, 7 in non-academic jobs (50% placement rate)

Student Comments on Program Overall:
During my phd studies I have not encouraged to publish and to participate in conferences. Networking for the job market did not help either. The department was friendly, but not oriented towards the main goal: getting graduate students a TT job
Many of the faculty at my program did not care to volunteer their time to help graduate students with their research. Their time was highly guarded. I think they forgot that they are teachers as well as researchers.
My graduate study was a life-changing experience for me. Unfortunately, the job-market for teaching has deteriorated so much that it is difficult to recommend that anyone pursue graduate study in philosophy.
My teachers took me into their lives (often in their homes with their families) and showed me the human and the everyday side of academic life, how they balance duties, how they use their time, how research happens, etc. In general, generous and available faculty was the key for me.
Positive atmosphere in department, both among students and between students and faculty. People are open to a pretty wide range of philosophical areas and approaches, and I feel encouraged to seriously pursue topics outside of my core area. I feel that faculty take our professional and academic development, as well as our personal well-being, very seriously and make themselves clearly available for guidance and feedback (as do fellow students.)
Supportive, engaged faculty. Collegial graduate students. Beautiful, relaxing city.
The climate at UCSD is excellent. It is a rigorous, yet supportive environment.
The maddeningly serious-but-superficial problem with my program is that it is not a top 10 Leiter-ranked prgram. Academic philosophy is dying and it deserves to die for its long-running failure to engage significantly with other fields and other concerns at the college and university level. Most programs have been scraping by based on the teaching loads for courses in critical thinking, logic, analytical/argumentative writing, and basic ethics. This is not a sustainable practice, and we are training too many Ph.Ds. Un the current climate, hiring departments are risk-averse, and maddeningly the Leiter-rankings have become a way to manage risk. it is imprudent for anyone to attend a Ph.D program in the current climate unless it is a top-ranked program.
The main thing about UCSD is that everyone is nice to each other and supportive, which makes a huge difference.
This is one of the most racist and sexist programs in philosophy. How can they claim to value diversity if most of their professors are white males?
UCSD is a learning environment filled with people doing interesting, and philosophically-diverse work.

18) University of California, Irvine (LPS)

Keywords chosen by past graduates/current students:
History and Philosophy of Science, Interdisciplinary, Logic/Formal, Mathematics, Naturalist/Empirical, Physics

Average program ratings by graduates 2011 and later or current students:
4.4 overall rating (somewhat likely to recommend); 3.3 teaching preparation (neutral); 4.7 research preparation (very satisfied); 3.5 financial support (satisfied); 3.8 program climate (satisfied)

Job placement of graduates 2011 and later:
26 total, 12 in permanent academic jobs, 3 in non-academic jobs (52% placement rate)

Student Comments on Program Overall:
Excellent and supportive intellectual community; high standards for academic work; strong placement support and record.
My program emphasized self-directed research from early in graduate school, which I found empowering, and also was extremely helpful when it came to publishing and jobs. There was a lot of focus on interdisciplinary work, including coursework in other departments. I found the graduate advising to be very good - each of my main graduate papers was read by 4-6 faculty members who gave helpful comments, without which I could never have managed to start publishing in early graduate school. I also enjoyed the climate, both graduate and faculty.
My program provided a strong and supportive environment. The faculty were interested in student success, even those students who worked in different areas. The faculty were on the cutting edge of contemporary research in their fields, and were interested in helping students find good topics. The student culture was supportive and the other students were very smart.
The graduate students in the department generally form an incredibly supportive and unified body, with each of the broad areas of research strengths within the department generally characterizing smaller student research support groups. The faculty also generally promote an attitude that graduate students are, nearly from day one, potential partners in collaborative research with interesting and creative ideas to bring to the table. This may be related to the fact that there is no undergraduate major hosted by our department, and so the faculty are not often concurrently advising undergraduate students, but this is just speculation.
The professors were brilliant and kind. The program is very challenging, and it is exciting to be in such a specialized department.
The program is a rare place where people interested in naturalistic philosophy of science and formal methods gather. I have seen people not interested in this kind of work really struggle, but I have also seen people who have felt discouraged and isolated thinking they were the only ones into this kind of research finding their way and their people in this program.
The program was very student- and research-focused. I had a great deal of attention, time and energy from my supervisors. The student::professor ratio was very low and so very conducive to good work. The expectations were very high. The pressure was high. But as a student I was given the supervision and mentoring that was necessary for me to achieve what I needed to achieve to land a tenure-track job while still ABD. I feel that I learned a lot not only about my subject, but about the profession and what it takes to be a successful philosopher and professor.
The research area itself; speaking with brilliant faculty and grad students; access to a broad array of intellectual perspectives.
This department is in many ways ideal for anyone studying philosophy of science, and my experience was great. However, in recent years they have greatly increased the size of the PhD student population without commensurate increases in faculty, and this seems to have resulted in more students falling through the cracks and receiving inadequate supervision and support throughout their degree.

