Research On Excess Philosophy PhDs


Are there too many philosophy PhDs? Do those seeking PhDs in philosophy have an accurate understanding of their chances of securing a permanent academic position? Ingrid Robeyns (Utrecht), is beginning a research project on the topic. She writes that, in the Netherlands,

In those debates, one often hears the rough number that about 9 out of 10 PhD students aspires to have an academic job, yet only between 1 and 2 end up in academia. If that is true, there is a serious mismatch between expectations and objective outcomes. Moreover, there is also the impression that the situation has become worse due to the budget cuts for higher education.

Robeyns and her student, Sine Bagatur, will be conducting a survey aimed at “collecting information on the expectations of current PhD students, and contrasting this to the realizations of those who received their Philosophy PhD in the past (and the expectations they had).” The project is limited to looking at philosophy PhDs in the Netherlands. She adds:

In addition to the survey, we will conduct a literature research so as to compare our results with the findings in other countries, or compare it with the situation of PhD students in other subjects in the Netherlands. This comparison will allow us to see how Dutch Philosophy PhD students’ situation differs from other groups, and also collect a number of suggestions on what could be done to address problems and issues that the findings reveal. If time permits, we also want to conduct a number of in-depth interviews, which would be helpful with interpreting the data, and also with gathering ideas on how to address problems that may emerge.

The project is described at a post at Crooked Timber. Daily Nous readers outside the Netherlands may be able to help out in regards to this bit:

If you happen to know of any similar research that has been done in your country, Sine and I would be very grateful for any suggestions. Also, if a similar survey has been held in some other country, it would be great if we could build on work that has been done rather than reinventing the wheel. Are there any specific questions you feel should be asked?

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