By Randy Fiedler
Baylor University’s PhD-granting program in philosophy in the College of Arts & Sciences is ranked among the top programs in the world, according to a recent survey of graduates by the American Philosophical Association (APA).
Academic Placement Data and Analysis (APDA), a project funded by the APA, has the primary goal of making information on academic job placement useful to prospective graduate students in philosophy. In the 2017 APDA Final Report, Baylor’s PhD-granting philosophy program was ranked No. 5 internationally after former PhD students were surveyed in terms of the permanent academic placement rate for 2012-2016 –– in other words, the number of graduates from that time period now in a permanent academic position. The report lists Baylor’s philosophy program as having a permanent academic placement rate of 73 percent.
When the same group of former PhD students was asked how likely they would be to recommend the program they graduated from to prospective philosophy students, responses from Baylor graduates gave the university a No. 15 ranking in the report. Baylor is the only university in Texas, and the only Big 12 Conference university, to be ranked among the top 15 schools in either 2017 APDA listing.
“This confirmation of alumni satisfaction with Baylor’s PhD program in philosophy is a credit to the quality of students attracted to our program, and to their strong sense of calling to Christian higher education,” said Dr. Michael Beaty, chair and professor of philosophy. “It also underscores the the excellence of our faculty –– in scholarship, teaching and mentoring.”
“I am gratified, but not surprised, at this important recognition for the Department of Philosophy,” said Dr. Lee Nordt, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences. “Their nationally and internationally recognized faculty are able to recruit and retain some of the best and brightest philosophy students in the country, and then educate them in ways that make them marketable to a broad array of academic institutions.”
“The Baylor philosophy program’s high rankings on placement rate and likelihood to recommend the program are two outstanding achievements, grouping us with programs such as those at Harvard, Oxford and Yale,” said Dr. Larry Lyon, vice provost and dean of the Baylor Graduate School. “The APA devoted considerable resources to this survey, and I consider it the most reliable ranking of doctoral programs in philosophy. Our philosophy department demonstrates how strong PhD programs can flourish at a Christian research university.”
The APDA report includes comments from past graduates of each ranked school. One Baylor respondent said, “The PhD program at Baylor has an extremely supportive and collegial graduate community and the faculty provide first-rate training in both philosophical research (and) scholarship and undergraduate teaching.”
Another respondent provided this summary of Baylor’s PhD program: “Excellent faculty. Warm, caring and non-competitive personal relationships between graduate students as well as between graduate students and faculty. Historically oriented comprehensive exams which have made me a better philosopher and teacher.”
A third respondent said that Baylor’s PhD program “taught me how to teach, not just how to do research. Professors genuinely care about the students and go above and beyond to assist them in fulfilling their goals. Students care about and support one another.”
Additional comments are included in the full APDA report.