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Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

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Placement record.

Our recent placement record is shown below, with Ph.D. recipients grouped by the year their degrees were awarded. All students from each graduating class have been listed, whether they obtained academic or private industry positions.

A forthcoming issue of the journal Metaphilosophy reports survey results that bear out the impressive placement record of USC Philosophy. The survey found that we rank number 1 among all Philosophy Ph.D. programs in the English-speaking world in the percentage of Ph.D.s who landed permanent jobs over two periods—the last 10 years, and the last 5 of those years—in addition to ranking above the mean in the number of PhDs granted. The survey compared over 200 Philosophy programs measured on several dimensions, including their success in placing PhDs among a total of more than 6000 tenure track (or otherwise permanent) jobs in colleges and universities. The programs compared along this dimension include NYU, Princeton, Rutgers, Oxford, MIT, Yale, Harvard, Berkeley, Stanford, Michigan, and many more. The survey was conducted by Academic Placement Data and Analysis (APDA), and a draft of the report is here . The placement results may be found on pages 37-42 of Appendix D.

List of Placements

Abbreviations : TT = tenure track faculty, FT = fixed term faculty, PD = postdoctoral scholar, PP = permanent position (for TT-equivalent jobs outside the US)

Recent Updates

2022 graduates, 2021 graduates, 2020 graduates, 2019 graduates, 2018 graduates, 2017 graduates, 2016 graduates, 2015 graduates, 2014 graduates, 2013 graduates, 2012 graduates, 2011 graduates, 2010 graduates, 2009 graduates, 2008 graduates.

Return to: USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences    

The School of Philosophy offers courses in most areas of philosophy, including philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, epistemology, metaphysics, logic, philosophy of science, political philosophy, philosophy of law, ethics, aesthetics, and the history of philosophy. The major in philosophy is designed to acquaint students with the fundamental problems of Western thought and introduce them to the concepts and techniques necessary for independent philosophical thinking; it is equally intended to provide a broadening perspective for the various areas of specialization in the natural and social sciences and in literature and the arts. The school also offers a minor in philosophy and a minor in philosophy of law, politics and economics. It also offers bachelor’s degrees in philosophy; philosophy and physics; philosophy, politics and economics; and philosophy, politics and law. In addition to these undergraduate programs, the School of Philosophy also offers a Master of Arts in Philosophy, a Progressive Master of Arts Degree in Philosophy and Law, a joint degree with the USC Gould School of Law, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Philosophy.

Mudd Hall of Philosophy 113 (213) 740-4084 FAX: (213) 740-5174 Email: [email protected] dornsife.usc.edu/phil

Director: Scott Soames, PhD

University Professor and David Dornsife Chair in Neuroscience and Professor of Psychology, Neurology and Philosophy:  Antonio Damasio, PhD  (Psychology)

University Professor and Professor of Philosophy, History and Accounting:  Jacob Soll, PhD

Distinguished Professor of Philosophy:  Scott Soames, PhD*

William T. Dalessi Professor of Law and Professor of Philosophy:  Gregory Keating, PhD  (Law)

Professors:  John Hawthorne, PhD; Robin Jeshion, PhD; Janet Levin, PhD; Sharon Lloyd, PhD*; Edwin McCann, PhD*; Jonathan Quong, PhD; Mark Schroeder, PhD*; Gabriel Uzquiano Cruz, PhD; James Van Cleve, PhD; Kadri Vihvelin, PhD; Ralph Wedgwood, PhD

Associate Professors:  Andrew Bacon, PhD; Susanna Berger, PhD (Art History) ; Zlatan Damnjanovic, PhD; John H. Dreher, PhD; Jeremy Goodman, PhD; Shieva Kleinschmidt, PhD; Jacob Ross, PhD; Jefferey Sanford Russel, PhD; Alexis Wellwood, PhD*

Assistant Professors:  Felipe J. Castro, PhD  (Law) ; Zoë Johnson King, PhD; Jake Nebel, PhD; Porter Williams, PhD

Emeritus:  S. Marshall Cohen, MA*; Frank Lewis, PhD; Gary Watson, PhD; George Wilson, PhD

*Recipient of university-wide or college teaching award.