19) University of Oxford

Keywords chosen by past graduates/current students:
Analytic, Ancient, Contemporary, Epistemology, Ethics, Historical, Language, Logic/Formal, Metaphysics, Mind, Physics

Average program ratings by graduates 2011 and later or current students:
4.4 overall rating (somewhat likely to recommend); 2.8 teaching preparation (neutral); 4.1 research preparation (satisfied); 2.6 financial support (neutral)

Job placement of graduates 2011 and later:
135 total, 60 in permanent academic jobs, 8 in non-academic jobs (47% placement rate)

Student Comments on Program Overall:
High quality of faculty, covering a very wide range of areas. Very vibrant intellectual culture. Large number of events.
international reputation, quality of education, additional graduate-life benefits
Oxford arguably has the best philosophy faculty in the world. As a result, the Philosophy Department attracts excellent graduate students. And the combination of world-renowned faculty and brilliant colleagues means Oxford is an incredibly stimulating place to conduct research and complete a graduate degree.
Oxford is the largest and most active philosophy department in the world and although there are various downsides to the idiosyncratic way it operates, for people working in many areas the philosophical opportunities are unparalleled.
Small cohort size (even more so at the time), wonderful teachers with 1-1 contact, lots of great research seminars
The academic discussions to which we were exposed were fantastic, conducted by world-leading philosophers at the highest level. The program of optional seminars and lectures available was very extensive, and one could easily spend far too much time attending them! The atmosphere was generally good, though not suited to everyone, especially to people with low confidence levels. Some students experienced high stress and some isolation; others thrived in the high-pressure environment and made numerous good friends. Academic bad behaviour in Q&A sessions was fairly widespread, and this attitude was absorbed to some degree by the students. As a result the discussions could become macho and confrontational at times, although this varied widely from setting to setting and has improved in recent years. Careers advice was somewhat patchy and half-hearted but good enough, backed up by pedigree, for most students to end up with jobs of some kind. Supervision quality and quantity varied greatly from supervisor to supervisor, but could be absolutely exceptional, especially for students supervised by named chairs with much more time on their hands..
Very formative and intellectually stimulating. Very supportive supervisors. However, somewhat stressful and competitive environment, which can be hard to sustain especially toward the end of the program.
Very high quality tutorials and supervision, top-notch peers, excellent and thriving intellectual environment
Very large faculty with a wide range of interest, very good quality of faculty.

20) Baylor University

Keywords chosen by past graduates/current students:
Analytic, Epistemology, Ethics, Historical, Metaphysics

Average program ratings by graduates 2011 and later or current students:
4.4 overall rating (somewhat likely to recommend); 4.6 teaching preparation (very satisfied); 4.0 research preparation (satisfied); 4.6 financial support (very satisfied); 4.2 program climate (satisfied)

Job placement of graduates 2011 and later:
44 total, 29 in permanent academic jobs, 3 in non-academic jobs (71% placement rate)

