Philosophy Degree

<p>What University has the best Philosophy program in the country?</p>

<p>I don't know about "the best"....but generally the Jesuit schools have very good Philosophy programs...</p>

<p>So...
Georgetown
Santa Clara
Fordham
St. Louis
Gonzaga
Loyola Marymount
Loyola Maryland
etc....</p>

<p>Here are the rankings from Philosophical Gourmet Report 2009:</p>

<p>Rank School Mean Median Rank in 2006 Rank in 2004 Rank in 2002
1 New York University 4.9 5.0 1 1 1
2 Rutgers University , New Brunswick 4.6 5.0 2 2 1
3 Princeton University 4.3 4.5 3 3 1
4 University of Pittsburgh 4.2 4.0 5 4 5
5 University of Michigan , Ann Arbor 4.1 4.0 3 4 4
6 Harvard University 4.0 4.0 7 9 8
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 4.0 4.0 7 6 8
8 Yale University 3.9 4.0 16 24 16
9 Stanford University 3.8 4.0 6 6 6
University of California , Berkeley 3.8 3.5 12 12 13
University of California , Los Angeles 3.8 4.0 7 9 8
University of North Carolina , Chapel Hill 3.8 4.0 10 12 12
13 Columbia University 3.7 4.0 9 6 7
University of Arizona 3.7 3.5 13 16 8
15 City University of New York Graduate Center 3.6 3.5 23 17 25
University of Notre Dame 3.6 3.5 13 12 14
17 Brown University 3.5 3.5 16 17 16
Cornell University 3.5 3.5 16 12 16
University of Southern California 3.5 3.5 16 24 46
20 University of Texas , Austin 3.4 3.5 13 11 14
21 University of California , San Diego 3.3 3.5 20 17 20
University of Chicago 3.3 3.5 20 17 16
23 Indiana University , Bloomington 3.2 3.0 27 29 25
University of California , Irvine 3.2 3.0 20 17 20
University of Wisconsin , Madison 3.2 3.0 24 22 22
26 Duke University 3.0 3.0 27 29 28
Ohio State University 3.0 3.0 26 22 22
University of Colorado , Boulder 3.0 3.0 32 36 28
University of Massachusetts , Amherst 3.0 3.0 24 28 30
30 University of California , Riverside 2.9 3.0 31 32 32
University of Maryland , College Park 2.9 3.0 27 24 30
University of Pennsylvania 2.9 3.0 27 31 25
Washington University , St. Louis 2.9 3.0 39 36 not in top 50
34 Syracuse University 2.8 3.0 32 32 32
University of Miami 2.8 3.0 32 44 46
36 Carnegie-Mellon University 2.6 2.5 39 36 36
Georgetown University 2.6 2.5 39 44 42
University of California , Davis 2.6 2.5 35 24 24
University of Illinois , Chicago 2.6 2.5 35 34 36
University of Virginia 2.6 2.5 39 34 42
41 Northwestern University 2.5 2.5 53 51 46
University of California , Santa Barbara 2.5 2.5 39 44 40
43 Florida State University 2.4 2.5 44 44 n/a
Johns Hopkins University 2.4 2.5 35 44 36
University of Connecticut , Storrs 2.4 2.5 48 44 40
University of Washington , Seattle 2.4 2.5 35 36 32
47 University of Minnesota, Minneapolis-St. Paul 2.3 2.5 44 36 32
48 Boston University 2.2 2.0 50 41 42
Rice University 2.2 2.0 50 51 39
University of Illinois , Urbana-Champaign 2.2 2.0 50 53 42
University of Missouri , Columbia 2.2 2.0 53 not in top 50 n/a
University of Rochester 2.2 2.5 44 44 46
University of Utah</p>

<p>
[quote]

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, includes folks who did undergraduate work at Wesleyan, Tulane, Oberlin, and John Carroll, among other places.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>The</a> Philosophical Gourmet Report 2009 :: Undergraduate Study</p>

<p>Is Philosophy major a good major for med or law school?</p>

<p>To answer #5 first, it absolutely is a great major for law school. An important, if not the most important facets of studying philosophy is highly critical thinking and learning to read with a great deal of comprehension. These are the two things most needed to do well on the LSAT. It is certainly a good major for med school as well, but so is chemistry, history, music, physics, anthropology...you get the idea. As long as you fulfill the premed requirements and have an aptitude for science, you will be fine whatever your major. Most do science majors just because of the requirements and because there would be a natural match in interests for most premeds.</p>