Undergraduate Degrees

Double major.

Double majors are encouraged but a student must work in close consultation with the undergraduate adviser.

Bachelor of Arts with a Combined Major in Linguistics and Philosophy

See Linguistics   .

Philosophy Honors Program

Students who are considering the possibility of continuing their education at a graduate level in philosophy or similar disciplines, or students who wish to undertake a more intensive course of studies in philosophy, which includes original independent research, are strongly encouraged to take their major with honors.

Departmental honors for any of our majors requires completion of the requirements for the Bachelor of Arts, with the following additional requirements:

  • Students must take an honors capstone seminar. If it is not possible for the student to take an honors capstone seminar, the student may instead take PHIL 494   : Senior Thesis, after completing the prerequisites for this course.
  • Students must have a GPA of 3.5 or higher in their philosophy courses.

Students who intend to complete the major with honors are encouraged to enroll in the program early in their junior year, and, in any case, no later than the first term of their senior year. Students must consult continuously with their faculty adviser on a mutually agreed basis.

Graduate Degrees

The objective of the graduate program in philosophy is to equip suitably prepared and talented students to function effectively as teachers, thinkers and writers on philosophical topics in the Western tradition. The program provides for a wide range of studies within philosophy, but emphasizes the history of philosophy, both classical and modern, along with the traditional core disciplines: ethics, epistemology, metaphysics and logic.

Because philosophy is as much a special manner of intellectual activity as it is a special subject matter, the graduate student is expected not only to master major works in the historical and contemporary literature of philosophical thought, but also to develop the ability to engage in the ongoing process of philosophical research and dialogue.

Admission Requirements

An applicant for admission normally has an undergraduate major in philosophy, but programs may be arranged for promising students who do not. At least three letters of recommendation from the student’s undergraduate teachers should be sent to the chair of graduate admissions of the School of Philosophy. All applicants are required to take the verbal and quantitative General Tests of the Graduate Record Examinations.

Degree Requirements

These degrees are awarded under the jurisdiction of the Graduate School. Refer to the Requirements for Graduation    section and The Graduate School    section of this catalogue for general regulations. All courses applied toward the degrees must be courses accepted by the Graduate School.

Progressive Degree Program in Philosophy and Law

The progressive degree program permits exceptional undergraduate students with a major in philosophy to receive both an undergraduate degree and the Master of Arts in Philosophy and Law within five years. A minimum GPA of 3.5, two letters of recommendation and outstanding performance in philosophy courses are required for admission to this program. For other requirements of the progressive degree program, see here   .

Graduate Advisement

In addition to the departmental graduate adviser, who has the formal role in graduate advising, each student will be matched with a personal adviser, who will share responsibility with the graduate adviser for monitoring a student’s progress semester by semester. The graduate adviser is available to counsel any graduate student on all aspects of the graduate program. A student’s personal adviser will consult informally with the student semester by semester on how to interpret his or her grades and especially the written reports provided by the instructor for each course in which the student is enrolled, discuss informally the student’s selection of courses each semester, and generally keep track of the student’s progress in the program. At the appropriate time, the student will consult his or her adviser concerning the appointment of a faculty committee for guidance and supervision. An official qualifying exam committee will be appointed at the time the student passes the screening examination; for the rules governing its establishment and makeup, see General Requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy degree    in the Graduate School section. The qualifying exam committee will meet with the student soon after its appointment, and at least once each academic year thereafter.

Bachelor’s Degree

  • •  Philosophy (BA)
  • •  Philosophy and Physics (BA)
  • •  Philosophy, Politics and Economics (BA)
  • •  Philosophy, Politics and Law (BA)
  • •  Philosophy Minor
  • •  Philosophy of Law, Politics and Economics Minor

Master’s Degree

  • •  Philosophy (MA)
  • •  Philosophy and Law (MA)

Dual Degree

  • •  Master of Arts, Philosophy/Juris Doctor (MA/JD)

