Philosophy PhD Programs: University of Dallas and Saint Louis University

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


  • Dallas is a small program with little available public information regarding graduates and placement, but appears to have below average placement
  • SLU is a mid-sized program with above average placement into permanent academic positions
  • Dallas students focus on History and Traditions, whereas SLU students focus on Value Theory
  • Both Dallas and SLU have below average gender diversity, whereas SLU has above average racial/ethnic and socioeconomic diversity
  • SLU graduates rate the program very highly, both overall and on specific measures

Overall placement, 2012-present
Dallas appears to have had 11 graduates in this period, but it is very difficult to determine graduates, since Dallas does not have a placement page, does not publish its dissertations to the library's dissertation repository, and has not published dissertations after 2015 to ProQuest. In contrast, SLU appears to have a complete placement page that is usefully organized, and according to that it has graduated 41 students in this period. Of Dallas' 11 graduates, 8 went into academic employment, and they placed 3 of these into tenure-track or other permanent academic positions (38%), with 0 of these in a program that offers a PhD in philosophy. SLU placed 19 into permanent academic positions of 35 in academic positions (54%), with 1 in a philosophy program with a PhD (3%). Of Dallas' other graduates, 2 are in other temporary academic positions, 3 are in nonacademic positions, and 3 have no or unknown placement. Of SLU's other philosophy graduates, 4 are in postdoctoral or fellowship positions, 8 have other temporary academic placements, 6 are in nonacademic positions, and 4 have no or unknown placement. Too few Dallas graduates provided salary information or job preference to report. The average salary of SLU graduates was $69,046 and 100% preferred an academic job.

Note that removing nonacademic positions from the total number of graduates 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, 8% of Dallas students are in LEMM, 33% are in Value Theory, 58% are in History and Traditions, and 0% Science, Logic and Math. 36% of SLU students are in LEMM, 42% are in Value Theory, 20% are in History and Traditions, and 2% are in Science, Logic and Math. For Dallas, the majority of graduates 2012 onward placed into permanent academic positions were in History and Traditions (67%). For SLU, the majority were in Value Theory (53%).

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, 17% of those from Dallas are women, as are 20% of SLU 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, 36% of those who answered questions about race and ethnicity from SLU identified as something other than White, non-Hispanic. (Too few graduates from Dallas answered questions about race or ethnicity 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.

25% of SLU students were first generation. (Too few graduates from Dallas 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.

SLU students provided one public comment on how philosophy could be more inclusive:

Inclusivity starts at the grass roots with each individual member. However, scheduling common meals or social events may help break the ice

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 SLU students selected "definitely would recommend," on average (4.7, n=15). SLU 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. (Too few Dallas graduates responded to this question 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.

In response to: "Rate your satisfaction with the advice and preparation this program provides to its graduate students for undergraduate teaching," SLU students selected "very satisfied" (4.6, n=11).

In response to: "Rate your satisfaction with the advice and preparation this program provides to its graduate students for academic research," SLU students selected between "satisfied" and "very satisfied" (4.5, n=11).

In response to: "Rate your satisfaction with the financial support this program provides for its graduate students," SLU students selected "satisfied" (4.1, n=11).

Public Comments

Dallas students did not provide public comments on the program.

SLU students provided public comments on the program overall:

Excellent program in medieval philosophy and philosophy of religion. Lots of mentoring available to grad students. Grad students can teach their own courses through teaching assistantships.
I received a great education. The faculty of the school were strongly in support of the students. We were well-trained and well-cared for.
Strong faculty, excellent training and vocational preparation, good reputation and placement record.
the atmosphere in the department, both between students and with faculty; the availability of the faculty; the commitment to training for teaching
The professors actively developed relationships with students. There was a significant sense of community among graduate students. The professors are excellent. The resources for research are excellent.
The program was eclectic and collegial and supportive of grad students.

on preparation for teaching:

I received a lot of mentoring including more than one workshop on teaching. the Center for Teaching Excellence at the University also provided workshops and symposia on university teaching, including a teaching certificate program↵. A senior faculty member from my program sat in on my class and offered helpful suggestions on more than one occasion
As TAs we were in charge of our own courses.
Standard teaching assistantships here give lots of opportunities for gaining experience.

on preparation for research:

Funding was available to send students to other libraries and research institutes in order to conduct research. There was a lot of mentoring on developing a successful research program after graduation, including a reading group designed to emphasize the discussion of current debates in philosophy

and on financial support:

The TAship is good. Four years with adequate funding.

Next week I hope to look at University of Georgia and Tulane University. Feedback is welcome, at

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