Top Research Universities

Top Research Universities

Elsewhere in the Report we suggest that students consider the overall resources and quality of universities they are considering attending. Although philosophy is a specialized enough field that a strong philosophy program is reason enough to attend a particular school, many students may find it helpful to have some perspective on what schools have to offer beyond philosophy. There are now a number of “world rankings” of universities, of varying degrees of credibility and good sense—one can find them easily enough through an Internet search. We focus here on Anglophone universities. In the U.S., there are three broad tiers of strong research universities; we list only those with Ph.D. programs in philosophy.

At the very top of world rankings, about top 20 in the world (alphabetically): Columbia University; Cornell University; Duke University; Harvard University; Johns Hopkins University; Massachusett Institute of Technology; Princeton University; Stanford University, University of California, Berkeley; University of California, Los Angeles; University of Chicago; University of Pennsylvania; Yale University.

A notch below (not as outstanding in as many areas, but still offering substantial intellectual resources across many fields of study): Boston University; Brown University; Carnegie-Mellon University; Northwestern University; New York University; Ohio State University; Purdue University; University of California, Santa Barbara; University of California, Berkeley; University of California, San Diego; University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; University of Michigan; University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; University of Southern California; University of Texas, Austin; University of Washington, Seattle; University of Wisconsin, Madison; Washington University in St. Louis.

And another notch below (selected areas of excellence, but usually less breadth than the preceding schools): Emory University; Georgetown University; Indiana University, Bloomington; Pennsylvania State University; Rice University; Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey; Texas A&M University; University of Arizona; University of California, Davis; University of California, Irvine; University of California, Riverside; University of Colorado, Boulder; University of Maryland, College Park; University of Massachusetts, Amherst; University of Miami; University of Minnesota; University of Notre Dame; University of Pittsburgh; University of Rochester; Vanderbilt University, University of Virginia.

Some universities not listed above turn out, of course, to have excellent faculties in areas cognate to philosophy.

In Canada, University of Toronto is the only school to have a viable claim to be competitive with the top tier in the U.S. McGill University and University of British Columbia certainly compare favorably with the second tier of outstanding research universities in the United States.

In the United Kingdom, Oxford and Cambridge are in the top tier, but the London School of Economics and University College London are highly competitive as well, though probably closer to the second tier. Also quite strong—competitive with the second or third tier of top research universities in the U.S.—are King’s College, London; Birkbeck College, University of London; University of Warwick; University of Manchester; University of Nottingham (perhaps); University of Edinburgh; and University of York (maybe).

In Australasia, Australian National University and University of Sydney are probably the leading research universities, though University of Melbourne has many programs that are distinguished at the international level.

Prepared by Brian Leiter on the basis of published data across many graduate fields.