Graduate School Philosophy Placement Records In the US and CA: Will I Get a Job?

pr_phd

This article is a thorough analysis of the placement records of most leading PhD philosophy programs. I analyze trends, create rankings, and discuss the issues surrounding and importance of placement records over the past 13 years. I also compare placement rankings with faculty rankings from The Leiter Report, discussing their relationship and how both are necessary for making an informed decision about where (and if) to study philosophy in graduate school.

 

Other Reports

pr_terminalmaThe Placement Report for Terminal MA Programs
pr_prestige_thumb2The Placement Report Based on School Prestige
pr_contential[5]The Placement Report for Continental Philosophy

The Motive: Why do this Study?

As a former graduate student in philosophy (MA, Northern Illinois University), one of my most pressing concerns with regard to pursuing a career in philosophy was whether I would get a job.  And not just any job, but a tenure-track position at a school—any school.  I had heard and witnessed horror stories, some of which involved close friends, regarding adjunct and temporary lecturing positions.  These professors would teach 4-6 classes each semester and make a pittance, often with no health care or retirement benefits.  One such friend was recently let go from his temporary positions.  He was teaching over the maximum amount of hours allowed before benefits would be required under the new healthcare laws, and his schools (like so many others), decided to cut him rather than give him benefits.  Now he has to search for a new career outside of academia after devoting most of his life to its service.

What were the chances that I would follow his fate and only acquire a temporary or adjunct position?  Would I be able to support myself, much less my family, by choosing such a career?  Even if did acquire a tenure-track position at some school in the country, it would only be after 5 to 7 years of graduate student living, and a further 5 or so years of teaching to acquire tenure.  I knew that it would be at least 10 years before I would be in a stable academic position, making a decent though very modest living.  How likely was it that I would achieve this goal?

We have all looked at The Leiter Report at the Philosophical Gourmet.  Such information is extremely valuable in terms of knowing which departments rank best in this or that field of philosophy and which schools are best overall.  However, it has very little to say about placement records (for example, here and here).  For some people, it is very important personally to attend a prestigious school or work with a certain professor in philosophy, so much so that they are less concerned about getting a profitable job in philosophy after they graduate.  However, for me, getting a job after I graduated was more important than whether or not the school I went to was well ranked or if I studied with a certain professor in the field.  What mattered most to me was whether a school placed it students well for a successful philosophy career.  As such, I had to turn to the placement records at each school's individual website and make sense of the differently-formatted, incomplete, and inconsistent data that was provided.

For a variety of reasons, including my assessment of my prospects and the profession as a whole, I ultimately decided to leave academia, and I am now working in the data analysis field.  However, I still have a passion for philosophy and many of my friends are currently in academic philosophy or thinking about pursuing academic philosophy.  For their sakes, my own personal interest, and the sake of anyone else considering an career in philosophy, I decided to undertake a more thorough analysis of placement records to get a sense of the job market for philosophers and any interesting trends in the data.

I gathered the placement records from each of the schools listed in The Leiter Report when they were available.  Thus, I had the placement records from approximately 60 different schools in the US and CA.  There were many difficulties in sorting through this data and combining it into a common and useful format (see here for more information about how this dataset was created).  However, after months of work, my dataset was ready.  (Note: given the nature and number of the difficulties in creating this dataset, I hope you will forgive me if I have sometimes substantially misrepresented any school's placement record.  Please take my rankings with a grain of salt.  This is a first attempt at a difficult problem.)

Here is what I found out...

The Meat: Results, Observations, and Conclusions

I gathered approximately 2,600 placement records since the year 2000.  That is approximately 200 graduates a year (pretty constant from year to year), coming from these top ranked programs.  That does not include the 10s or 100s of students coming from unranked programs.  This means that if you start a PhD program next year (assuming 6 years to PhD completion), there will be an additional 1,200 philosophy students graduating ahead of you, all looking for jobs.

Let's go column by column in looking at the results.

Gender:

Approximately 1/3 of the graduates post-2000 are women, while 2/3 are men.  This ratio seems to be holding steady since 2000, although perhaps women are gaining slightly in recent years.

Does one's gender make a difference, since 2000, in terms of what type of position one gets in philosophy?  I split up "Male", "Female", and "Unknown" values for Gender into the different kinds of Initial and Current Placement Types (i.e., "Lecturer/Temporary", "Post Doc/Researcher", "Tenure Track/Permanent", "Tenured", "Not in Academic Philosophy", and "Unknown"). I then calculated the ratio of total graduates in each Placement Type category by gender to the total number of graduates by gender.  If gender does NOT make a difference, then "Male", "Female", and "Unknown" categories should have roughly the same ratio for each type of placement.  Is this the case?

Not exactly.  Interestingly, and perhaps surprisingly, women in philosophy are more likely to be initially placed into tenure track/permanent positions than men are.  Both men and women are about equally likely to get post-doctoral/research positions.  Men are more likely to receive lecturer/temporary positions than women are, and they are slightly more likely to not be in academic philosophy after graduating.


When it comes to current placement, men have closed the gap in tenure track position placement, but women still lead slightly.  Women in academic philosophy are still more likely to have a tenure track or permanent position in philosophy than men are.  They are about equally likely to have post-doc/research positions, tenured positions, and to not be in academic philosophy.  Men are slightly more likely to still be in a lecturer/temporary position than women are.

 

Thus, it appears that it is slightly more favorable in terms of career prospects to be a graduating woman in philosophy, especially initially, than a graduating man in philosophy.  However, the advantage is small, so not too much should read into the difference.