Student Comments on Program Overall:
Excellent faculty. Warm, caring, and non-competitive personal relationships between graduate students as well as between graduate students and faculty. Historically oriented comprehensive exams which have made me a better philosopher and teacher.
Great faculty; excellent financial support and conference travel support; weekly graduate student colloquia; caring community; inexpensive cost of living makes graduate life affordable.
I wanted to teach at a Christian liberal arts institution. Baylor situates you to enter this world as well as any program in the country. The historical comprehensive exams gave me a broad knowledge of the tradition that complemented the more contemporary analytic focus of the classes. The program taught me how to teach, not just how to research. Professors genuinely care about the students and go above and beyond to assist them in fulfilling their goals. Students care about and support one another.
In terms of academics: Gave me world-class instruction and guidance in whatever fields of study that interested me, with no politics or camps. In terms of job preparation: Fully prepared me to teach, to understand and maintain or even create an entire BA curriculum, to find and grow a community and support system. In terms of the experience of graduate school itself: Extremely supportive, joyful, enthusiastic, experience. Huge growth intellectually and spiritually. Best years of my life as a student. Unparalleled community and collegiality among students and faculty/staff; there is no other graduate program like it that I have seen or heard of. Faculty and student colloquia, potlucks, poker nights, trips to the rodeo and the zoo, shared church life, vibrant discussion of academic and non-academic matters inside and outside the classroom. I became the man I am today, grown in knowledge, virtue and holiness, because of the people in and around that program and school.
Placementwise, the program has done well in helping graduates get hired at church-related institutions. With the current economic downturn, I worry that this approach will prove less effective. Two recent graduates who have been placed at Baptist institutions have recently lost their positions; however Catholic placements remain strong. In my time in the department, one concern students had was that faculty were primarily focused on their research projects such that working with students was secondary or even tertiary. The return of [name removed] to full time teaching in the department may help address this (given [their] long-time focus on teaching and mentoring), but is still something worth considering.
The PhD program at Baylor has an extremely supportive and collegial graduate community and the faculty provide first-rate training in both philosophical research/scholarship and undergraduate teaching.
The program is strongest at offering a supportive environment for graduate study and for preparing students to teach at teaching-first schools. It has particular strengths in the philosophy of religion (especially Christian Philosophy) and M&E. There is a strong interest in Thomistic philosophy and also faculty strengths in Plato and Kierkegaard.

21) Northwestern University

Keywords chosen by past graduates/current students:
Analytic, Ancient, Continental, Critical Theory, Epistemology, German

Average program ratings by graduates 2011 and later or current students:
4.4 overall rating (somewhat likely to recommend); 3.1 teaching preparation (neutral); 3.8 research preparation (satisfied); 4.2 financial support (satisfied); 3.7 program climate (satisfied)

Job placement of graduates 2011 and later:
39 total, 18 in permanent academic jobs, 5 in non-academic jobs (53% placement rate)

Student Comments on Program Overall:
Faculty largely exhibit features that make for a friendly and supportive, yet rigorous grad experience. Grad students are very congenial with a wide range of interests and a healthy sense of pluralism about the value of different interests.
For students interested in epistemology Northwestern is an incredible place to be, offering a striking balance (and a deep bench) of social and traditional analytic epistemology. In general, there are many opportunities to develop teaching experience and competency. The coursework requires that students study interdisciplinarily for some time, which is a strength in student training. Student funding is competitive. And the placement record has been pretty decent, particularly considering the realities of the market.
Good outside-of-department resources (CogSci and Critical Theory); Fair/decent social and learning environment; Good financial package
I did little coursework there and so feel unable to really assess the program fully. But I think overall the program is sound, although I think I emerged underprepared for research.
I got my PhD in [year removed; prior to 2000]. Positive: teaching opportunities; Negative: few graduate courses and zero job placement help. My major professor refused to attend the APA and said “go get your own jobs.” Zero, and I mean ZERO, women professors. Clashes among factions.
In the early 90s NU was one of a handful of universities that taught both analytic and Continental traditions in 20th c. philosophy. Unlike some similar programs, there was little sense of tension or hostility between the two camps. I hope it is still that way.
It was a high profile program with excellent faculty and a very personal feel. It was also the best Continental Philosophy program in the country at that time, and the most pluralistic one. There were excellent interdisciplinary opportunities across the campus. My fellow students were exceptional as well.
Northwestern remains more pluralist than most departments. It lacks the depth it used to have in this respect, when I was trained there, but it offers students a good training that combines a sensible focus on professionalization with an eye opening and enriching historical and pluralist perspective that will help you see the forest and not just the trees that loom large in cutting edge work.
Not internally competitive -- i.e., culture among the students is very collegial and friendly Highly supportive faculty and advisement Great funding for 5 years, with possibility 6th year of TAship Seems to be a hospitable place for women/minorities Access to lots of stuff going on in the philosophic community outside Northwestern, e.g., UIC, DePaul, University of Chicago, Notre Dame
Pluralistic program, excellent funding, dedicated professors, great city.
When I was there, the program was very strong in phil sci (physics and bio). But students left with an incredible historical education as well. Both the analytic and Continental sides of the department shared a deflationary/pragmatic sense of truth, so there was no war there, and we all benefitted from learning across the divide.

