In this blog post I provide some detailed, up-to-date information about two philosophy PhD programs. This week's picks are Birkbeck, University of London and University of Rochester. 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.
- Birkbeck does not have a placement page and information was difficult to track down on this program
- Both Birkbeck and Rochester appear to have below average placement into permanent academic positions
- Students of both programs focus on LEMM
- Both programs appear to have below average gender diversity, but Rochester has above average racial/ethnic diversity
- Student ratings for Rochester are average overall, but below average for teaching preparation and financial support
Overall placement, 2012-present
Birkbeck seems to have had 26 PhD graduates in this period, whereas Rochester had 16. Of Birkbeck's 26 graduates, 20 went into academic or unknown employment, and they placed 5 of these into tenure-track or other permanent academic positions (25%), with 1 in a program that offers a PhD in philosophy (5%). Rochester placed 5 of 13 into permanent academic positions (38%), with 1 in a philosophy program with a PhD (8%).
Of Birkbeck's other graduates, 4 are in postdoctoral or fellowship positions, 3 have other temporary academic placements, 6 are in nonacademic positions, and 8 have no or unknown placement.
Of Rochester's other graduates, 8 have temporary academic positions and 3 are in nonacademic positions.
Nonacademic positions held by graduates of Birkbeck include communications, translation, consulting, and banking, whereas those held by graduates of Rochester include software engineering and law.
The average salary of Rochester graduates is $55,000 and 100% preferred an academic job. (Too few Birkbeck graduates provided this information to report.)
The current database values for all 2012 and later graduates now in permanent academic positions, out of those in academic positions overall, is 42%, with 14% in programs that offer a PhD in philosophy. The average salary of all graduates who took part in the survey is $68,542 and 90% prefer an academic job.
Areas of Specialization, by Category
Including all past and current students in the APDA database, 43% of Birkbeck students are in Language, Epistemology, Metaphysics, and Mind (LEMM), 25% are in Value Theory, 21% are in History & Traditions, and 11% are in Science, Logic and Math. 69% of Rochester students are in LEMM, 16% are in Value Theory, 13% are in History and Traditions, and 3% are in Science, Logic, and Math. For Birkbeck, the plurality of graduates 2012 onward who were placed into permanent academic positions were in LEMM (40%), whereas this is split between LEMM and Value Theory for Rochester graduates (40% each).
Note that the current database values for all past graduates and current students are 28% in LEMM, 33% in Value Theory, 24% in History and Traditions, and 15% in Science, Logic, and Math.
Including all past graduates and current students, 30% of those from Birkbeck are women, as are 14% of Rochester students.
The current database percentage is 31% for all past graduates and current students.
Including all past graduates and current students, 20% of those who answered questions about race and ethnicity from Rochester identified as something other than White, non-Hispanic. (Too few Birkbeck students provided this and the following information to report.)
13% is the overall proportion reported by APDA in 2017. The percentage from the Diversity and Inclusivity survey is 14%. The current database percentage is 21%, but this is likely inflated relative to the true population due to some of our data gathering efforts.
20% of those from Rochester were first generation college students.
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 Birkbeck and Rochester did not provide any public comments on how philosophy could be more inclusive.
In response to the question: "How likely would you be to recommend the program from which you obtained or will obtain your PhD to prospective philosophy students?" past and current Rochester students selected "somewhat likely" (4.0, n=9), whereas too few Birkbeck students provided this or the following information to report.
"Somewhat likely," 4.0, is the average rating reported in 2017. The current database overall average is the same, with an average of 3.7 for teaching, 3.9 for research, and 3.7 for financial support. It is worth noting that some students give lower ratings to their program because they would not recommend a graduate education in philosophy to anyone or because they think it is more difficult to find employment from that program for reasons that have little to do with the quality of that program.
In response to: "Rate your satisfaction with the advice and preparation this program provides to its graduate students for undergraduate teaching," Rochester students selected "neutral" (3.3, n=6).
In response to: "Rate your satisfaction with the advice and preparation this program provides to its graduate students for academic research," Rochester students selected "satisfied" (4.0, n=6).
In response to: "Rate your satisfaction with the financial support this program provides for its graduate students, Rochester students selected "neutral" (3.2, n=6).
(Note that these comments primarily come from current students and recent graduates, but in some cases may be from non-recent graduates.)
Rochester students provided public comments on the program overall:
Our placement rate is only modest, but the professors provided an excellent education. As a member of a religious group underrepresented in philosophy, I felt, on the whole, very welcome and valued.
on preparation for teaching:
As with most graduate programs, there was almost no formal instruction in teaching or attention paid to the better established results of contemporary learning science. There was, however, a fine classroom observation program, and an atmosphere of support.
and on preparation for research:
The faculty are very capable, and willing to spend the time necessary to ensure that their graduate students become capable as well.
Next week I hope to look at University of Arkansas and Southern Illinois University. Feedback is welcome, at firstname.lastname@example.org.