<p>I am sure you realize your original question has no answer. There are a number of fine departments, especially at the undergrad level. It would be far better for you to approach the process of picking your undergrad school by finding schools that are in your range academically and financially, then looking at factors such as size, location, sports scene, Greek scene, whatever is important to you. Be sure to include a couple of schools that might seem a little out of your reach academically (assuming you like to be challenged), and more importantly a few that you are nearly certain to get into. It is much much much more important to find a place where you will be happy and comfortable overall than one where that you think has the "best" department, which no one else will agree with anyway, lol.</p>

<p>Empirical research suggests philosophy majors tend to do well whatever their ultimate career path, but it's hard to say how much of that is the value added by the study of philosophy, and how much is the result of a kind of selection bias in the field: philosophy tends to attract highly intellectual students with strong critical/analytical, logical reasoning, and writing skills, i.e., kids who are "smarter than the average bear" from the outset. In any event, a good undergrad philosophy program will hone just the kinds of skills you'll need to do well on the LSAT, in law school, and in legal practice; for my money, it's hard to imagine better pre-law preparation. The connection with medicine is perhaps less obvious, but philosophy majors tend to do very well in med school, too.</p>

<p>I do think the quality of the philosophy program matters. Some are far more rigorous and than others, and some are far more comprehensive than others. But I would caution that most undergraduates change majors at least once, so I'd advise against choosing a school solely on the basis of its strength in any particular field. The top 20 philosophy programs listed by The Philosophical Gourmet are all outstanding, but schools like Rutgers, Pitt, and Arizona are not as strong across-the-board as many of the other schools in this group. Some LACs also have outstanding philosophy departments. Amherst and Wellesley are particularly strong, but there are many other good ones. Carefully examine the faculty rosters and course offerings of LACs that interest you, and see how they stack up against the likes of Amherst, Wellesley, or the top universities listed by The Philosophical Gourmet. Many LACs have very small philosophy departments and limited course offerings, or a curriculum heavily tilted toward the research interests of a small handful of faculty members, with the result that you won't have exposure to many basic and even quite central areas of philosophy. Choose LACs carefully if you're interested in philosophy.</p>

<p>As for Jesuit schools, they're very good if you want to study philosophy from a Catholic perspective. If not, I'd steer clear. You'll notice very few are listed in The Philosophical Gourmet's top 50. That's not to say they're not rigorous and very good in their own right, but there's a big gulf in philosophy between those who approach it from a basically religious perspective (among whom the Jesuits tend to be some of the very best) and those who approach the field from a basically secular perspective.</p>

<p>"As for Jesuit schools, they're very good if you want to study philosophy from a Catholic perspective. If not, I'd steer clear. You'll notice very few are listed in The Philosophical Gourmet's top 50. That's not to say they're not rigorous and very good in their own right, but there's a big gulf in philosophy between those who approach it from a basically religious perspective (among whom the Jesuits tend to be some of the very best) and those who approach the field from a basically secular perspective."</p>

<p>I disagree. You make it sound like philosophy departments at Catholic universities are sort of rigorous Sunday schools. What is your experience with Catholic universities?</p>

<p>^^^I could ask you what your experience is with Philosophy departments Schmaltz. I know that bclintonk is well aware of his area of expertise.</p>

<p>If someone were thinking of a phil degree not to become a philosopher, but to learn those habits of mind helpful to a lawyer, would not that the Jesuit style and approach perhaps be particularly apt?</p>

<p>


</p>

<p>I've never studied or taught at a Jesuit or other Catholic school, but I am generally familiar with who's on their faculties and what is taught there. Take Fordham, for example, one of the Jesuit schools recommended by a previous poster. It's a very good Jesuit school, and as any good Jesuit would expect, their philosophy department has a very definite religiously influenced slant. Roughly 75% of the undergrad teaching in philosophy at their Rose Hill (main) campus is devoted to freshman seminars and "core" (I assume this means required) courses on the "philosophy of human nature" and sophomore "core" courses on "philosophical ethics." Another big chunk of the undergrad philosophy curriculum is devoted to topical "values seminars." Beyond that there are exactly 10 undergrad electives, of which 3 are identified as "pluralism" (diversity?) courses, and 2 are religion-related (philosophy of religion and a course on "Shakespeare and Aquinas"). Just 2 courses on the history of philosophy (ancient, and Hegel & Kierkegaard), 1 in political philosophy, 1 in aesthetics. Nothing at all in such core philosophical areas as philosophy of knowledge, philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, philosophy of science, philosophy of mathematics, symbolic logic, philosophy of law; and in the history of philosophy, nothing on British empiricism, Continental rationalism, Kant, existentialism & phenomenology, Anglo-American analytical philosophy, or more recent Continental philosophy. (By the way, you won't find many courses on the "philosophy of human nature" at the more secular institutions like those you find at Fordham and some other Jesuit schools; that in itself is a dead give-away as to the philosophical approach being advanced). </p>