22) University of Edinburgh

Keywords chosen by past graduates/current students:
Analytic, Cognitive Science, Epistemology, Ethics, Interdisciplinary, Mind, Naturalist/Empirical

Average program ratings by graduates 2011 and later or current students:
4.4 overall rating (somewhat likely to recommend)

Job placement of graduates 2011 and later:
80 total, 17 in permanent academic jobs, 6 in non-academic jobs (23% placement rate)

Student Comments on Program Overall:
Great community and very supportive supervisors.
Great student community, lots of research events, ideal for interdisciplinary projects
I found the postgrad community extremely welcoming, supportive, and talented. There was an excellent and productive relationship between faculty and the postgraduate student body.

23) Stanford University

Keywords chosen by past graduates/current students:
Analytic, Ancient, Ethics, Historical, History and Philosophy of Science, Interdisciplinary, Language, Logic/Formal, Naturalist/Empirical

Average program ratings by graduates 2011 and later or current students:
4.3 overall rating (somewhat likely to recommend); 4.5 program climate (very satisfied)

Job placement of graduates 2011 and later:
67 total, 37 in permanent academic jobs, 12 in non-academic jobs (67% placement rate)

Student Comments on Program Overall:
Great professors, marvelous campus
Great funding and structure for a joint J.D./Ph.D. Excellent family housing and daycare for student-parents. Excellent supervision in political philosophy.
While the resources at Stanford are exceptional, the faculty support is not.

24) University of Pittsburgh (HPS)

Keywords chosen by past graduates/current students:
Analytic, Biology, Cognitive Science, Experimental Philosophy, History and Philosophy of Science, Interdisciplinary, Naturalist/Empirical, Physics

Average program ratings by graduates 2011 and later or current students:
4.3 overall rating (somewhat likely to recommend); 3.3 teaching preparation (neutral); 4.7 research preparation (very satisfied); 4.8 financial support (very satisfied); 3.7 program climate (satisfied)

Job placement of graduates 2011 and later:
41 total, 22 in permanent academic jobs, 6 in non-academic jobs (63% placement rate)

Student Comments on Program Overall:
Grad student community; Lots of choice in coursework; Critical mass of philosophers in the area
Overall, the department (including the community of graduate students) provides good support for academic research. There is more support for some areas (e.g., cognitive science, physics) than others (e.g., feminist philosophy of science, biology). The community of graduate students is one of the main strengths of this program as it is quite collegial and supportive. There are some good advisors here and professionalization advice is shared widely. There are many opportunities to meet outside scholars through the Center for the Philosophy of Science.
Pitt HPS has very good placement for students who make it through the program. The philosophy of science environment is top-notch for networking and fostering cutting edge research. The program is less successful in helping students find non-academic placement and the mentoring is often lacking or of a sink or swim variety.
Quality of the faculty was high; Quality of fellow graduate students was high; collegiality among graduate students was high; support from faculty and faculty advisers while in the program was high; support while on the job market was good; Pittsburgh is a pleasant and affordable city. However, some of these advantages are "fragile" and can change with time as faculty and graduate students come and go.
Support for students, even after graduation. Superb visiting scholars program at the Center for Philosophy of Science.
The faculty and placement record speak for themselves. For philosophy of science students two of the most valuable features of Pitt HPS that may not be immediately apparent were (i) the numbers of visitors passing through the Center for Philosophy of Science (ii) a decent size and friendly graduate student body working on philosophy of science at various stages of the program (say 20-30 people) with whom you take graduate classes, learn from and bounce ideas off (and get career advice from older students).
This is an excellent department for students who are certain they would like to work in the philosophy of science. It is not an appropriate choice for historians, or for those who have interests likely to develop in other areas of the discipline.
This program is appropriate for students interested in technical work in philosophy of science, with secondary historical interests. Students without background in a science should be prepared to get up to speed during their PhD.

