Best Schools for Philosophy, Psychology, and Poly-Sci

<p>I am currently preparing to attend St. John's College in New Mexico, and of course I can't wait. But even as I'm only starting out there, I want to start figuring out the step beyond as soon as possible.</p>

<p>St. John's is a liberal arts school, so it is a neat precursor to nearly anything, especially anything with heavy writing involved. I've been thinking more and more that though I don't know what I want to do, it will most likely involve in some quantities philosophy, psychology, English, and political science. I've been thinking hard about it, and I've realized as I've grown that I would like to find an excellent college in another country. I'm guessing that poly-sci wouldn't be the same there as it would be here, considering most countries have different governing methods (thought politics and bureaucracy are unmistakable wherever you go), and of course, neither would English, so as far as international universities, does anyone know any that have an excellent philosophy and psychology program? And, in whatever combination of majors/minors, does anyone know of any U.S. graduate schools that fulfill these four interests well?</p>

<p>Just as a bit of a background, because a college fit is very personal, St. John's College is my dream undergraduate school; it addresses a wide range of learning through the great books on which what we know was founded, building a repertoire of knowledge based on understanding rather than memorization. I am aware that when finally going for a focus in grad school this will be less available, unless I want to get my masters there, as well, in Liberal Arts and Sciences, but what I know I will still be looking for is a place that does not pitch information at me and expect me to memorize it, but a university that values the understanding of the material.</p>

<p>Any help would be nice. :)</p>


<p>I will limit myself to Anglophonic Philosophy in this response. That is, philosophy institutions within the English-speaking world. The English realm of Philosophy is mostly Analytic (save notably for the University of Chicago). There is no exhaustive ranking of Continental Philosophy (or European Philosophy) that I am aware of.</p>

<p>While Analytic Philosophy is a broad study, and there is much debate over which schools are "better," generally speaking the most thorough and widely respected ranking is done by Leiter's Gourmet Report. The website is available here: </p>

<p>The</a> Philosophical Gourmet Report 2009 : Welcome</p>

<p>Technically, the ranking is for Ph D candidates and does not concern itself with MA programs. This is a distraction: the ranking is essentially the same for the Master's as well.</p>

<p>The best schools for Philosophy are:</p>

<li>University of Pittsburgh</li>

<p>There are a number of important comments to make on this ranking, however.</p>

<li><p>If you receive your MA from a school ranked below the top 40 or is unranked, you should be prepared to have some stellar qualifications in order to platform into a top 40 Ph D program. Getting into a top Ph D program is important because the overall goal is to get hired. Unfortunately, name is everything. Sure, admissions people and advisers for colleges will claim otherwise. It's one thing to get your MA from, say, Fuller Theological Seminary, but it's another to get your Ph D from there. With an FTS Ph D you can pretty much bet you will only be hired by religious institutions and churches. </p></li>
<li><p>Getting published will change everything I just wrote. You get a piece of argument into a top tier philosophy journal and I promise that you will have your pick of the best schools of philosophy. Guaranteed. The problem? It's exceedingly difficult. Good luck. In my undergraduate I was published in a 3rd Tier. Tier three is not tier one. Sure, it's great to list on your resume but it's not a guarantee in the least. So again, name is everything.</p></li>
<li><p>Schools that are unremarkable in the general ranking might be incredible in a particular subject. A great example is the Stirling Program of St Andrews. St Andrews is ranked 17th overall. That's a very good rating, within the top 20. But its specialty is History of Modern Philosophy (including Wittgenstein), in which it is ranked best in the globe. Too bad there aren't any jobs at the moment in History of Mod Philo.</p></li>

<p>Some great schools that are known for particular branches are as follows:</p>

1. Harvard
2. NYU
3. Oxford</p>

<p>Philosophy of Religion:</p>

<li>Notre Dame</li>
<li>St Louis</li>

<p>Philosophy of Mind:</p>

<li>Australian National University (David Chalmers is entertaining offers from NYU and Princeton. If he leaves then expect ANU's rank to sharply drop.)</li>
<li>New Brunswick</li>