Doctoral Degree

  • •  Philosophy (PhD)
  • •  PHIL 100g Central Problems of Philosophy
  • •  PHIL 101 Free People, Free Thought and Free Markets
  • •  PHIL 102gp Historical Introduction to Philosophy
  • •  PHIL 103g Philosophy, Politics and Economics in Europe, from Renaissance to Enlightenment
  • •  PHIL 104g Ancient Foundations of Western Thought
  • •  PHIL 110g Modern Foundations of Western Thought
  • •  PHIL 122a Reasoning and Argument
  • •  PHIL 122b Reasoning and Argument
  • •  PHIL 130g The Physical World and Our Place In It
  • •  PHIL 138g Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion
  • •  PHIL 141gp The Professions and the Public Interest in American Life
  • •  PHIL 166gw Current Moral and Social Issues
  • •  PHIL 168g The Meaning of Life
  • •  PHIL 172gmw Social Ethics for Earthlings and Others
  • •  PHIL 174gw Freedom, Equality, and Social Justice
  • •  PHIL 178gw Moral Dilemmas in the Legal Domain
  • •  PHIL 220 Introduction to Logic
  • •  PHIL 222g Logic and Language
  • •  PHIL 236g Issues in Space and Time
  • •  PHIL 240g Mind, Self, and Consciousness
  • •  PHIL 242 Theories of Art
  • •  PHIL 246Lg Foundations of Cognitive Science
  • •  PHIL 252g The Ways of Paradox
  • •  PHIL 254gp Science, Knowledge and Objectivity
  • •  PHIL 255gp Existentialism in Philosophy, Literature and Film
  • •  PHIL 256g Science, Religion, and the Making of the Modern Mind
  • •  PHIL 258g Probability and Rational Choice
  • •  PHIL 260gw Ethical Theory and Practice
  • •  PHIL 262g Mind and Self: Modern Conceptions
  • •  PHIL 265g Ethics, Technology and Value
  • •  PHIL 270g Conceptual Foundations of Conflict
  • •  PHIL 284gp Ideas on Trial
  • •  PHIL 288gp Love and its Representation in Western Literature, Film, and Philosophy
  • •  PHIL 311 The Quest for the Individual in Early Modern Europe
  • •  PHIL 314 Origins of Free Market Thought in Early Modern Europe
  • •  PHIL 315 History of Western Philosophy: Ancient Period
  • •  PHIL 317 History of Western Philosophy: Medieval Period
  • •  PHIL 320 History of Western Philosophy: Modern Period
  • •  PHIL 336 Philosophy of Mind and Language
  • •  PHIL 337 Political Philosophy
  • •  PHIL 339 Philosophy of Economics
  • •  PHIL 340 Ethics
  • •  PHIL 347 Philosophy in Literature
  • •  PHIL 350 Intermediate Logic
  • •  PHIL 355 Existentialism
  • •  PHIL 360 Epistemology and Metaphysics
  • •  PHIL 361 Philosophy of Religion
  • •  PHIL 362 Possible Worlds
  • •  PHIL 363 Philosophy of Perception
  • •  PHIL 385 Science and Rationality
  • •  PHIL 390 Special Problems
  • •  PHIL 410 Early Greek Thought
  • •  PHIL 411 Plato
  • •  PHIL 415 Aristotle
  • •  PHIL 416 The Ancient Stoics
  • •  PHIL 421 Continental Rationalism
  • •  PHIL 422 British Empiricism
  • •  PHIL 423 The Critical Philosophy of Kant
  • •  PHIL 424 19th Century Philosophy
  • •  PHIL 427 Twentieth Century Anglo-American Philosophy
  • •  PHIL 428 Anglo-American Philosophy Since 1950
  • •  PHIL 430 Philosophy of Law
  • •  PHIL 431 Law, Society, and Politics
  • •  PHIL 437 Social and Political Philosophy
  • •  PHIL 440 Contemporary Ethical Theory
  • •  PHIL 442 History of Ethics to 1900
  • •  PHIL 443 Value Theory
  • •  PHIL 445 Philosophy of the Arts
  • •  PHIL 446 Aesthetics and the Film
  • •  PHIL 450 The Limits of Logic
  • •  PHIL 452 Modal Logic
  • •  PHIL 455 Phenomenology and Existentialism
  • •  PHIL 460 Metaphysics
  • •  PHIL 462 Philosophy of Mind
  • •  PHIL 463 Theories of Action
  • •  PHIL 465 Philosophy of Language
  • •  PHIL 467 Language, Linguistics and Mind
  • •  PHIL 470 Theory of Knowledge
  • •  PHIL 472 Moral Philosophy
  • •  PHIL 473 Wittgenstein
  • •  PHIL 475 Topics in Philosophy, Politics and Economics
  • •  PHIL 480 Philosophy of Mathematics
  • •  PHIL 484 Philosophy of Physics
  • •  PHIL 485 Development of Physical Science
  • •  PHIL 486 Methodologies of the Sciences
  • •  PHIL 490x Directed Research
  • •  PHIL 494 Senior Thesis
  • •  PHIL 495 Honors Capstone
  • •  PHIL 499 Special Topics
  • •  PHIL 500 Introduction to Contemporary Philosophical Literature
  • •  PHIL 501 Seminar in Recent Philosophy
  • •  PHIL 503 Introduction to Contemporary Philosophical Literature on Value
  • •  PHIL 505 Pro-Seminar in Central Topics in Contemporary Philosophy
  • •  PHIL 510 Philosophical Logic
  • •  PHIL 515 Studies in Ancient and Medieval Philosophy
  • •  PHIL 520 Studies in Modern Philosophy
  • •  PHIL 525 Seminar in Phenomenology
  • •  PHIL 530 Seminar in Philosophy of Law
  • •  PHIL 537 Seminar in Social and Political Philosophy
  • •  PHIL 540 Seminar in Ethics


