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Φ Placement Information that may be of interest to Philosophy Students Φ

Collected by Scott R. Stroud (University of Texas at Austin)

Are you interested in a job in academic philosophy after earning your advanced degree here in philosophy?  If so, there are certain things you may want to do to prepare yourself for the trying experience of academic job hunting.  Below is some advice and links to resources that I have come across in my foray into the academic job market, as well as from sitting in on a panel on philosophy placement by Dr. Larry May (Placement Director for Washington University of St. Louis) at the Eastern APA a few years ago.  Get a copy of the excellent placement brochure Dr. May (and others) and the APA have put together for graduate students.  The most important piece of advice I have heard is that the preparation for academic job hunting should begin as soon as you enter graduate school.  So, you may want to start doing things now that will help you at year 5 or whenever you start sending out applications for jobs in philosophy departments.  

A couple general thoughts that appear in multiple sources noted down below:

1.  Many believe that merely having your PhD is not enough if you want an excellent shot at landing an academic job.  Many people have PhD's, and its possession does not set you apart from the plethora of other candidates.  It may show your "fit" with the area of specialization, but it doesn't do much more than that (and for most jobs, many people "fit" the desired AOS/AOC).  You also want to show your promise as a researcher and a scholar, and merely taking classes and completing your dissertation does not do this any more for you than for all the other applicants.  Send your work off to conferences.  Here and here are some tips on presenting papers at conferences.  After appropriate criticism by scholars at conferences and some trusted professors at your home institution, send a couple of papers off to a journal.  This not only gives you great feedback (albeit harsh in some cases), but it displays your willingness and ability to do scholarly activities.  Here, here, here, here, and here are some thoughts on publishing for graduate students.  Check the SSP website and here for some graduate student journals, which are great places to send work you think is ready for print (after it has been critiqued). 

2. Start a Curriculum Vita (CV).  Indicate any awards you have earned, department exams you have passed, papers you have presented (make a distinction between "refereed" and "non-refereed"), and teaching experience.  Include in the latter classes taught, and if needed, any "guest lectures" (topic & date) you have done for someone else's class.  Keep track of papers you send off to conferences and journals, and when you apply for jobs, include this "in progress" stuff on your CV (some say leave out what journal you sent it off to)--such work in progress shows you're out there trying to get into the scholarly game, and it may set you apart from those who aren't sending their work out.  Also, note any "professional service" you have done--panels chaired, committees for the university/department, refereeing for conferences, etc.  This also shows your willingness and ability to get into the activities that go along with an academic job in philosophy.

3. If you teach classes, save your syllabi and course evaluations.  You will need this stuff to justify your teaching abilities and your specific qualifications to teach certain courses/areas.

4. Find someone who cares about your academic success.  Hopefully you have identified a professor who you like and who acknowledges your potential.  Share your work with this person and talk with them.  If they don't reciprocate, move on and find someone else.  Remember William James's idea in "The Will to Believe"--our actions and attitudes often create the "facts" of this world.  If you don't try to interact (with enthusiasm) with a "mentor," you probably won't find one interacting (with enthusiasm) with you.  Send out your work and ideas to folks around the department, and see how they respond.  They ought to welcome the interaction, and these may be the folks who you want to keep developing a mentor-mentee relationship with.

5.  Begin with the end in mind.  Join the APA at the cheap student rate (see the link down below), get the "Jobs for Philosophers" periodical for free (although you have to check a box on your membership form to get this), and start to think about the type of scholar you want to be when you go on the market (viz., what type of jobs will you want to apply for?).  If you want to say you "do ethics," how are you going to show that you really can "do ethics" to potential employers?  Take classes, present (and perhaps publish) papers in that area, chair panels at conferences in that area, form relationships with scholars in that area, teach classes that touch on that area, etc.  You want to specialize in topic x?  Try to do your dissertation on that area with someone in that area directing it.  How do you know your AOS (Area of Specialization)?  Here's one way of thinking about it, taken from a CSU Long Beach job ad from 2005: “AOS should be clearly and explicitly demonstrated in the application materials in one or more of the following ways: (1) significant teaching of courses, (2) development of new courses, (3) scholarly publication, (4) professional activity, including professional society memberships and conference participation, (5) doctoral dissertation, (6) receipt and/or administration of grants/fellowships.”  Want to say you can competently teach x, y, and z classes?  Figure out how you can go about doing that and what you need to start doing now to be in that position at year 5 (or whenever you go on the market).  Lastly, try to go to the APA-Eastern meeting the year before you go on the market.  It is a crazy, surreal place that you have to see to believe.  It's better to get the shock and awe over with before it matters to your future livelihood.

Here is a list of resources compiled from information available on the Internet.  Take them individually with a grain of salt (this isn't a science), and especially think about the advice that multiple sources seem to agree upon.  Good luck in whatever phase of the job-hunt you are currently in!  If you have additional links that may be of interest to SSP members on placement, or if you want your site removed from this list, email me.

1.  APA Placement Brochure

Posted on the APA website at: http://www.apaonline.org/apa/publications/proceedings/v79n1/public/placementbrochure.asp

2. Placement Services & Advice for the Department of Philosophy, University of Virginia


3.  Placement Services & Advice for the Department of Philosophy, University of Utah (Elijah Millgram)


4.   Brian Keeley, “Getting a Job in Philosophy: A Guide for Graduate Students”


5.   Pennsylvania State University  Philosophy Graduate Student Job Placement Information


6.  Brian Leiter, “Landing a Faculty Job in Philosophy”


7.  The Leiter Report, “Advice for Academic Job Seekers archives”

I.        http://webapp.utexas.edu/blogs/archives/bleiter/000521.html#000521

II.       http://webapp.utexas.edu/blogs/archives/bleiter/cat_advice_for_academic_job_seekers.html

8.  Australian National University, Graduate Studies in Philosophy, "Getting a Job in Philosophy"


9.  "Before the Job Market: Building Those Credentials"


10.  Books for the Academic Job Search


11.  Join the American Philosophical Association at the cheap student rate!


12. APA Data on Job placement, desired AOS/AOC's, etc.


Some Online Information on the Placement Services of Various Departments

1.  University of Western Ontario, Placement Services Information


2.  Johns Hopkins University, Department of Philosophy, Graduate Student Placement Information       


3.  Marquette University, Placement Services Information


4.  Department of Philosophy, University of Virginia


5.   Elijah Millgram, Department of Philosophy, University of Utah


6.   Pennsylvania State University  Philosophy Graduate Student Job Placement Info