25) University of Oregon

Keywords chosen by past graduates/current students:
Continental, Critical Theory, Gender/Feminist, Phenomenology, Pragmatism

Average program ratings by graduates 2011 and later or current students:
4.3 overall rating (somewhat likely to recommend); 4.4 program climate (satisfied)

Job placement of graduates 2011 and later:
44 total, 25 in permanent academic jobs, 3 in non-academic jobs (61% placement rate)

Student Comments on Program Overall:
Although not all faculty are equal, I had excellent mentors at UO. They were very encouraging of original thinking, seeking to develop my ideas, not just further their own intellectual agenda. They helped me to see myself as a professional and to pursue professional experiences, which was critical when I was on the job market. The pluralist course array was absolutely vital to developing flexibility in robust philosophical thought. They encourage students to explore any philosophical school that may be fruitful to their questions. They also are more experienced and encouraging than most when it comes to thinking across disciplines. The necessity of taking feminist courses made the graduate student community much more dynamic and engaging. The necessity of teaching duties was vital to my development as a professional teacher and as a thinker.
At a previous institution, I had experiences with faculty openly hostile to one another, and they constantly dragged graduate students into it. While at my PhD granting institution, the faculty were professional and accessible, and any issues they had with one another were kept behind closed doors, making a very supportive environment for graduate students. Also, the coursework is demanding and pluralistic. You cannot get through without being exposed to topics you may not otherwise have sought out, including things like feminist philosophy, not yet a staple in all programs.
Emphasis on pragmatism and engagement with social issues. Cross disciplinary. Clear writing encouraged. [Name removed] was my excellent dissertation advisor-- emphasis on metaphor theory and second generation cognitive science. Many other interesting and committed faculty.
I think the University of Oregon allows and supports grad students in pursuing a wide variety of projects and therefore generates some of the more creative dissertations. It also provides grad students with a lot of teaching opportunities, so grad students tend to be very competitive in the job market with respect to teaching jobs. It is also the case that I (and almost everyone I knew) loved living in Eugene and it was so cheap! My only concern with the program is that few of the professors in the department do very much of what might be considered "mainstream" philosophy. So grad students being introduced to the discipline can sometimes come away with a slightly warped view of what the discipline is really like. For example, the fact that American pragmatism is not a major sub-discipline was a shock to some going on the job market, as was finding out that what the majority of philosophers working on in areas such as philosophy of language, metaphysics, or epistemology is very different from what some of the professors at Oregon are doing or focusing on.
The department is genuinely pluralistic, and I was exposed to a number of areas in philosophy I otherwise would not have encountered or taken seriously. Most of the professors are also brilliant and legitimately care about educating students, both graduate and undergraduate, and they pass on the importance of that task to the graduate students. Like all programs, one or two professors stand out as not fitting this profile, but that in no way detracts from the great education you get there.
The program is explicitly feminist and pluralist. It encourages students to explore various fields of philosophy and combine them in interesting and innovative ways. The department also offers a variety of courses from non-Western traditions including Indigenous philosophy and Latin American philosophy. Faculty are invested in graduate student success and the community of grad students is friendly, supportive, and close. There are also lots of teaching opportunities for grad students.
The program is quite unusual in that it is pluralist. I have found that this makes the graduates stronger, more flexible thinkers. They are forced from day one to engage with others outside of their philosophical niche. Also, many of the works by students who attend this program are engaged with contemporary issues. This seems to work well for them on the job market and in publishing. It is also important to note that students are required to take at least two courses in feminist philosophy. Ultimately this makes it a much more hospitable place to be a woman in philosophy. In my experience, the faculty are not trying to create clones of themselves or acolytes. They genuinely nurture the creativity of graduate students. I also found the learning environment to be mostly collaborative.

26) University of Illinois at Chicago

Keywords chosen by past graduates/current students:
Analytic

Average program ratings by graduates 2011 and later or current students:
4.3 overall rating (somewhat likely to recommend)

Job placement of graduates 2011 and later:
32 total, 12 in permanent academic jobs, 1 in non-academic jobs (39% placement rate)

Student Comments on Program Overall:
The department is large enough to offer a wide range of classes. The faculty members are incredibly talented and are interested in building connections across their sub-fields, which engenders a culture of exploration and lively discussion.

