In the face of a very difficult job market, we put in intensive efforts to place our graduate students and are continually looking for ways to improve. The faculty consider nothing more important to our mission as scholars than undertaking these job placement efforts for our students, and seeing them obtain the positions they aspire to.
A Successful Future
The placement effort starts, of course, with providing one of the best philosophical educations possible. Our program is designed to provide both breadth and depth. Breadth is provided by the range of required courses our Ph.D. students are supposed to take during their first couple of years at Stanford. Depth is provided by three years of intensive work on the dissertation starting with a dissertation development seminar in the summer after the second year that introduces students to the art of writing a dissertation and launches them on their projects, and including seminars throughout the dissertation stage in which students, with faculty support, present and supportively critique each others’ work.
Prior to going on the job market students have several occasions to practice presenting their ideas. Fourth-year students present their research to the department as a whole in the Fourth-Year Colloquium. When students decide to go on the job market, we arrange at least one practice job talk to which the department as a whole is invited. Finally, we arrange practice interviews with groups of our faculty for students going on the job market.
The departmental Placement Committee is composed of faculty who are freed of other administrative obligations, which allows them to focus on the many details involved in students’ getting ready for, and succeeding in, a job search. In addition to pushing for our students on the job market, the Committee members (and other faculty, too) read the students’ application materials and provide detailed help, and assists faculty with making their letters of recommendation the most useful they can be. The support from the Commitee and other faculty continue through the acceptance of a job and beyond.