UA Programs Earn Top Marks From Philosophical Gourmet

May 1, 2018


The University of Arizona's political philosophy program is ranked No. 1 in the 2018 Philosophical Gourmet Report. 

The UA also was ranked in eight other areas of study in the report, which covers hundreds of doctorate-granting philosophy programs in the English-speaking world. Six of the areas covered in the UA Department of Philosophy placed in the top 10 in this year's rankings, and the department's overall ranking of No. 16 continues its decade-long streak of top-20 overall placements. 

"To be ranked among, and in some cases above, many of the most prestigious universities in the world is a testament to the strength of our Department of Philosophy," said UA President Robert C. Robbins. "The fact that our philosophy faculty have been recognized by their peers not just this year, but for several years, is an outstanding example of the University of Arizona's excellence across campus and the many avenues for students to learn from the world’s best." 

"It is thrilling to see the University of Arizona persisting since 2011 as the No. 1-ranking program in the world for political philosophy," said David Schmidtz, professor of philosophy, director of the UA Center for the Philosophy of Freedom and head of the newly formed Department of Political Economy and Moral Science. "It's also gratifying to see the trajectory in fields that Arizona treats as especially closely related, such as applied ethics and philosophy of social science. Launching the Freedom Center in 2010 has been the highlight of my career, and a daily reminder of what a privilege it is to have a community of colleagues and students like we have in Tucson." 

"Our faculty have a wide range of expertise and work hard to produce top-quality research in their respective areas," said Jason Turner, interim head of the Department of Philosophy. "We're grateful to be recognized in the Philosophical Gourmet rankings for this. But what really matters is that we are bringing this breadth of expertise to our students, giving them a high-quality, well-rounded education in the discipline, and using this expertise to train the next generation of teachers and researchers in the subject."

Established in 2001, the Philosophical Gourmet Report ranks graduate programs primarily on the basis of faculty quality. It reflects the sentiments of peers in the English-speaking world about the quality and reputation of doctoral programs as a whole and in specialty areas. 

"Given that there are hundreds of philosophy doctoral programs across the English-speaking world, these rankings speak volumes about the quality of the faculty in our Department of Philosophy," said John Paul Jones III, dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, in which is the department is housed. "UA students will benefit from the world-class reputation of these programs." 

In October, the Philosophical Gourmet worked with the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Research at Western Illinois University to conduct an online survey of approximately 550 philosophers. A total of 274 philosophers responded and completed some or all of the survey. 

The Philosophical Gourmet sorts programs into groups, with a range of world rankings listed alongside each grouping. Programs are ranked on a scale of 0-5, with 5 being "distinguished." The UA was the sole institution to make Group 1 in political philosophy. Ten other programs qualified for Group 2, including the London School of Economics, New York University, Oxford University, Princeton University and the University of Michigan. 

The UA was ranked in nine graduate program study areas (see list below). The range indicates where a program placed overall in that area and how many others were in the same group. For example, if a program fell in Group 3 with a range of 3-8, it indicates that the schools that were in Group 3 were ranked No. 3 through No. 8. 

  • Political Philosophy (Group 1. Range 1-1)
  • Philosophy of Action (Group 3. Range 3-8)
  • Philosophy of Social Sciences (Group 2. Range 2-9)
  • Philosophy of Cognitive Science (Group 2. Range 2-9)
  • Metaethics and Moral Psychology (Group 2. Range 4-8)
  • Epistemology (Group 2. Range 5-8)
  • Applied Ethics (Group 3. Range 6-16)
  • Normative Ethics (Group 2. Range 3-12)
  • Philosophy of Physics (Group 3. Range 7-13)