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Best Philosophy Programs...

RKATCRKATC Registered User Posts: 226 Junior Member
edited January 2013 in Other College Majors
Which universities have the strongest, most well-known philosophy programs? I've yet to find any rankings/comparisons of university philosophy programs. Thanks.
Post edited by RKATC on

Replies to: Best Philosophy Programs...

  • DRabDRab Registered User Posts: 6,104 Senior Member

    From this thread
    Here's a little thing that might help you out. In addition to reading all of this website, you should read the criticisms of its Ph.D. ranking. As far as undergraduate work in Phil is concerned, they are right on target.

    The undergrad area -


    Here is what it says if people are too lazy to click the link:


    Over the years, many high school students or their parents have contacted me to inquire how to use the Report with respect to choosing an undergraduate institution. The first point to make is that the focus of this Report is on graduate study only: Pittsburgh may have an outstanding philosophy department, but it might make more sense for a good student interested in philosophy to do his or her undergraduate work at Johns Hopkins or Amherst, where student-faculty ratios are more favorable, and where there is a stronger focus on undergraduate education. Many faculty at major departments did not do their undergraduate work at institutions with top-ranked PhD programs. The tenured faculty at Michigan , for example, did undergraduate work at Harvard (2), Swarthmore (2), Wesleyan, Tulane, Oberlin, Amherst, Berkeley, and John Carroll, among other places. Texas faculty did undergraduate work at Yale (4), Princeton (3), Haverford, Drew , Cal Tech, Missouri , Michigan State , Brown, UVA, and Columbia , among other places. There are eminent philosophers--who have held or now hold tenured posts at top ten departments--who did their undergraduate work at the University of New Mexico, Queens College (New York), and the University of Pittsburgh. It is possible to get good philosophical training in many undergraduate settings.

    High school students interested in philosophy would do best to identify schools that have strong reputations for undergraduate education first. Only then, should they look in to the quality of the philosophy department. Some ranked PhD programs have good reputations for undergraduate education, like Princeton , Yale, Brown and Rice, among many others. The larger universities (like Harvard or Michigan or Texas ) tend to offer a more mixed undergraduate experience, largely due to their size. Since much of the teaching at those institutions will be done by graduate students, it pays to go to a school with a strong PhD program, since that will affect the intellectual caliber of teachers you will encounter.

    Among schools that do not offer the PhD or MA in philosophy, those with the best philosophy faculties would probably include: Amherst College, California Institute of Technology, Dartmouth College , Reed College , University of Vermont , and Wellesley College . But many other good liberal arts colleges and universities that only offer a B.A. have strong philosophy faculties as well (i.e., faculties doing philosophical work at the research university level), for example: Barnard College; Bates College; Brandeis University; California State University at Northridge; Colby College; Colgate University; Davidson College; Franklin & Marshall College; Haverford College; Mt. Holyoke College; Iowa State University; Kansas State University; New College (South Florida); North Carolina State University; Oberlin College; Occidental College; Pomona College; Smith College; Southern Methodist University; Swarthmore College; Trinity University (San Antonio); University of Alabama at Birmingham; University of Delaware; University of Massachussetts at Boston; Vassar College; Virginia Commonwealth University; Wesleyan University; Western Washington University; and College of Willliam & Mary, among others. (This list is not exhaustive; see below for how to evaluate other programs.) St. John's College , the "great books" school at both Annapolis and Santa Fe , offers strong historical coverage of the field, but weaker coverage of contemporary philosophy; still, many St. John's grads do well in admissions to graduate school.

    In general, when looking at the philosophy department of a liberal arts college, you should look at two things. (1) Does the department provide regular offerings in the history of philosophy (ancient, modern, Continental), formal logic, value theory (moral and political philosophy), and some combination of metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of language and philosophy of mind. You will need courses in most of these areas to be adequately prepared for graduate study, not to mention to get a serious education in philosophy. (2) Where did the faculty earn their PhD? The majority of the faculty at any good department should have earned PhDs from well-ranked programs (as a rule of thumb, those in the top 50). If significant numbers of faculty earned their PhDs elsewhere, be wary. Some liberal arts colleges, even some very good ones, have philosophy faculties that are now pretty far on the margins of the discipline.