PhD School:

As a percentage of total graduates, the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis-St. Paul has produced the most graduates since 2000 (5.4%) while Carnegie Mellon University has produced the least (0.54%).  (Note: these percentages do not take into account attrition.  Many students may have left the program before completing a PhD, and consequently, that school's completion ratios will be biased.  Students should ask about attrition at the schools they are interested in.)

PhDPlacement20131105_1

First Placement School:

I noticed that lots of schools place at a particular school over and over again in their initial placement.  This includes a large percentage of initial placements at the school the student is graduating from (usually, as an adjunct or lecturer).  Out of all total initial placements, 5.7% of graduates receive their first position from the school they graduated from.  Below is a list of all of the schools that have initially placed 10% or more of their students at the same school:

PhD School

First Placement School

Ratio
Ohio State University Ohio State University 0.3
University of Alberta University of Alberta 0.23
University of Notre Dame University of Notre Dame 0.22
Carnegie Mellon University Carnegie Mellon University 0.21
University of Miami Miami Dade College 0.19
Stanford University Stanford University 0.18
Florida State University Florida State University 0.17
University of Utah Utah Valley University 0.17
Washington University, St. Louis Washington University, St. Louis 0.17
University of Missouri, Columbia University of Missouri, Columbia 0.17
University of Iowa University of Iowa 0.15
University of British Columbia University of British Columbia 0.15
University of Colorado, Boulder University of Colorado, Boulder 0.15
University of Western Ontario University of Western Ontario 0.15
University of California, Davis California State University, Sacramento 0.14
Georgetown University Georgetown University 0.14
University of Pennsylvania University of Pennsylvania 0.12
University of Illinois, Chicago University of Illinois, Chicago 0.12
University of Miami University of Miami 0.11
University of California, Los Angeles University of California, Los Angeles 0.11
New York University University of Texas, Austin 0.11
University of Missouri, Columbia University of Texas, Pan American 0.1
University of Washington Coastal Carolina University 0.1
University of Washington University of Washington 0.1

 

First Placement Type:

Since 2000, approximately 39% of graduates received a permanent or Tenure Track position in their initial placement.  Temporary positions comprise 34% of initial placements, post-docs comprise 13% of placements, and 8% of students do not go into academic philosophy (6% are Unknown).  This means that approximately 61% of philosophy graduates do not receive a Tenure Track or permanent position in academic philosophy their first time around.  However, it does mean that 73% of philosophy graduates are teaching philosophy, and at least 86% of graduates are involved in professional philosophy in some way.

 

Is this distribution changing over time?  Since the year 2000, it appears the tenure track/permanent positions have maintained or slightly dipped in percentages while lecturer/temporary positions have increased in terms of initial placement (although they have greatly decreased in recent years).  Post-doc/research positions have increased steadily to the point that one is as likely to get a post-doc as get a tenure-track/permanent position.

image

 

Let's take each of these kinds of initial placement in turn. (Note: I am not here considering the quality of placement (i.e., the strength of the school the student is being placed at).  I am only considering the kind of placement (i.e., tenure-track/permanent, post-doc/researcher, lecturer/temporary, or not in academic philosophy)  Also note that many schools may not have listed all graduates from the program in their placement data, meaning that their various placement rankings will not entirely reflect the actual status of the program).

1. Tenure-Track/Permanent Initial Placements

Which schools initially place the most students into Tenure-Track/Permanent positions?  The top three schools with the most overall initial placements into Tenure-Track/Permanent positions since 2000 are: New York University (71%), Johns Hopkins University (70%), and Harvard University (70%).  Here are the full results:

PhDSchool Ratio RankScore
New York University 0.71 1
Johns Hopkins University 0.7 2
Harvard University 0.7 3
University of California, Berkeley 0.68 4
University of Arizona 0.67 5
Duke University 0.67 6
Yale University 0.61 7
Rice University 0.6 8
Rutgers University, New Brunswick 0.59 9
Columbia University 0.56 10
Vanderbilt University 0.55 11
University of Texas, Austin 0.53 12
Syracuse University 0.52 13
University of Pittsburgh 0.5 14
University of Wisconsin, Madison 0.5 14
Princeton University 0.49 16
Northwestern University 0.48 17
University of Virginia 0.48 18
University of Chicago 0.45 19
Cornell University 0.44 20
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 0.42 21
University of California, Riverside 0.42 22
University of California, Irvine 0.41 23
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 0.4 24
University of Miami 0.37 25
University of Pennsylvania 0.37 26
Boston University 0.36 27
Carnegie Mellon University 0.36 28
University of Illinois, Chicago 0.35 29
University of Maryland, College Park 0.35 30
University of California, San Diego 0.35 31
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 0.35 32
University of California, Los Angeles 0.34 33
University of Colorado, Boulder 0.33 34
Stanford University 0.33 34
University of Connecticut 0.31 36
University of British Columbia 0.3 37
University of Washington 0.3 37
University of Southern California 0.3 37
University of Alberta 0.29 40
University of Toronto 0.29 41
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis-St. Paul 0.29 42
University of California, Davis 0.29 43
University of Notre Dame 0.28 44
Georgetown University 0.27 45
University of Missouri, Columbia 0.27 46
University of Western Ontario 0.25 47
Indiana University, Bloomington 0.25 48
University of Iowa 0.24 49
Purdue University 0.24 50
Washington University, St. Louis 0.23 51
University of Utah 0.21 52
City University of New York Graduate Center 0.21 52
Florida State University 0.17 54
University Of Nebraska, Lincoln 0.13 55

The top three schools with the most overall initial placements into Tenure-Track/Permanent positions since 2011 are: Johns Hopkins University (70%), Yale University (67%), and MIT (62%).  Here are the full results:

PhDSchool Ratio RankScore
Johns Hopkins University 0.7 1
Yale University 0.67 2
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 0.62 3
New York University 0.55 4
Stanford University 0.55 4
University of California, Berkeley 0.5 6
Vanderbilt University 0.5 6
University of Texas, Austin 0.48 8
University of Wisconsin, Madison 0.47 9
Rutgers University, New Brunswick 0.46 10
Columbia University 0.44 11
Harvard University 0.44 11
University of Miami 0.44 11
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 0.42 14
University of Iowa 0.4 15
Cornell University 0.4 15
University of Arizona 0.39 17
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis-St. Paul 0.35 18
University of Southern California 0.35 19
University of Chicago 0.33 20
Northwestern University 0.33 20
Indiana University, Bloomington 0.33 20
Princeton University 0.31 23
University of California, Los Angeles 0.28 24
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 0.27 25
University of California, San Diego 0.25 26
University of California, Davis 0.25 26
University of Pennsylvania 0.25 26
Duke University 0.25 26
University of California, Irvine 0.22 30
University of Virginia 0.21 31
University of Pittsburgh 0.2 32
Carnegie Mellon University 0.2 32
Boston University 0.19 34
University of Connecticut 0.14 35
University of Notre Dame 0.13 36
Rice University 0.13 37
Georgetown University 0.13 37
University of British Columbia 0.11 39
Florida State University 0.11 39
University of Illinois, Chicago 0.11 39
University of Toronto 0.07 42

2. Post-Doc/Researcher Initial Placements

Which schools initially place the most students into Post-Doc/Researcher positions?  The top three schools with the most overall initial placements into Post-Doc/Researcher positions since 2000 are: Carnegie Mellon University (36%), the University of Western Ontario (29%), and the University of Notre Dame (28%).  Here are the full results:

PhDSchool Ratio RankScore
Carnegie Mellon University 0.36 1
University of Western Ontario 0.29 2
University of Notre Dame 0.28 3
University of British Columbia 0.25 4
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 0.25 4
Yale University 0.24 6
Stanford University 0.24 7
Harvard University 0.23 8
Rutgers University, New Brunswick 0.22 9
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 0.21 10
Washington University, St. Louis 0.2 11
University of Toronto 0.2 11
University of Virginia 0.2 11
University of Connecticut 0.19 14
Cornell University 0.18 15
University of California, Los Angeles 0.17 16
Princeton University 0.17 17
University of California, San Diego 0.16 18
University of Illinois, Chicago 0.15 19
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 0.15 19
Columbia University 0.15 21
University of Pennsylvania 0.14 22
University of Alberta 0.13 23
Boston University 0.13 24
University of California, Riverside 0.13 25
University of Texas, Austin 0.13 25
University of Chicago 0.12 27
University of Arizona 0.11 28
University of Pittsburgh 0.11 28
Georgetown University 0.11 30
University of California, Davis 0.11 31
University of Missouri, Columbia 0.1 32
University of Southern California 0.1 32
University of Washington 0.1 32
Indiana University, Bloomington 0.09 35
Duke University 0.08 36
University of Maryland, College Park 0.08 37
Syracuse University 0.07 38
University of California, Berkeley 0.07 39
Purdue University 0.07 40
Rice University 0.07 41
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis-St. Paul 0.06 42
New York University 0.05 43
University of Wisconsin, Madison 0.05 44
Vanderbilt University 0.05 45
Northwestern University 0.05 45
City University of New York Graduate Center 0.03 47
University of Utah 0.03 47
University of Iowa 0.03 49

 

The top four schools with the most overall initial placements into Post-Doc/Researcher positions since 2011 are: Carnegie Mellon University (60%), Georgetown University (50%), the University of California, San Diego (50%),  and the University of Western Ontario (50%).  Here are the full results:

PhDSchool Ratio RankScore
Carnegie Mellon University 0.6 1
Georgetown University 0.5 2
University of California, San Diego 0.5 2
University of Western Ontario 0.5 2
Harvard University 0.44 5
University of British Columbia 0.44 5
University of Virginia 0.43 7
University of Missouri, Columbia 0.4 8
University of Toronto 0.37 9
University of Illinois, Chicago 0.33 10
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 0.33 10
Washington University, St. Louis 0.33 10
Yale University 0.33 10
University of Notre Dame 0.32 14
Rutgers University, New Brunswick 0.31 15
University of California, Riverside 0.29 16
Princeton University 0.28 17
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 0.27 18
University of Pennsylvania 0.25 19
Rice University 0.25 19
Purdue University 0.23 21
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 0.23 21
University of Arizona 0.22 23
University of Texas, Austin 0.22 24
University of Wisconsin, Madison 0.21 25
University of Chicago 0.2 26
University of Pittsburgh 0.2 26
Cornell University 0.2 26
Boston University 0.19 29
University of Southern California 0.18 30
University of California, Los Angeles 0.17 31
Columbia University 0.17 31
City University of New York Graduate Center 0.14 33
University of California, Davis 0.13 34
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis-St. Paul 0.1 35
New York University 0.09 36
Stanford University 0.09 36
University of California, Berkeley 0.08 38
University of Utah 0.08 38

 

3. Lecturer/Temporary Initial Placements

Which schools initially place the most students into Lecturer/Temporary positions?  The top three schools with the most overall initial placements into Lecturer/Temporary positions since 2000 are: Ohio State University (100%), Florida State University (65%), and Purdue University (64%).  Here are the full results:

PhDSchool Ratio RankScore
Ohio State University 1 1
Florida State University 0.66 2
Purdue University 0.64 3
University of Iowa 0.64 4
University Of Nebraska, Lincoln 0.61 5
University of Missouri, Columbia 0.57 6
Indiana University, Bloomington 0.57 7
University of Miami 0.56 8
University of Utah 0.55 9
University of California, Irvine 0.55 10
Georgetown University 0.54 11
University of Colorado, Boulder 0.52 12
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis-St. Paul 0.51 13
Boston University 0.51 14
University of Illinois, Chicago 0.47 15
Washington University, St. Louis 0.43 16
Northwestern University 0.43 17
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 0.42 18
University of California, Riverside 0.42 19
University of British Columbia 0.4 20
University of California, Davis 0.39 21
University of Alberta 0.39 22
University of Pennsylvania 0.37 23
University of California, Los Angeles 0.36 24
University of Maryland, College Park 0.35 25
University of Washington 0.35 26
University of California, San Diego 0.35 27
University of Chicago 0.35 28
University of Connecticut 0.35 29
University of Western Ontario 0.35 30
University of Notre Dame 0.33 31
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 0.33 32
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 0.32 33
Cornell University 0.31 34
University of Pittsburgh 0.3 35
University of Texas, Austin 0.3 36
University of Virginia 0.3 36
Stanford University 0.29 38
Columbia University 0.29 39
Princeton University 0.29 40
University of Southern California 0.28 41
Vanderbilt University 0.27 42
University of Wisconsin, Madison 0.26 43
Syracuse University 0.26 44
Rutgers University, New Brunswick 0.2 45
University of Toronto 0.19 46
New York University 0.18 47
Rice University 0.17 48
Duke University 0.17 48
City University of New York Graduate Center 0.14 50
Yale University 0.12 51
University of California, Berkeley 0.11 52
University of Arizona 0.11 53
Johns Hopkins University 0.11 54
Harvard University 0.08 55
University Of Illinois, Urbana Champaign 0.03 56

 

The top three schools with the most overall initial placements into Lecturer/Temporary positions since 2011 are: Ohio State University (100%), Syracuse University (100%), and Florida State University (89%).  Here are the full results:

PhDSchool Ratio RankScore
Ohio State University 1 1
Syracuse University 1 1
Florida State University 0.89 3
University of California, Irvine 0.78 4
Duke University 0.75 5
University of Utah 0.75 5
University of California, Riverside 0.71 7
Purdue University 0.69 8
Indiana University, Bloomington 0.67 9
University of Colorado, Boulder 0.67 9
University of Maryland, College Park 0.67 9
Washington University, St. Louis 0.67 9
Boston University 0.63 13
University of Missouri, Columbia 0.6 14
Northwestern University 0.58 15
University of Connecticut 0.57 16
University of Illinois, Chicago 0.56 17
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis-St. Paul 0.55 18
University of Pennsylvania 0.5 19
University of California, Davis 0.5 19
University of Miami 0.44 21
University of British Columbia 0.44 21
University of Toronto 0.41 23
University of Pittsburgh 0.4 24
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 0.4 24
University of Chicago 0.4 24
University of Iowa 0.4 24
Cornell University 0.4 24
Columbia University 0.39 29
University of California, Los Angeles 0.39 29
Princeton University 0.38 31
Rice University 0.38 32
Stanford University 0.36 33
New York University 0.36 33
University of Virginia 0.36 35
University of Western Ontario 0.36 35
University of Notre Dame 0.35 37
Vanderbilt University 0.33 38
University of Alberta 0.33 38
Johns Hopkins University 0.3 40
University of Texas, Austin 0.26 41
Georgetown University 0.25 42
University of California, San Diego 0.25 42
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 0.25 42
University of Southern California 0.24 45
Rutgers University, New Brunswick 0.23 46
University of Arizona 0.22 47
University Of Nebraska, Lincoln 0.2 48
University of California, Berkeley 0.17 49
University of Wisconsin, Madison 0.16 50
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 0.15 51
City University of New York Graduate Center 0.14 52
Harvard University 0.11 53

 

4. Not In Academic Philosophy

Which schools initially place the most students into positions outside of academic philosophy?  The top three schools with the most overall initial placements into positions outside of academic philosophy since 2000 are: the University of Southern California (30%), University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign (27%), and the University of Washington (25%).  Here are the full results:

PhDSchool Ratio RankScore
University of Southern California 0.3 1
University Of Illinois, Urbana Champaign 0.27 2
University of Washington 0.25 3
University of California, Davis 0.21 4
Johns Hopkins University 0.19 5
University of Maryland, College Park 0.19 6
University of Wisconsin, Madison 0.19 7
Florida State University 0.17 8
Rice University 0.17 9
University of Alberta 0.16 10
University of Toronto 0.16 11
Syracuse University 0.15 12
University of Colorado, Boulder 0.15 13
Carnegie Mellon University 0.14 14
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis-St. Paul 0.14 15
University of Rochester 0.14 16
Vanderbilt University 0.14 17
Washington University, St. Louis 0.13 18
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 0.13 19
University Of Nebraska, Lincoln 0.13 20
University of California, Los Angeles 0.13 21
University of Pennsylvania 0.12 22
University of California, San Diego 0.12 23
University of California, Berkeley 0.11 24
Duke University 0.08 25
Georgetown University 0.08 26
Stanford University 0.08 27
University of Connecticut 0.08 28
University of Miami 0.07 29
University of Utah 0.07 30
University of Missouri, Columbia 0.07 31
University of Pittsburgh 0.07 32
University of Chicago 0.06 33
University of Massachusetts, Amherst 0.06 34
Indiana University, Bloomington 0.06 35
University of Western Ontario 0.05 36
New York University 0.05 37
Cornell University 0.05 38
Purdue University 0.05 39
University of British Columbia 0.05 40
University of Texas, Austin 0.05 40
Princeton University 0.05 42
Northwestern University 0.05 43
University of California, Irvine 0.05 43
University of Arizona 0.04 45
University of California, Riverside 0.04 46
City University of New York Graduate Center 0.03 47
University of Notre Dame 0.03 47
Yale University 0.03 49
University of Iowa 0.03 49
University of Illinois, Chicago 0.03 51
University of Virginia 0.03 52