<p>Political Philosophy:</p>

<li>U of Arizona</li>

<p>Philosophy of Biology:</p>

<li>UW - Madison</li>
<li>Australian National U</li>

<p>Next time I should really read your post all the way through before responding.</p>

<p>Anyways, I can't comment on excellent psychology programs. (I have my educated guesses but it wouldn't be appropriate). You should wait to see what people say about psych rankings and then conflate the rankings I gave you for Philosophy of Mind and Philosophy of Biology. Also, here's an abridged ranking for Philosophy of Cognitive Science:</p>

<li>Rutgers University, New Brunswick </li>
<li>City University of New York Graduate Center</li>
<li>University of Arizona </li>
<li>University of California, San Diego</li>
<li>Washington University, St. Louis</li>
<li>Australian National University</li>
<li>Indiana University, Bloomington</li>
<li>New York University</li>
<li>Ohio State University</li>
<li>Oxford University</li>
<li>University of California, Berkeley</li>
<li>University of Edinburgh</li>

<p>Yes, thorough reading of posts tends to be a good idea; and not only with me, at that. :P</p>

<p>Regardless, your response as absolutely excellent, and provides me with even more of the puzzle to fit together; no one can piece it together for me. All they can do is help show me the parts to put together myself. Thank you very much, sire. I shall review this information, now, in further detail.</p>

<p>I await any more information from other readers of this topic. :P</p>

<p>My daughter is just entering her last year of undergrad in philosophy and has begun the search for a grad school. It's very daunting since there are so few spots offered in the programs she's interested in, but she's ruled out all other courses of study and determined to follow her heart toward continental philosophy. She just returned from a semester at Oxford and absolutely loved studying there. (Her top choice for grad school).</p>

<p>It's a really difficult path, filled with all kinds of discouragement from professors telling her that while she's an outstanding student (4.0 and writing an undergrad thesis)...she'll be lucky to get into a grad program. And if she does, they're telling her there will be no jobs when she gets her Ph.D. She's a nervous wreck over the whole thing.</p>

<p>My other daughter, however, is majoring in social psychology and is getting quite a bit of encouragement from professors regarding her opportunities for graduate school and jobs following a Ph.d. </p>

<p>Our advice to our daughters has been to study what you love and the rest will hopefully work itself out. Job markets are ever changing and who knows what the situation will be when they actually graduate from their Ph.d. programs (assuming they get in)?</p>

<p>One thing I can advise you to do is research. It will help you focus on your area of interest, help you develop a strong relationship with a professor to mentor and recommend you and help you stand-out on grad school applications. If you go the philosophy route, make sure you take a heavy load of philosophy courses throughout your undergrad years...that seems to be something the grad schools are looking for, too.</p>

<p>Personally, I think you should wait until you have decided on a career field and a single field of study before you ask this question. First of all, the question isn't even going to be answered the same for all psychology graduate students - a cognitive psychologist who studies learning and memory will have a different list of "top schools" than will a social psychologist who studies stereotyping and prejudice. And then even within subfields, each applicant will have a different list based upon fit with professors and with the program's resources. Maybe you need a school that has an fMRI scanner or some other special equipment. That's why generic lists like U.S. News are so bogus for psych programs because there's no one #1 psych school; it depends on subfield and specialty.</p>

<p>Nonetheless, in general schools that are well-reputed in psychology are (in no particular order):</p>

<p>Columbia (not that I'm biased or anything :D)
Michigan (especially social)
Princeton (for certain things)
UIUC (again, for certain things)
Penn State</p>

<p>Also, the NRC rankings may be of some use to you. They're old - they're supposedly coming out with new ones next year - but people still go by them. These are for social, but:</p>

<p>NRC</a> Ranking of U.S. Psychology Ph.D. Programs</p>

<p>Other Psyc schools that are reputable (in respective subfields):</p>

<p>UCSD - CogSci
Penn - JDM
Chicago - JDM
WUSTL - CogNeuro</p>