Philosophy PhD Programs: University of Wisconsin-Madison and Loyola University Chicago

In this blog post I provide some detailed, up-to-date information about two philosophy PhD programs. This week's picks are University of Wisconsin-Madison and Loyola University Chicago. 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.

tl;dr

  • Wisconsin has a high academic placement rate, whereas Loyola's is about average
  • Both place more in Value Theory, but more of Loyola's students are in History and Traditions
  • No one from Wisconsin who answered questions about race and ethnicity was a person of color
  • Both have somewhat higher than average student ratings for the overall program
  • Yet, both have low ratings for financial support, and Loyola is also low for research preparation

Overall placement, 2012-present
Wisconsin had 50 PhD graduates in this period, whereas Loyola had 32. Of Wisconsin's 50 graduates, 43 went into academic or unknown employment, and they placed 26 of these into tenure-track or other permanent academic positions (60%), with 6 of these in programs that offer a PhD in philosophy (14%). Loyola placed 9 of 24 into permanent academic positions (38%), with none in a philosophy program with a PhD.

Of Wisconsin's other graduates, 6 are in postdoctoral or fellowship positions, 7 are in other temporary academic positions, 7 are in nonacademic positions, and 4 have no or unknown placement.

Of Loyola's other graduates, 1 is in a postdoctoral or fellowship position, 13 have temporary academic placements, 8 are in nonacademic positions, and 1 has no or unknown placement.

The average salary of Wisconsin graduates is $69,415 and 89% preferred an academic job. Too few graduates from Loyola provided salary information to report, but 67% preferred an academic job.

Note that removing nonacademic positions from the total number of graduates in reporting permanent academic placement is a new standard for this project. According to the old standard, the overall proportion of 2012-2016 graduates from the 135 programs tracked by APDA in permanent academic positions is 36%, with 11% in PhD granting programs. The current database values for all 2012 and later graduates according to the new standard are 43% and 14%, respectively, with an overall average salary of $68,542 and 90% who prefer an academic job.

Areas of Specialization, by Category
Including all past and current students in the APDA database, 28% of Wisconsin students are in LEMM, 46% are in Value Theory, 6% are in History and Traditions, and 21% Science, Logic and Math. 13% of Loyola students are in LEMM, 39% are in Value Theory, 42% are in History and Traditions, and 5% are in Science, Logic and Math. For Wisconsin, the plurality of graduates 2012 onward placed into permanent academic positions were in Value Theory (42%), as were the majority from Loyola (67%).

Note that the current database values for all past graduates and current students are 28% in LEMM, 34% in Value Theory, 24% in History and Traditions, and 14% in Science, Logic, and Math.

Diversity
Including all past graduates and current students, 31% of those from Wisconsin are women, as are 31% of Loyola students.

29% is the overall proportion reported by APDA in 2017. The current database percentage is 31% for all past graduates and current students.

Including all past graduates and current students, none of those who answered questions about race and ethnicity from Wisconsin and 13% from Loyola identified as something other than White, non-Hispanic.

13% is the overall proportion reported by APDA in 2017. The percentage from the Diversity and Inclusivity survey is 14%. The current database percentage is 20%, but this is likely inflated relative to the true population due to some of our data gathering efforts.

33% of those from Loyola were first generation college students. (Too few from Wisconsin provided this 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 Loyola provided one public comment on how philosophy could be more inclusive (Wisconsin students did not):

Admit more minorities? Make sure the faculty see the lack of underrepresented students as a social problem?
Program Rating
In response to the question: "How likely would you be to recommend the program from which you obtained or will obtain your PhD to prospective philosophy students?" past and current Wisconsin students selected "somewhat likely" (4.4, n=16), as did Loyola students (4.2, n=6). Wisconsin did not have moderate or higher correlation between graduation year and program rating. Of 69 programs with at least 10 survey participants who are past graduates, 14 had moderate negative correlations between these values, 7 had moderate positive correlations, and there is a slight negative overall correlation of -.06.

"Somewhat likely," 4.0, is the average rating reported in 2017. The current database overall average is the same, with an average of 3.7 for teaching, 3.9 for research, and 3.7 for financial support.
In response to: "Rate your satisfaction with the advice and preparation this program provides to its graduate students for undergraduate teaching," Wisconsin students selected "satisfied" (3.6, n=7), as did Loyola students (3.7, n=6).

In response to: "Rate your satisfaction with the advice and preparation this program provides to its graduate students for academic research," Wisconsin students selected "satisfied" (4.0, n=7), whereas Loyola students selected "neutral" (3.3, n=6).

In response to: "Rate your satisfaction with the financial support this program provides for its graduate students," both Wisconsin (2.6, n=7) and Loyola students selected "neutral" (3.0, n=5).

Public Comments

Wisconsin students provided a few public comments on the 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.
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.
Loyola students likewise provided public comments on the program overall:
Good environment for a graduate student. A lot of peer support within the student community - particularly for students that were not from Chicago. Excellent faculty - especially the female faculty.
The philosophy education is excellent, and the culture of inquiry lends itself to excellent scholarship and intellectual community. The professionalization of the discipline is not emphasized, and this, I believe, was detrimental to job placement.
on preparation for teaching:
I found that I had to actively seek out opportunities for mentoring and community around teaching, but there are some excellent teachers among the faculty there (and among the grad students, during my time there at least) and the opportunities are there.
While I was there, the department started formerly training/supporting graduate students towards teaching.

on preparation for research:

I do not have any means of comparison to other programs...

and on financial support:

It was low, particularly since I was an international student. This added another layer of stress to an already stress flu situation.

Next week I hope to look at University of Calgary and University of California, Santa Barbara. Feedback is welcome, at apda@ucmerced.edu.

Link to this post at: http://placementdata.com:8182/wisconsinandloyola/