Wednesday, February 20, 2008

More on Admissions

[This post has been removed due to objections by some members of the UCR philosophy department.]

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the inside point of view. It's interesting to read.

Typo: Wisconsin not Minnesota.

Eric Schwitzgebel said...

Whoops! Thanks for catching that.

Anonymous said...

prof Schwitzgebel,

Thank you for spending a bit of your so busy routine to provide us with so many insights into philosophy admissions. I was wondering if you could give me some idea for people with a profile like mine. I am a mature student attending a MPhil in literature at the University of Cambridge, and have been considering applying for a PhD in Philosophy in the US (e.g. at Riverside). However, from what I can gather from your blog and some other sources, I am probably going to have no chances of admission at any ranked department, given that, among other things, I will not be able to obtain three letters from philosophers. How usual has it been that people from fields such as comparative literature get into ranked philosophy programs?

Brad C said...

As a graduate of UWM's grad program I vote for hotbed of philosophical creativity and rigor!

bradley james said...

As one of the admitted applicants, let me tell you how honored and excited I am! I've been reading your blog since September, and I've enjoyed it thoroughly. If you're at the conference this weekend, I'm going to say hi.

Eric Schwitzgebel said...

Anon: People do make the transition, but I'd say the odds are pretty low unless you have the following three things: (1) A track record of solid A's in at least a few philosophy courses, (2) Letters of recommendation from at least two philosophers, (3) a very good philosophical writing sample. Without these things, you'd probably need to go first to an M.A. program in philosophy, unless your file is very unusual.

I've actually seen more people transition from law or science to philosophy than from literature. Part of the issue is that the writing style valued in analytic philosophy departments is closer to the style in law and science than it is to literature. If your sample smacks of trendy po-mo jargon, you're dead in the water.

Eric Schwitzgebel said...

I'd forgotten that, Brad C.! More evidence that good things are happening at UWM.

Bradley James: Yes, I'll be at the conference Friday and Saturday. See you there!