<p>As I said previously, the courses at Fordham may be fine, rigorous courses, and the professors may be excellent teachers. But the very conception of the field is different than in the (basically secular) philosophy departments that are consistently rated among the best in the field. Go online and compare Fordham's philosophy curriculum with Princeton's, for example; these sound like completely different disciplines, there's so little overlap. </p>

<p>I'm not knocking a Jesuit education. And yes, Brooklynborndad (post #10), it can be fine preparation for law school. Just be aware that the content, and more specifically the range of philosophical issues you'll address and the variety of perspectives from which you'll address them, may be very different at a Jesuit school than at a school that is untethered from any religious affiliation. Some people prefer the Jesuit approach precisely because it is, ultimately, values-based and connected at some level to theological moorings. And Fordham itself is very clear that it's offering just that: its Mission Statement says that "guided by its Catholic and Jesuit traditions, Fordham fosters the intellectual, moral, and religious development of its students and prepares them for leadership in a global society." If that's what you're after, then by all means, that's what you should choose. But if not, then you may be better off looking elsewhere.</p>

<p>What would be a school that has no religious traditions and that offers a broad range of philosophy classes?</p>

<p>
[quote]
What would be a school that has no religious traditions and that offers a broad range of philosophy classes?

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Well, any of the schools listed in post #3 except Notre Dame and Georgetown. To be clear, some schools have a religious history but no current religious affiliation; Harvard and Yale, for example, were founded to train Puritan ministers but are now thoroughly secular. In fairness, religion may have somewhat less of an influence on the teaching of philosophy at Notre Dame and Georgetown than at a place like Fordham. Their philosophy curricula seem to be a somewhat richer mix of the kinds of courses you'd find at Fordham and those you'd find at, say, Princeton, Harvard, NYU, or Michigan. But then schools like Notre Dame are criticized by some Catholics for being too secular.</p>

<p>Bclintok, I'd agree that the Fordham offerings are a bit limited, and slanted toward the Continental approach. But a lot of other colleges will be limited in the other direction...to the Analytical approach that will have many students wondering what happened to thinking about the "big picture."</p>

<p>I checked just two Catholic colleges, Boston College and U of Scranton, and found enough courses to keep most people's brains swimming for 4 years:</p>

<p>The</a> University of Scranton - Philosophy Department</p>

<p><a href="http://www.bc.edu/schools/cas/philosophy//course-offering.html%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.bc.edu/schools/cas/philosophy//course-offering.html&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>RJK, I've got degrees from 2 Catholic universities and 2 public universities, and have taught college philosophy for 17 years.</p>

<p>P.S. Here's DePaul University's courses: <a href="http://las.depaul.edu/philosophy/Courses/UndergraduateCourses/index.asp%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://las.depaul.edu/philosophy/Courses/UndergraduateCourses/index.asp&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>University of Rochester, maybe?</p>

<p>What is it that you think I should take into consideration when researching Philosophy program in different schools? Would Private or Public Universities offer a rogorous program?</p>

<p>Junior - You are wayyy overthinking this. I think the info given should be adequate to get you going down the right path. IMO, you are way too focused on the one department, don't ignore the forest for the tree. Both private and public might or might not offer rigorous programs, it depends on the school itself.</p>

<p>"RJK, I've got degrees from 2 Catholic universities and 2 public universities, and have taught college philosophy for 17 years."</p>

<p>That's good enough for me. Thank you for clearing that up.</p>

<p>NYU has the best philosophy program in the country.</p>

<p>"Junior - You are wayyy overthinking this. I think the info given should be adequate to get you going down the right path."</p>

<p>Sorta. But there really are vast differences in what various philosophy departments consider "philosophy." What passes for philosophy at some colleges is often referred to as "Analytical" or 20th Century Anglo-American philosophy...what its critics sometimes call glorified linguistics; whereas at other schools they prefer the more wild-eyed "Continental" philosophy (involves many of German and French philosophers, among others). It would be terrible to desire to primarily study one of these, and end up at a college that strongly favors the other.</p>