27) University of Toronto

Keywords chosen by past graduates/current students:
Analytic, Ancient, Early Modern, Epistemology, Ethics, Historical, History and Philosophy of Science, Medieval, Mind, Political, Pragmatism

Average program ratings by graduates 2011 and later or current students:
4.3 overall rating (somewhat likely to recommend); 4.1 teaching preparation (satisfied); 4.4 research preparation (satisfied); 4.4 financial support (satisfied)

Job placement of graduates 2011 and later:
94 total, 38 in permanent academic jobs, 15 in non-academic jobs (48% placement rate)

Student Comments on Program Overall:
- Large selection of professors to work with - Large selection of graduate student courses to take - Supportive administration - Generous stipend
-Faculty are dedicated and committed to student excellence -Active and engaged graduate student community -Large faculty which means a diverse set of research interests and possible projects can be accommodated -Interdisciplinary research projects are encouraged and there are institutional resources to help -Graduate student funding is excellent -Funding for conferences is excellent -Program is well-structured (what it takes to get through the program is clearly defined) -Many talks, reading groups, and research events -Toronto is a diverse, fun and interesting city with amazing food, art and culture
Although highly ranked, the university is not highly ranked enough for many departments, and thus students are already at a prestige disadvantage when entering the market. The placement rate of the department is also generally abysmal. During my time there, there was also nothing aimed at helping students find employment outside of academia.
I further developed my critical thinking skills, as well as research and writing skills. I also enjoyed the learning experience and found it intrinsically valuable. Having a PhD continues to be valued as a significant achievement in the context of my career. I am very glad that I did it.
It depends enormously on which area you work in: except for ancient/medieval or political philosophy, you have to be lucky to get a decent perm. job soon enough not to despair...
Large faculty, a lot of opportunity for different areas of study, a very good faculty.
Negatives: - Relations between students and faculty were often strained or toxic. - Graduate student stipend was inadequate for expenses in the city. Positives: - Lots of opportunity to pick up extra TA or Teaching work (which you will definitely need, and may delay graduation). - Supportive atmosphere among the students. - Lots of talks and events to choose from, often with free food. - Undergraduates tend to be intelligent and engaged. - Strong union support
Reputation, ambition, standard
The great abundance of faculty and courses available; excellent advisors for my doctoral work; solid professional development and job market training; exceptional library system at the university; the diversity of the city (Toronto)
The large faculty ensures that a diverse range of courses are offered each year, and that, no matter their interests, students will pretty much always be able to find a faculty member with relevant expertise. The department is very friendly, and the administrative staff is truly wonderful. It really is just an amazing place to be.
The U of T Department of Philosophy is known for its large faculty. This is a major resource. For those who come into graduate school with a less-defined sense of what we want to work on, the size of the U of T faculty offers ample opportunity to learn about different areas from world-leading experts. This means that you might start out in Ethics, get tempted by Ancient or Early Modern, and then end up doing something in Mind or Language or Metaphysics. I also found the departmental culture very conducive to getting good work done. The graduate student community is supportive, but not suffocating. Students are largely left to figure out their own path, both philosophically and socially, yet with the clear expectation that help will be there for them if they ask for it. The department also provided ample opportunity to acquire teaching experience, both as a TA and as an instructor. Yet the teaching demands were relatively light, and it is possible to go many semesters without teaching if you so desire. Toronto is also a fabulous city in which to live. Large, but not overwhelming, it provides a life outside of school.
There is no career future in academic philosophy if you are a straight White male. My program was excellent, and I am glad to have studied what I studied. As a career move, however, the program was worse than useless, and my career prospects would have been pretty much as bad if I had spent the time in prison. For that reason, I would not recommend my PhD program.
Top-ranked program in the country with good placement record

28) St Andrews and Stirling Graduate Programme in Philosophy

Keywords chosen by past graduates/current students:
Analytic, Contemporary, Epistemology, Ethics, Language, Logic/Formal, Metaphysics, Mind

Average program ratings by graduates 2011 and later or current students:
4.3 overall rating (somewhat likely to recommend)

Job placement of graduates 2011 and later:
93 total, 24 in permanent academic jobs, 8 in non-academic jobs (28% placement rate)

Student Comments on Program Overall:
Intensity of academic life in small college town. Close relationship with faculty, inc social. Many visiting speakers.
Excellent research community at the department. Excellent supervision. Highly inspiring co-students.
Excellent support from supervisor; weekly seminars for graduate students; excellent annual review process
Fantastic location; vibrant philosophical community; bright minds.
Most useful was the network of famous philosophers. Good pastoral support.
Supportive collegiate community. Very high academic standard. Excellent supervision.
Supportive community, great faculty
The SASP programme has the benefit of two philosophy departments, which is generally good. The philosophy community in St Andrews is wonderful and welcoming. The department has a busy schedule of interesting events and visiting academics. The town itself is extremely lovely and easy to live in.