The top three schools with the most overall initial placements into positions outside of academic philosophy since 2011 are: the University of Alberta (67%), the University of Colorado, Boulder (33%), and Rice University (25%).  Here are the full results:

PhDSchool Ratio RankScore
University of Alberta 0.67 1
University of Colorado, Boulder 0.33 2
Rice University 0.25 3
Carnegie Mellon University 0.2 4
University Of Nebraska, Lincoln 0.2 4
University of Pittsburgh 0.2 4
University of Southern California 0.18 7
University of Rochester 0.17 8
Vanderbilt University 0.17 8
University of Maryland, College Park 0.17 8
University of California, Berkeley 0.17 8
University of California, Los Angeles 0.17 8
University of Wisconsin, Madison 0.16 13
University of Toronto 0.15 14
University of Connecticut 0.14 15
University of California, Davis 0.13 16
Georgetown University 0.13 16
University of Miami 0.11 18
Northwestern University 0.08 19
Purdue University 0.08 20
University of Chicago 0.07 21
University of Notre Dame 0.06 22
University of Arizona 0.06 23
University of Texas, Austin 0.04 24
Princeton University 0.03 25

 

Current Placement Type:

Since 2000, approximately 46% of philosophy graduates are currently in Tenure Track or permanent positions.  Approximately 8% of graduates have received Tenure.  So overall, approximately 54% of philosophy graduates are currently in permanent positions in academic philosophy. That is just over half of all graduates.  Temporary positions are held by 27% of graduates and post-docs and research positions are held by 8% of graduates.  Thus, at least 89% of graduates are currently in academic philosophy.

 

 

1. Tenure-Track/Permanent/Tenured Current Placements

Which schools currently have the most students in Tenure-Track/Permanent/Tenured positions?  The top three schools with the most overall current placements in Tenure-Track/Permanent/Tenured positions since 2000 are: Yale University (91%), the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (86%), and University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (77%).  Here are the full results:

PhDSchool Ratio RankScore
Yale University 0.91 1
University of Massachusetts, Amherst 0.86 2
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 0.77 3
New York University 0.76 4
Rutgers University, New Brunswick 0.76 5
Harvard University 0.75 6
University of California, Berkeley 0.73 7
University of Rochester 0.72 8
Northwestern University 0.7 9
Johns Hopkins University 0.7 10
Princeton University 0.7 11
University of Pittsburgh 0.7 12
University of Arizona 0.67 13
University of California, Riverside 0.67 14
Duke University 0.67 14
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 0.65 16
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 0.65 17
Carnegie Mellon University 0.64 18
University of Wisconsin, Madison 0.64 19
University of Missouri, Columbia 0.63 20
University of California, Los Angeles 0.62 21
University of Chicago 0.61 22
Rice University 0.6 23
Vanderbilt University 0.59 24
Cornell University 0.59 25
Columbia University 0.58 26
Brown University 0.58 27
University of Toronto 0.58 27
University of Illinois, Chicago 0.56 29
Stanford University 0.55 30
University of Texas, Austin 0.54 31
University of Pennsylvania 0.53 32
Syracuse University 0.52 33
University of Notre Dame 0.52 34
Washington University, St. Louis 0.5 35
University of Washington 0.5 35
Ohio State University 0.5 35
University of Iowa 0.48 38
University of Maryland, College Park 0.46 39
Georgetown University 0.46 39
Purdue University 0.46 41
University of California, Irvine 0.45 42
University of Alberta 0.45 43
University of California, San Diego 0.44 44
University of Colorado, Boulder 0.42 45
University of Virginia 0.4 46
University of Connecticut 0.38 47
University of Western Ontario 0.38 48
University Of Illinois, Urbana Champaign 0.38 49
University of Miami 0.37 50
Boston University 0.36 51
Indiana University, Bloomington 0.36 52
University of British Columbia 0.3 53
University of Southern California 0.3 53
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis-St. Paul 0.3 55
University of California, Davis 0.29 56
City University of New York Graduate Center 0.28 57
University of Utah 0.21 58
Florida State University 0.17 59
University Of Nebraska, Lincoln 0.13 60

 

The top three schools with the most overall current placements in Tenure-Track/Permanent/Tenured positions since 2011 are: Yale University (89%), MIT (77%), and Johns Hopkins University (70%).  Here are the full results:

PhDSchool Ratio RankScore
Yale University 0.89 1
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 0.77 2
Johns Hopkins University 0.7 3
University of California, Berkeley 0.67 4
Vanderbilt University 0.67 4
Princeton University 0.59 6
New York University 0.55 7
Stanford University 0.55 7
Rutgers University, New Brunswick 0.54 9
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 0.53 10
University of Wisconsin, Madison 0.53 11
University of Pennsylvania 0.5 12
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 0.5 12
University of Rochester 0.5 12
University of California, Los Angeles 0.5 12
University of California, San Diego 0.5 12
University of Massachusetts, Amherst 0.5 12
Columbia University 0.5 12
Cornell University 0.5 12
University of Texas, Austin 0.48 20
University of Chicago 0.47 21
University of Miami 0.44 22
University of California, Riverside 0.43 23
Northwestern University 0.42 24
University of Southern California 0.41 25
University of Iowa 0.4 26
University of Missouri, Columbia 0.4 26
University of Arizona 0.39 28
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis-St. Paul 0.35 29
University of Notre Dame 0.35 29
Washington University, St. Louis 0.33 31
University of Illinois, Chicago 0.33 31
Harvard University 0.33 31
Indiana University, Bloomington 0.33 31
Ohio State University 0.29 35
University of Virginia 0.29 35
Duke University 0.25 37
University Of Illinois, Urbana Champaign 0.25 37
University of Colorado, Boulder 0.25 37
University of California, Davis 0.25 37
University of California, Irvine 0.22 41
Carnegie Mellon University 0.2 42
University of Pittsburgh 0.2 42
Boston University 0.19 44
University of Connecticut 0.14 45
Rice University 0.13 46
Georgetown University 0.13 46
Florida State University 0.11 48
University of British Columbia 0.11 48
University of Toronto 0.11 48
Purdue University 0.08 51
University of Western Ontario 0.07 52

 

2. Post-Doc/Researcher Current Placements

Which schools currently have the most students in Post-Doc/Researcher positions?  The top three schools with the most overall current placements in Post-Doc/Researcher positions since 2000 are: University of British Columbia (25%), the University of Virginia (20%), and the University of Notre Dame (19%).  Here are the full results:

PhDSchool Ratio RankScore
University of British Columbia 0.25 1
University of Virginia 0.2 2
University of Notre Dame 0.19 3
Stanford University 0.16 4
Columbia University 0.15 5
University of Chicago 0.14 6
Georgetown University 0.14 7
Boston University 0.13 8
University of Western Ontario 0.13 9
University of Toronto 0.13 10
University of Texas, Austin 0.13 11
Harvard University 0.13 11
University of Connecticut 0.12 13
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 0.12 13
Rutgers University, New Brunswick 0.11 15
University of Arizona 0.11 15
University of California, Davis 0.11 17
University of California, Los Angeles 0.11 18
University of Pennsylvania 0.1 19
Washington University, St. Louis 0.1 20
Brown University 0.09 21
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 0.09 22
University of Illinois, Chicago 0.09 22
Princeton University 0.09 24
Duke University 0.08 25
Syracuse University 0.07 26
University of California, San Diego 0.07 27
Rice University 0.07 28
University of Pittsburgh 0.07 29
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 0.06 30
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis-St. Paul 0.06 31
New York University 0.05 32
Cornell University 0.05 33
Purdue University 0.05 34
University of Southern California 0.05 35
University of California, Berkeley 0.05 36
Vanderbilt University 0.05 36
University of California, Riverside 0.04 38
University of Miami 0.04 39
University of Utah 0.03 40
University of Missouri, Columbia 0.03 41
University of Alberta 0.03 42
University of Iowa 0.03 43
Yale University 0.03 43
University of Maryland, College Park 0.03 45
University of Wisconsin, Madison 0.03 46
Northwestern University 0.02 47
Indiana University, Bloomington 0.02 48

 

The top three schools with the most overall current placements in Post-Doc/Researcher positions since 2011 are: Harvard University (56%), Brown University (50%), and Georgetown University (50%).  Here are the full results:

PhDSchool Ratio RankScore
Harvard University 0.56 1
Brown University 0.5 2
Georgetown University 0.5 2
University of Toronto 0.48 4
University of British Columbia 0.44 5
University of Virginia 0.43 6
University of Western Ontario 0.36 7
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 0.33 8
University of Illinois, Chicago 0.33 8
Washington University, St. Louis 0.33 8
University of Chicago 0.27 11
University of Notre Dame 0.26 12
University of Pennsylvania 0.25 13
University of California, San Diego 0.25 13
Rice University 0.25 13
Princeton University 0.24 16
Purdue University 0.23 17
Rutgers University, New Brunswick 0.23 17
University of Arizona 0.22 19
University of California, Los Angeles 0.22 19
University of Texas, Austin 0.22 21
University of Pittsburgh 0.2 22
Boston University 0.19 23
Columbia University 0.17 24
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 0.15 25
University of California, Riverside 0.14 26
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 0.13 27
University of California, Davis 0.13 28
University of Southern California 0.12 29
University of Miami 0.11 30
Yale University 0.11 30
University of Wisconsin, Madison 0.11 32
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis-St. Paul 0.1 33
Stanford University 0.09 34
New York University 0.09 34
University of California, Berkeley 0.08 36
University of Utah 0.08 36

 

3. Lecturer/Temporary Current Placements

Which schools currently have the most students in Lecturer/Temporary positions?  The top three schools with the most overall current placements in Lecturer/Temporary positions since 2000 are: Florida State University (66%),  the University of Nebraska, Lincoln (61%), and the University of Utah (55%).  Here are the full results:

PhDSchool Ratio RankScore
Florida State University 0.66 1
University Of Nebraska, Lincoln 0.61 2
University of Utah 0.55 3
Indiana University, Bloomington 0.55 4
University of Miami 0.52 5
Boston University 0.51 6
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis-St. Paul 0.51 7
University of California, Irvine 0.5 8
Purdue University 0.44 9
Ohio State University 0.43 10
University of Colorado, Boulder 0.42 11
University of British Columbia 0.4 12
University of Iowa 0.39 13
University Of Illinois, Urbana Champaign 0.35 14
University of Virginia 0.35 15
University of Connecticut 0.35 16
University of Missouri, Columbia 0.33 17
University of Southern California 0.33 18
University of Maryland, College Park 0.32 19
University of Illinois, Chicago 0.32 20
University of Washington 0.3 21
University of Western Ontario 0.29 22
University of Texas, Austin 0.29 23
University of Pennsylvania 0.29 24
University of California, San Diego 0.28 25
Columbia University 0.27 26
Georgetown University 0.27 27
University of Alberta 0.26 28
University of California, Riverside 0.25 29
Cornell University 0.23 30
Vanderbilt University 0.23 31
University of Notre Dame 0.22 32
Syracuse University 0.22 33
University of California, Davis 0.21 34
Stanford University 0.2 35
Brown University 0.18 36
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 0.17 37
University of California, Los Angeles 0.17 38
Duke University 0.17 39
Rice University 0.17 39
Washington University, St. Louis 0.17 39
University of Chicago 0.16 42
Northwestern University 0.16 43
University of Pittsburgh 0.15 44
University of Wisconsin, Madison 0.14 45
Princeton University 0.14 46
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 0.13 47
New York University 0.13 48
Rutgers University, New Brunswick 0.13 49
University of Toronto 0.13 50
University of Arizona 0.11 51
Johns Hopkins University 0.11 52
City University of New York Graduate Center 0.1 53
University of California, Berkeley 0.09 54
University of Massachusetts, Amherst 0.09 55
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 0.08 56
Harvard University 0.08 57
University of Rochester 0.07 58
Yale University 0.03 59

 

 The top three schools with the most overall current placements in Lecturer/Temporary positions since 2011 are: Syracuse University (100%), Florida State University (88%), and University of California, Irvine (78%).

PhDSchool Ratio RankScore
Syracuse University 1 1
Florida State University 0.89 2
University of California, Irvine 0.78 3
Duke University 0.75 4
University Of Illinois, Urbana Champaign 0.75 4
University of Utah 0.75 4
Ohio State University 0.71 7
Indiana University, Bloomington 0.67 8
University of Maryland, College Park 0.67 8
Boston University 0.63 10
Purdue University 0.62 11
University of Missouri, Columbia 0.6 12
University of Connecticut 0.57 13
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis-St. Paul 0.55 14
University of Massachusetts, Amherst 0.5 15
Northwestern University 0.5 15
University of British Columbia 0.44 17
University of California, Riverside 0.43 18
University of Colorado, Boulder 0.42 19
Cornell University 0.4 20
University of Iowa 0.4 20
University of Pittsburgh 0.4 20
Rice University 0.38 23
New York University 0.36 24
Stanford University 0.36 24
University of Western Ontario 0.36 26
University of Illinois, Chicago 0.33 27
University of Miami 0.33 27
University of Alberta 0.33 27
Columbia University 0.33 27
Johns Hopkins University 0.3 31
University of Notre Dame 0.29 32
University of Virginia 0.29 33
City University of New York Graduate Center 0.29 33
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 0.27 35
University of Texas, Austin 0.26 36
University of Toronto 0.26 37
University of Pennsylvania 0.25 38
Brown University 0.25 38
Georgetown University 0.25 38
University of California, San Diego 0.25 38
University of Southern California 0.24 42
Rutgers University, New Brunswick 0.23 43
University of Arizona 0.22 44
University of Wisconsin, Madison 0.21 45
University Of Nebraska, Lincoln 0.2 46
University of Chicago 0.2 46
University of California, Los Angeles 0.17 48
Vanderbilt University 0.17 48
Washington University, St. Louis 0.17 48
Princeton University 0.14 51
University of California, Davis 0.13 52
Harvard University 0.11 53
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 0.08 54
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 0.08 55

 

 

4. Not In Academic Philosophy

Which schools currently have the most graduates not in academic philosophy?  The top three schools with the most overall current graduates not in academic philosophy positions since 2000 are: the University of California, Davis (39%), the University of Southern California (33%), and the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign (27%).  Here are the full results:

PhDSchool Ratio RankScore
University of California, Davis 0.39 1
University of Southern California 0.33 2
University Of Illinois, Urbana Champaign 0.27 3
Washington University, St. Louis 0.23 4
University of Alberta 0.23 5
Carnegie Mellon University 0.21 6
University of Wisconsin, Madison 0.2 7
University of Washington 0.2 7
Johns Hopkins University 0.19 9
University of California, San Diego 0.19 10
Florida State University 0.17 11
Rice University 0.17 12
University of Colorado, Boulder 0.17 12
University of Maryland, College Park 0.16 14
University of Toronto 0.16 15
Brown University 0.16 15
Syracuse University 0.15 17
University of Western Ontario 0.15 18
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis-St. Paul 0.14 19
University of Rochester 0.14 20
Vanderbilt University 0.14 21
Georgetown University 0.14 22
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 0.13 23
University Of Nebraska, Lincoln 0.13 24
Cornell University 0.13 25
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 0.12 26
Northwestern University 0.11 27
University of California, Berkeley 0.11 27
University of California, Los Angeles 0.11 29
Stanford University 0.1 30
Duke University 0.08 31
University of Pennsylvania 0.08 32
Princeton University 0.08 33
University of Connecticut 0.08 34
University of Miami 0.07 35
University of Utah 0.07 36
Ohio State University 0.07 37
University of Pittsburgh 0.07 38
University of Chicago 0.06 39
University of Massachusetts, Amherst 0.06 40
New York University 0.05 41
University of Notre Dame 0.05 42
Purdue University 0.05 43
Harvard University 0.05 44
University of British Columbia 0.05 44
University of Texas, Austin 0.05 44
University of Virginia 0.05 44
University of California, Irvine 0.05 48
University of Arizona 0.04 49
University of California, Riverside 0.04 50
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 0.04 51
Indiana University, Bloomington 0.04 52
City University of New York Graduate Center 0.03 53
University of Iowa 0.03 54
Yale University 0.03 54
University of Illinois, Chicago 0.03 56

