Friday, July 18, 2003


There's a most interesting post at Crooked Timber (this is not news in and of itself -- CT is a group blog with more writers than we have) about the placement of new PhDs in philosophy from the top departments. The moral of the story is that if you can place at a very good school, do so:
So it�s not all a bed of roses. But the impression the information creates is that in philosophy at least, median to somewhat below median students at good to great departments will get pretty good jobs. And that�s a lot better both than the impression I have of most humanities disciplines, and that many people in philosophy have of the state of play within our discipline.
If you're at a less than great department, the implication is, you better get your taxi license. In comparison to the advice one gets on Invisible Adjunct, this is almost a cause for joy.

I remember when I was looking for my first position in the early 1980s (and the job I landed is the one I still have), one of my professors said if I landed at a school as good as my undergraduate institution, I should consider myself well off. This is probably true. A publication from the American Economics Association (in .pdf) suggests that at least 80% of candidates on the market get at least one offer. If you went to a top-50 institution, about half those offers were tenure-track. Coming out of a top-20 program added on average 1 to 1.6 more interviews. Good horses come from good stables. Still,

Each year, almost every economics Ph.D. program produces more Ph.D.s than it will hire. As a result, candidates from the top departments trickle down, filling openings at lower-ranked departments, crowding the graduates of those departments to jobs in departments further down the rankings. Stock, Alston, and Milkman (2000) find that the vast majority of new economics Ph.D.s in 1995-96 moved to jobs in departments at least 50 ranks below their graduate department; excluding moves to unranked departments, the average drop was 59 ranks.
I'd be interested to know how many schools were included in CT's assessment of "good schools".