29) University of Pittsburgh

Keywords chosen by past graduates/current students:
Analytic, Contemporary, Epistemology, Ethics, German, Historical, History and Philosophy of Science, Language, Mind

Average program ratings by graduates 2011 and later or current students:
4.3 overall rating (somewhat likely to recommend); 3.3 teaching preparation (neutral); 4.1 research preparation (satisfied); 4.7 financial support (very satisfied); 3.6 program climate (satisfied)

Job placement of graduates 2011 and later:
58 total, 28 in permanent academic jobs, 6 in non-academic jobs (54% placement rate)

Student Comments on Program Overall:
At Pittsburgh, people were interested in figuring out the truth / truths, not in churning out bs papers. That was good. On the other hand, there was hardly any attention paid to professionalization and how to actually succeed at writing publishable papers. That was bad. This was all more than a decade ago. Things may have changed since then.
Excellent faculty, lively seminars, collegial grad student culture, and a generally inspiring intellectual climate. People there are excited about philosophy and read widely, including and especially in the history of philosophy.
It teaches a person to be a great philosopher.
Pittsburgh is extremely affordable, even on a graduate student stipend. This makes it attractive for low-income applicants, or those without parental support. I found the department atmosphere to be inclusive and welcoming, and the quality of instruction excellent.
reputation in discipline (providing a placement advantage), breadth of expertise across many areas of philosophy
The professors and graduate students are engaged and smart - talking with people in the program always makes me better at philosophy. And the department climate is good - people get along and are genuinely friends with one another (plenty of people spend time together outside of philosophy).
Training in both history of philosophy and contemporary. It gave me grounding for a career working outside my dissertation area. But it was a long time ago

30) University of Massachusetts Amherst

Keywords chosen by past graduates/current students:
Analytic, Epistemology, Ethics, Metaphysics

Average program ratings by graduates 2011 and later or current students:
4.3 overall rating (somewhat likely to recommend); 3.6 program climate (satisfied)

Job placement of graduates 2011 and later:
34 total, 15 in permanent academic jobs, 5 in non-academic jobs (52% placement rate)

Student Comments on Program Overall:
1. The department is focused broadly on analytic philosophy, which leads to much collaboration amongst faculty and grad students. 2. The faculty all get along quite well, which lends itself to a smooth and well-functioning department. 3. The department cares about diversity and tries to promote it both in faculty hires and graduate admissions. 4. The graduate students are friendly and welcoming, and in general the climate is good. 5. The funding is decent. 6. Placement record is very good.
I felt very supported by the faculty, and felt like the faculty were actively invested in helping us find jobs.
Like many women, I entered my PhD program with structural barriers that I didn’t even know about. Specifically, I was an undiagnosed [medical information removed] woman with several undiagnosed [medical information removed] related medical problems. Had my student health insurance directed me to doctors and specialists who could identify [medical information removed] my grad school experience may have gone a lot smoother. But this isn’t a reasonable expectation; I only found doctors aware of these things when I moved to [location information removed]. I do feel that my department could have extended more of a benefit of the doubt when I was struggling during my MA though. I ended up being demoted to the MA program, getting a [medical information removed], and needing the Dean’s help getting readmitted to the PhD program after my treatment proved to be successful. My other biggest challenge in the program was social; I made friends with the new women every year and most years one of my friends was kicked out. So I had no stable social support for the first three years. I would have made friends with the boys, but this was difficult because half of them just wanted me to be their philosophy girlfriend and the other half were religious and probably thought that I’m going to hell. One guy fell into both groups! That is not a socially safe environment to explore sensitive topics, or even just metaphysics.
Rigorous program, strong grad student community and rewarding departmental life. Wonderful profs, supportive and committed to students.
Small philosophy faculty size relative to other PhD programs meant that grad students are able to interact closely with all philosophy faculty members.
Supportive environment. Pro-active engagement with job-market students. Faculty who are seriously committed to their scholarship while personally interested in the well-being of their students.