 

The top three schools with the most overall current graduates not in academic philosophy positions since 2011 are: the University of Alberta (67%), the University of California, Davis (50%), and Carnegie Mellon University (40%). Here are the full results:

PhDSchool Ratio RankScore
University of Alberta 0.67 1
University of California, Davis 0.5 2
Carnegie Mellon University 0.4 3
University of Colorado, Boulder 0.33 4
Rice University 0.25 5
Brown University 0.25 5
University of Southern California 0.24 7
University Of Nebraska, Lincoln 0.2 8
University of Pittsburgh 0.2 8
University of Rochester 0.17 10
Vanderbilt University 0.17 10
Washington University, St. Louis 0.17 10
University of California, Berkeley 0.17 10
University of Maryland, College Park 0.17 10
University of Wisconsin, Madison 0.16 15
University of Toronto 0.15 16
University of Connecticut 0.14 17
Georgetown University 0.13 18
University of Miami 0.11 19
University of California, Los Angeles 0.11 19
Cornell University 0.1 21
Northwestern University 0.08 22
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 0.08 22
Purdue University 0.08 24
University of Western Ontario 0.07 25
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 0.07 26
University of Chicago 0.07 26
University of Notre Dame 0.06 28
University of Arizona 0.06 29
University of Texas, Austin 0.04 30
Princeton University 0.03 31

 

What percentage of graduates are still at the same institution they were initially placed at?  Some percentages are below:

Graduated from 2000-2005: 63% of all graduates are still at the same institution

Graduated from 2000-2010: 66% of all graduates are still at the same institution

Graduated from 2000-2013: 69% of all graduates are still at the same institution

Filling this out for every year from 2000 through 2013 gives us the following curve (in blue) with a trend line (in red).  The lowest point (only looking at graduates from 2000), shows that only 57% of these graduates are still at the same institution they were initially placed at.

image

What about going year by year?  Here are some more percentages:

Graduated in 2013: 89% of these graduates are still at the same institution

Graduated in 2010: 69% of these graduates are still at the same institution

Graduated in 2005: 69% of these graduates are still at the same institution

Graduated in 2000: 57% of these graduates are still at the same institution

Filling this out for every year from 2000 through 2013 shows that there there is a large drop off in the first two years.  This is, as I imagine, because graduates that had post-docs or temporary positions as lecturers found more permanent positions.  If we remove these first two years, then the curve looks like this:

image 

If this is a linear decay (a big if), then the percentage points decrease by 0.74 each year.  This means that on average, over a 40 year career, over 40% of one’s graduating class will still be at the same institution it started at. 

If we only consider those graduates that initially received a tenure-track/permanent position, the numbers change dramatically.  After 13 years, 72% of one’s graduating class that received tenure-track/permanent positions initially is still at the same institution.  The percentage points decrease by about 1.6 each year (using a linear model), meaning that on average, over a 40 year career, over 34% of one’s graduating class that initially received tenure-track/permanent positions will still be at the same institution it started at.  As I suspect these are NOT linear curves, the percentages will actually be higher than those given.

 image

Bottom line?  Supposing these trends continue, over 1/3 of all graduates will stay at the institution they are initially placed at for the duration of their career.

 

Primary Area of Study:

Since 2000, the most popular primary area of study for philosophy graduates has been ethics (13% of all graduates), followed by metaphysics (12%) and epistemology (10%) (Note: 30% of students had an "Unknown" primary area of study).

 

 

If we group these further into similar categories (following The Leiter Report's delineation of areas of specialty), we find that Metaphysics and Epistemology categories comprise 33% of primary areas of study, Value related categories 22%, Science and Math related categories 8%, and History categories 7% (Note: 30% of students has an "Unknown" primary area of study).

 

Has this distribution changed over time?  It is difficult to say with this first graph of all of the categories separated out.  Ethics has gained a little bit of ground over the years, but it looks like it is declining again.  Metaphysics is also increasing overall, but is fairly erratic throughout.

With the graph below, things are a bit easier to see once all of the categories have been similarly grouped.  It looks as though value categories are in general increasing, Metaphysics/Epistemology is increasing, Science and Math categories are holding steady, and History categories are holding steady.  However, none of these trends is overwhelming.

 

The Match: Placement Records and The Leiter Report

I have decided to devote an entire webpage to any comments/analysis regarding the Leiter Report.  I do this for two reasons:  First, I need more space to make fuller comments and analysis on the complex data involved.  Second, I don't want any criticisms of this section to take away from other less controversial analyses on this page.  Please see here for the analysis.

Moving Forward: What Next?

Placement records are important, and increasingly so as the job market in academic philosophy becomes more and more competitive and students become more concerned about getting a job after they graduate.  Schools can offer better guidance to prospective students by keeping their placement records neat, complete, and organized in an easily readable, understandable, and flexible format (see here for my recommendations).  If schools do this, then students can quickly and painlessly compare how different schools rank in their placement, further helping them to make the right decision for themselves as they consider a career in academic philosophy.  This article is but a first attempt in moving in this direction, and I hope that it won't be the last.

Two final thoughts.  First, if you believe I have grossly misrepresented your school and would like me to correct it, please send me a .csv file, using the same columns and meanings that I have given here and here, with all of the corrected information. I will update this article as often as necessary to keep the data current, correct, and fair. Second, if you know any students in or currently considering graduate school in philosophy, please send them a link to this article.  I know I would have benefited greatly from an article like this when I was weighing my decision to continue pursuing academic philosophy, and I am sure they will too.

Andy Carson
swoosh_64x52Philosophy News

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