    You might also consider contacting the philosophy department at an undergraduate institution you are considering to inquire about where graduates have gone on for PhD study. A school like Reed sends more students on to top PhD programs than most universities with top twenty philosophy departments; that says something important about the quality of the philosophical faculty and curriculum. Amherst also provides interesting and impressive information about its alumni in academia: see http://www.amherst.edu/~philo/alumni.html.

    The main site - http://www.philosophicalgourmet.com/

    It's a great tool, but not perfect.

    I agree with mol10e in that you should look at many other things about the schools you might attend before you look into the department which you will probably spend time. Size and location, for instance, will rule out many schools, but some large schools have great philosophy programs and some have poorer ones, and the same is true of small schools. In general, though, at a smaller school or school with a smaller philosophy department, you will receive more personal attention, which is important and might make up for a "weaker" department, because you might never get a chance to talk to the top profs at a huge and well respected school/department anyway.

    another thread


    Many fit the bill, but Princeton is historically strong, as are Harvard, UT Austin, Berkeley, Rutgers, NYU, U Pittsburg, U Mich Ann Arbor, U Chicago, Stanford, Columbia, MIT . . . many really fit the bill, but it depends on what area of study you are most interested in. In addition, many will allow one to have a well-rounded education, even if they are not particularly strong in a given field.

    If you are concerned with graduate study and areas of focus, this list might be most important to you.


    Notice even UCR is on the list for first in something. Many schools, even those not known for philosophy, will allow you to receive a broad education in general and also in philosophy.
  • ZHCZHC Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
    Rutgers University has the second best philosophy program in the world.
  • sese - Posts: 185 Junior Member
    dude, you bumped a 4 year old thread with like 20000 views. lol
  • luckygirl1791luckygirl1791 Registered User Posts: 79 Junior Member
    Bumping it again. Then what's the top philosophy program in the world? And is that for undergrad?
    What about USC's program?
  • jsmomjsmom Registered User Posts: 336 Member
    I believe University of Pittsburgh has the top rated program.
  • imustbecrazyimustbecrazy Registered User Posts: 56 Junior Member
    NYU has the best, I believe.
  • SmallCollegesFTWSmallCollegesFTW Registered User Posts: 1,076 Senior Member
    For undergrad it would probably be Reed. They send the more students to top programs per capita then any other college/university in the US and have a lot of depth in the department for a LAC, including advanced logic courses in the mathematics department.
  • confidential2015confidential2015 Registered User Posts: 1,396 Senior Member
    St. John's College!
  • ricegalricegal Registered User Posts: 1,350 Senior Member
    bump this thread for those interested in philosophy this year
  • IAmPOSIAmPOS - Posts: 328 Member
    Bump this thread for those interested in being unemployed this year.
  • grapicograpico Registered User Posts: 144 Junior Member
    I am interested in philosophy sure, it was always my favorite subject, but it is a daunting career specialty, with plenty of sacrifice for sure.
  • stressedoutttstressedouttt Registered User Posts: 4,111 Senior Member
    bumping again :D
  • CSIHSISCSIHSIS Registered User Posts: 3,413 Senior Member
    How does this thread have like 70,000 views? xD
  • g0ld3ng0ld3n Registered User Posts: 896 Member
    I'd like to point out that both UCLA and Berkeley have great philosophy programs for undergrads contrary to what might be concluded due to the size of their incoming classes. I am taking some upper division philosophy classes right now and they are extremely interesting and personalized with my current class having just under 20 students.
  • marshallmeyer12marshallmeyer12 Registered User Posts: 445 Member
    Liberal arts!!! Reed or St. Johns is the way to go!
This discussion has been closed.