In this blog post I provide some detailed, up-to-date information about two philosophy PhD programs. This week's picks are University of Connecticut and Kingston University. 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.
- Kingston's Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy graduates about as many PhDs as UConn's Philosophy Department
- Yet, without a complete placement/dissertation page, it is much more difficult to track Kingston graduates, and so less can be said about the program
- For the data we have, UConn has above average permanent academic placement, whereas Kingston's is below average
- UConn also has above average racial/ethnic and socioeconomic diversity
- UConn's students are in LEMM and Value Theory, whereas Kingston's are in History and Traditions
Overall placement, 2012-present
UConn had 31 PhD graduates in this period, whereas Kingston had 35. Of UConn's 31 graduates, 28 went into academic or unknown employment, and they placed 14 of these into tenure-track or other permanent academic positions (50%), with 3 of these into programs that offer a PhD in philosophy (11%). Kingston placed 3 of 31 into permanent academic positions (10%), with 1 in a philosophy program with a PhD (3%).
Of UConn's other graduates, 2 are in postdoctoral or fellowship positions, 11 have temporary academic placements, 3 have nonacademic positions, and 1 has no or unknown placement.
Of Kingston's other graduates, 4 are in postdoctoral or fellowship positions, 12 are in other temporary academic positions, 4 are in nonacademic positions, and 12 have no or unknown placement.
The average salary of UConn graduates is $71,833 and 75% preferred an academic job, whereas too few Kingston graduates provided salary or job preference 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.
Areas of Specialization, by Category
Including all past and current students in the APDA database, 45% of UConn students are in LEMM, 29% are in Value Theory, 10% are in History and Traditions, and 17% are in Science, Logic and Math. 3% of Kingston students are in LEMM, 36% are in Value Theory, 58% are in History and Traditions, and 3% are in Science, Logic, and Math. For UConn, 43% of graduates 2012 onward placed into permanent academic positions were in LEMM and 43% were in Value Theory, whereas the majority of those from Kingston were in Value Theory (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.
Including all past graduates and current students, 30% of those from UConn are women, as are 35% of Kingston students.
The current database percentage is 31% for all past graduates and current students.
Including all past graduates and current students, 33% of those who answered questions about race and ethnicity from UConn identified as something other than White, non-Hispanic. (Too few from Kingston provided this 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 20%, but this is likely inflated relative to the true population due to some of our data gathering efforts.
43% of those from UConn were first generation college students, but too few Kingston students 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 Kingston provided one public comment on how philosophy could be more inclusive:
The hiring arena is essential, but so too are the active recruitment of graduate students from underrepresented groups, and the inclusion/engagement of philosophical traditions outside of the usual suspects. A willingness to allow philosophy to be internally constituted by its outsides - and not simply speak on their behalf - is crucial.
(UConn students did not provide any such comments.)
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 UConn students selected "somewhat likely" (4.0, n=12), whereas too few Kingston students provided this information to report.
UConn did not have 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," UConn students selected "satisfied" (3.7, n=7).
In response to: "Rate your satisfaction with the advice and preparation this program provides to its graduate students for academic research," UConn students selected "satisfied" (4.4, n=7).
In response to: "Rate your satisfaction with the financial support this program provides for its graduate students, UConn students selected "very satisfied" (4.6, n=7).
(Note that these comments primarily come from current students and recent graduates, but in some cases may be from non-recent graduates.)
UConn students provided public comments on the program overall:
I would not recommend getting a Ph.D. in philosophy to anyone.
Professors are very helpful and great advisors, but you just have to seek them out because they are (of course) so busy. However, there are professors in other departments who are just as busy but will offer advice or help with your research at the drop of a hat; the comparison with philosophy is fairly stark. Seminars are useful and involved, though often on mainstream analytic phil topics. The grad community is great, and there are plenty of extracurricular groups for those with non-mainstream interests. Admin/organization in the department is very often unclear and getting paperwork done can require seeking out several people to find out what to do. But overall the pros outweigh the cons.
on preparation for research:
The department cares a lot about research including the research of its graduate students. A major emphasis is on ensuring that graduate students start producing original research early on, and students are helped by professors as well as financial support for conferences, etc.
and on financial support:
During the year, financial support is great (nothing to complain about). We receive a pay increase once we get a masters degree as well. The summer can be dicey financially since there are not many summer teaching slots, and priority is given to international students (who cannot work outside the university) or those who are in a tough spot monetarily. Otherwise you have to arrange another source of income for yourself over the summer.
Kingston students likewise provided one public comment on the program overall:
A rich intellectual environment - this is undeniable - but overall Kingston graduates do not succeed relative to other programmes. This is due to a number of reasons, some of its own making (see below), and some which are beyond its control (the current political-economic climate of higher education, the dominance of analytic philosophy within the academy, etc.).
on teaching preparation:
There is no undergraduate Philosophy programme at Kingston, thus graduates are unprepared for undergraduate teaching relative to graduates from other programmes. Overall, Kingston/CRMEP has no mechanism in place to help facilitate the transition from the PhD to the job market. My former PhD supervisor showed no interest in my career after graduating. I only heard from him when I had to chase him for letters. Many people I know from this programme were left to their own devices after graduation.
on research preparation:
The research coming out of the CRMEP is cutting edge, but more could be done in terms of practical advice/preparation for presenting that research at conferences, publishing in journals, etc.
and on financial support:
While I personally benefitted from and am grateful for the scholarship I received, many students did not receive such support. There is very little financial support for part-time students. Those students from outside the EU/UK are hit hard, given that fees are three times as much as British/EU students. More could be done to address this imbalance.
Next week I hope to look at The Catholic University of America and University of Kansas. Feedback is welcome, at firstname.lastname@example.org.