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  1. Our Graduate Program - School of Philosophy

    Philosophy PhD students at USC also begin to practice and develop as teachers of philosophy and develop the concrete skills that will come in handy in a career as a college or university professor. A philosophy PhD is not for everyone. Success as a PhD student in philosophy requires talent and preparation, as well as a tremendous amount of hard ...

  2. About Us - School of Philosophy

    At USC, we believe that philosophy’s task grows out of what has always been its central mission—to help lay the conceptual foundations for advances in our theoretical knowledge of the universe and ourselves, while also providing practical wisdom needed for virtuous and meaningful lives.

  3. Philosophy (PhD) - University of Southern California

    There is a distribution requirement of six courses at the 500 level in the School of Philosophy, two each representing breadth within each of the following three areas: (1) metaphysics and epistemology (broadly construed, including philosophical logic; philosophy of science; philosophy of math, mind, and language), (2) value theory (broadly cons...

  4. Apply to USC Philosophy - School of Philosophy

    Apply to USC Philosophy Applications to the Graduate School of the University of Southern California are coordinated through the WebAdMIT application system. The Application Deadline is January 6th. The online graduate admission application system is available here.

  5. Our PHDs - School of Philosophy - dornsife.usc.edu

    A PhD in philosophy offers students the highest form of training in rigorous thought and analytical writing, and guidance in the development of a productive, active research program, contributing to the advance of the field.

  6. Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences – USC Graduate ...

    Apply. 1442. Comparative Studies in Literature and Culture (Comparative Media and Culture) PhD. UPC. NO. cslc@dornsife.usc.edu. 213-740-0102.

  7. Philosophy - University of Southern California - Acalog ACMS™

    Faculty University Professor and David Dornsife Chair in Neuroscience and Professor of Psychology, Neurology and Philosophy: Antonio Damasio, PhD (Psychology) Distinguished Professor of Philosophy: Scott Soames, PhD* Provost Professor of Philosophy and Law: Gary Watson, PhD

  8. Placement Record - School of Philosophy

    The survey found that we rank number 1 among all Philosophy Ph.D. programs in the English-speaking world in the percentage of Ph.D.s who landed permanent jobs over two periods—the last 10 years, and the last 5 of those years—in addition to ranking above the mean in the number of PhDs granted.

  9. Philosophy - University of Southern California - Acalog ACMS™

    Faculty University Professor and David Dornsife Chair in Neuroscience and Professor of Psychology, Neurology and Philosophy: Antonio Damasio, PhD (Psychology) University Professor and Professor of Philosophy, History and Accounting: Jacob Soll, PhD Distinguished Professor of Philosophy: Scott Soames, PhD*