In this blog post I provide some detailed, up-to-date information about two philosophy PhD programs. This week's picks are University College London and University of California, Los Angeles. These programs were chosen randomly, using an app called "Pickster." (Next week's picks are listed at the bottom of this post.) I updated this information myself, using the program's placement page and what I could find online. I aim to construct these posts with an eye to what can be seen about the programs from the APDA data set alone. This information has come from several sources, including current students and graduates. Prospective graduate students should look at the websites for the programs, linked above, for more complete information. The running tally includes select numbers from all of the programs covered so far.
- These programs have similar acronyms—sorry!
- Both UCL and UCLA have good placement into programs with a PhD, but UCLA also has a high overall permanent academic placement rate and higher than average salary
- Most graduates of both programs are in LEMM and Value Theory, with more from UCL in LEMM
- Both universities have higher than overall racial/ethnic diversity, and UCLA has higher than overall gender diversity
- UCLA graduates give a higher than average rating for their program, but ratings of more recent graduates are lower
Overall placement, 2012-present
University College London (UCL) appears to have had 37 graduates in this period, whereas University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) has had 45. UCL placed 10 of these graduates into tenure-track or other permanent academic positions (27%), with 9 of these in programs that offer a PhD in philosophy (24%). UCLA placed 21 into permanent academic positions (47%), and 11 into a program with a PhD (24%). Of UCL's other graduates, 14 are in postdoctoral or fellowship positions, 7 have other temporary academic placements, 3 are in nonacademic positions, and 3 have no or unknown placement. Of UCLA's other philosophy graduates, 4 are in postdoctoral or fellowship positions, 12 have other temporary academic placements, 7 are in nonacademic positions, and 1 has no or unknown placement. Too few UCL students provided salary information to report, but 100% preferred an academic position. UCLA graduates reported an average salary of $75,000 and 94% preferred an academic position.
Note that 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 are 37% and 12%, respectively, with an overall average salary of $71,879.
Areas of Specialization, by Category
Including all past and current students in the APDA database, 55% of UCL students are in LEMM, 34% are in Value Theory, 7% are in History and Traditions, and 5% Science, Logic and Math. 41% of UCLA students are in LEMM, 44% are in Value Theory, 11% are in History and Traditions, and 4% are in Science, Logic and Math. For UCL, the plurality of graduates 2012 onward placed into permanent academic positions were in LEMM (50%), whereas for UCLA they were split between LEMM and Value Theory (38% each).
Note that the current database values for all past graduates and current students are 27% in LEMM, 34% in Value Theory, 24% in History and Traditions, and 15% in Science, Logic, and Math.
Including all past graduates and current students, 29% of those from UCL are women (34% of current students, 26% of past graduates), whereas 33% of UCLA students are women (34% of current students, 33% of past graduates).
29% is the overall proportion reported by APDA in 2017. Current database values are 31% for all past graduates and current students, 37% for current students, and 28% for past graduates.
Including all past graduates and current students, 17% of those who answered questions about race and ethnicity from UCL identified as something other than White, non-Hispanic. This number is 27% for UCLA.
13% is the overall proportion reported by APDA in 2017. The current percentage in the database is 15%.
Too few UCL students provided SES information to report. 21% of UCLA students were first generation, spanning the lower to upper middle classes.
The percentage of all survey respondents who are first generation college students is 23.3% (CI: 20.7% to 26.0%), compared to 31% for all United States doctoral degree recipients in 2015.
UCLA students provided two public comments on how philosophy could be more inclusive:
Maintain triple-blind editorial practices. Less publications by invitation.
I think the most important and feasible step is for philosophy to become more international, providing different and diverse models from China, Africa, India, and the Americas. More openness to different journals and publication outlets outside a narrow column of standard journals would be appropriate as a means to this.
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 UCL students selected "somewhat likely," on average (3.6, n=7). UCLA students also selected "somewhat likely," albeit with a higher mean rating (4.3, n=22). While UCL does not have a moderate or higher correlation between graduation year and program rating, UCLA has a moderate negative correlation, excluding current students (-.61). Of 65 programs with at least 10 survey participants who are past graduates, 15 had moderate negative correlations between these values (6 had moderate positive correlations, and there is a slight negative overall correlation of -.07).
"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, 4.0 for research, and 3.8 for financial support.
In response to: "Rate your satisfaction with the advice and preparation this program provides to its graduate students for undergraduate teaching," UCLA students selected "satisfied" (4.4 n=14).
In response to: "Rate your satisfaction with the advice and preparation this program provides to its graduate students for academic research," UCLA students selected between "satisfied" and "very satisfied" (4.5, n=14).
In response to: "Rate your satisfaction with the financial support this program provides for its graduate students," UCLA students selected "satisfied" (4.2, n=14).
UCL students left one public comment about their program overall:
Excellent, dedicated faculty. Small department, but in London so has access to a larger, wider philosophical scene.
UCLA students provided public comments on the program overall:
Excellent mentoring and rigorous preparation.
Outstanding faculty that worked closely with graduate students.
Department gender/social climate, inclusivity & diversity, funding, support for graduate student research, placement and low attrition
on training for teaching:
We got an enormous amount of experience as TAs and instructors.
and on financial support:
Recent increases in graduate student funding, separate research funds, health insurance and tuition remission
Next week I hope to look at Edinburgh University and University of Michigan. Feedback is welcome, at firstname.lastname@example.org.