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Philosophy department rated number one

Archived article from Nov 18, 2002

By Steve Manas  

Long considered among academia's elite, the philosophy department now has achieved the enviable distinction of occupying first place with New York University and Princeton in the recently announced 2002-2004 Philosophical Gourmet Report.

The report is a ranking of graduate programs in philosophy in the English-speaking world and is edited by Brian Leiter, director of the law and philosophy program at the University of Texas¨CAustin. The rankings are based on a survey of reputation completed by nearly 180 philosophers.

"Philosophy departments rely heavily on the Philosophical Gourmet, and graduate students treat it like the Bible," said Brian P. McLaughlin, department chair. ¡°It has been cited in the New York Times and, most recently, in the (P. Roy) Vagelos report of the New Jersey Commission on Health Science, Education and Training. It¡¯s a strong recruitment tool for faculty and students.

"We have been as high as third for awhile -- including in 2000-2001 and 2001-2002 but this is the first time we have been ranked at the top."

McLaughlin added that in several program specialties, Rutgers received the highest ranking of "excellent" from the report's advisory board of distinguished philosophers. Among these areas are the philosophy of language and linguistics, philosophy of mind and language, philosophy of physics, metaphysics, and philosophy of art/aesthetics. Rutgers is the consensus leader in the specialties of the philosophy of mind and cognitive science, and of epistemology.

It is one of only three universities (Michigan, with three, and Oxford, U.K., with two) to be the consensus choice in more than one specialty.

"This marvelous achievement affirms the quality of our faculty's research and scholarship, and the extraordinary breadth and depth of the department," said Joseph J. Seneca, university vice president for academic affairs. "It underscores Rutgers' longtime commitment to the discipline, and our continually high rankings have paid handsome dividends in terms of attracting superb faculty and the success our philosophy doctoral students have had in securing tenure-track appointments at some of the nation's most prestigious universities."

Echoing Seneca's sentiments, McLaughlin pointed to the recent hires of Alvin I. Goldman from the University of Arizona and Theodore R. Sider, Dean W. Zimmerman and John Hawthorne, all from Syracuse University, as proof of Rutgers' attractiveness to the field's brightest stars.

Additionally, he noted that during the last two years, all 18 of the department's doctoral students have received tenure-track appointments at some of America's leading universities. Rutgers philosophy graduates now teach at Stanford, Yale, Brown and St. Louis universities, and at the universities of California at Irvine and San Diego, Virginia, Vermont and Massachusetts, among others.

The department traditionally receives about 250 applications from graduate students and admits between six and eight for the program that can take up to seven years to complete, McLaughlin noted.

Holly M. Smith, executive dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and dean of the Graduate School-New Brunswick, added, "The new ranking is welcome affirmation of the superb standing of our philosophy department - a department that attracts not only outstanding graduate students, but also more than its share of undergraduates. All our students benefit from the highly charged intellectual environment of a first-rank department in which the frontiers of philosophical inquiry are daily being pressed forward."


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Last Updated: May 30, 2006

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