In this blog post I provide some detailed, up-to-date information about two philosophy PhD programs. This week's picks are Georgetown University and University of Arizona. 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.
- Both programs have above average permanent academic placement, and Arizona also has above average placement into PhD-granting programs
- A larger than usual proportion of Georgetown grads prefer and are placed in nonacademic jobs
- Both programs have a focus on Value Theory
- Georgetown has above average gender diversity, but below average socioeconomic diversity
- Student ratings for both programs were higher than average
Overall placement, 2012-present
Georgetown had 42 PhD graduates in this period, whereas Arizona had 38. Of Georgetown's 42 graduates, 35 went into academic or unknown employment, and they placed 21 of these into tenure-track or other permanent academic positions (60%), with 3 of these in programs that offer a PhD in philosophy (9%). Arizona placed 20 of 36 into permanent academic positions (56%), with 11 in philosophy programs with a PhD (31%).
Of Georgetown's other graduates, 3 are in postdoctoral or fellowship positions, 9 have other temporary academic placements, 7 are in nonacademic positions, and 2 have no or unknown placement.
Of Arizona's other graduates, 5 are in postdoctoral or fellowship positions, 10 have other temporary positions, 2 are in nonacademic positions, and 1 has no or unknown placement.
Nonacademic positions held by graduates of Georgetown include clinical ethics, whereas those held by graduates of Arizona include software engineer.
The average salary of Georgetown graduates is $79,400 and 71% preferred an academic job, whereas this is $87,917 and 100% for Arizona students.
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, 21% of Georgetown students are in Language, Epistemology, Metaphysics, and Mind (LEMM), 62% are in Value Theory, 17% are in History and Traditions, and none are in Science, Logic and Math. 33% of Arizona students are in LEMM, 51% are in Value Theory, 7% are in History and Traditions, and 9% are in Science, Logic, and Math. For both programs, the majority of graduates 2012 onward placed into permanent academic positions were in Value Theory (62% for Georgetown; 60% for Arizona).
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, 41% of those from Georgetown are women, as are 24% of Arizona students.
The current database percentage is 31% for all past graduates and current students.
Including all past graduates and current students, 17% of those who answered questions about race and ethnicity from Georgetown and 17% from Arizona 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 21%, but this is likely inflated relative to the true population due to some of our data gathering efforts.
13% of those from Georgetown were first generation college students, as were 25% of Arizona 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 Georgetown and Arizona 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 Georgetown students selected between "somewhat likely" and "definitely would recommend" (4.5, n=22), whereas Arizona students selected "somewhat likely" (4.4, n=16).
Neither university had a 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," Georgetown students selected between "satisfied" and "very satisfied" (4.5, n=13), whereas Arizona students selected "satisfied" (4.0, n=9).
In response to: "Rate your satisfaction with the advice and preparation this program provides to its graduate students for academic research," Georgetown students selected "satisfied" (4.0, n=12), as did Arizona students (4.4, n=9).
In response to: "Rate your satisfaction with the financial support this program provides for its graduate students, Georgetown students selected between "neutral" and "satisfied" (3.5, n=13), whereas Arizona students selected "neutral" (3.4, n=9).
(Note that these comments primarily come from current students and recent graduates, but in some cases may be from non-recent graduates.)
Georgetown students provided public comments on the program overall:
Helpful, Warm, Nurturing. They will go the extra miles to help you succeed
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.
on preparation for research:
The coursework provided good training in academic research. There was also some additional instruction on publication (i.e., information on journals).
and on financial support:
At the time that I started, the stipend was $18,000 a year for living in one of the largest metropolitan areas in the country. I experienced great financial strain throughout my time there, which had lasting effects.
Arizona students likewise provided public comments on the program overall:
1st tier faculty. Attentive mentoring. 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.
Grad student community is great. Smart profs and grad students. Job prospects not ideal - most graduates struggle unless AOS is political.
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
and on preparation for research:
Mentoring with respect to scholarship was fantastic.
The senior political philosophers in particular provide excellent training for research, especially [faculty name] and [faculty name].
Next week I hope to look at DePaul University and University of Miami. Feedback is welcome, at firstname.lastname@example.org.