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  1. Current grad student here: Definitely recommend talking to graduate students about it, in my experience they tend to be fairly knowledgable about these sorts of things. With that being said though, I do think that should probably wait until you've already gotten in somewhere and are strongly considering attending.
  2. Just a word of caution, I know someone who transferred out of the graduate program at Rice after his second year despite having a strong interest in philosophy of mind because he felt that the department wasn't well-rounded enough. Granted, he did have other AOIs, so if you're exclusively interested in working in mind, I could see that choice making sense. But realize that the department's lack of other strengths at the moment could potentially pose some issues down the road.
  3. Started this year at a department in the PGR top 25, and no, it's not at all. Everyone here is extremely friendly and interested in discussing each other's work, classes, interests, etc. There's a strong collaborative spirit here, and I can't say that I've had a single bad experience with another graduate student so far. I've heard some bad things about a couple of departments, but such places are by far the exception and not the norm. It does seem like department culture largely dictates the way that graduate students treat one another (with some exceptions of course), which is why it's so important to talk to as many people as possible on campus visits in order to try to gauge such things.
  4. Just thought I would follow up on this: My application status hasn't changed on their portal either. I emailed the graduate program coordinator and was told that they have contacted everyone who has been accepted or waitlisted. Strangely enough, she didn't say anything about whether they've sent out any rejections yet, although I haven't seen anyone report an official rejections so far. She told me that I am "not among those being admitted or on the wait list at this time", and that "things could still change in the next couple of weeks, but for now we cannot admit you". I am taking this as an implicit rejection, since it seems like they leave a lot of people in limbo between official waitlist and official rejection each year, and as far as I can tell they haven't issued any proper rejections this year. I just wish that they would actually tell those who weren't officially accepted or officially waitlisted that they were rejected, since it seems inconsiderate to needlessly keep people in the dark for so long.
  5. Oh okay, I didn't realize that they sent out solicited responses at all. It didn't seem like anyone had had any luck with that, so I didn't even bother trying to contact them. If you don't mind me asking, who did you solicit the status update from? I might give that a shot if I haven't heard anything from them in a few days.
  6. So just to clarify, nobody has successfully solicited a rejection from UT Austin yet, right? I think that I've decided to accept one of my offers, but I don't want to commit until I've heard something definite from Austin.
  7. If this information is helpful to anyone: I've already declined MA offers from Houston and GSU, and I will be declining an offer from Brandeis and a waitlist from Milwaukee as well.
  8. Just chiming in to agree with the last two replies. As with most things, just as it's bad to blindly accept the PGR rankings, it's also bad to blindly reject the PGR rankings (obviously, I'm not accusing anyone here of falling into either of the above camps, but people of both of those varieties are definitely out there). Regardless of how objectionable Leiter's past conduct has often been, the PGR rankings are useful and remain a fairly accurate measure of certain factors that are really important when choosing a graduate program.
  9. My impression is that the current faculty expects the placement record to be completely different in the coming years, given how drastically the department has been changing for the better recently. They've started to emphasize building up PhD students to have stronger CVs, and I would imagine that having letters from any of the new faculty members would really bolster one's chances on the job market. I've also heard from a very reliable source that Irvine will be making several additional senior hires in the next couple of years, which will no doubt also help. In most cases I do think that past placement records reflect what future placement will look like, but it's important to not ascribe too much significance to past placement when a department has made so many enormous changes of this sort so rapidly.
  10. Ah okay, that actually makes a lot of sense. I appreciate the clarification, contemporary continental philosophy is definitely an area of relative ignorance for me.
  11. Sven Bernecker works on German idealism, and David Woofruff Smith works on Husserl and phenomenology. Admittedly, I don't know much about how continental philosophy is studied today, but don't both of those qualify as continental philosophy, the latter being 20th century continental philosophy? Also, another factor which may impact their ranking is that Martin Schwab is a professor emeritus there, and his primary research interest is 19th and 20th century continental philosophy. I don't doubt that the PGR rankings for continental philosophy are not entirely accurate, but it's not like they just picked names out of a hat in order to determine those rankings.
  12. Sorry to dredge up this (somewhat) older topic, but after seeing the new PGR rankings, I thought that it would be a good idea to follow up on this. Besides Irvine's overall ranking moving up a few notches this year, it is now quite well-ranked in epistemology (now in Group 3 with MIT, Toronto, UNC, UCLA, and Pittsburgh among others; was not previously ranked in epistemology at all). This can be attributed to the new senior hires made in the time since the last PGR report, namely Duncan Pritchard, Annalisa Coliva, and Karl Schafer. My sense is that the non-LPS department is taking major strides with its new hires, and that it will continue to improve in the next few years. If your concerns about the strength of the non-LPS department weren't already assuaged before this, I thought that this might help.
  13. It's currently the middle of the night, but I just received an email from UMass Amherst telling me that a decision letter had been posted! It was generic, so I assume that a bunch were all sent out just now.
  14. I received an email earlier today notifying me that I'm on a short waitlist at UBC, I'm pretty happy about that.
  15. Why take the "prestige" of a university with a recognizable name if their philosophy program is weaker? NYU has the best philosophy faculty in the world in a tremendous number of areas, and their program has one of the strongest placement records that you can find anywhere in the field. I know that one might not be inclined to care less about the first point if their particular AOI isn't one that's a major focus at NYU, but the department has an incredibly diverse set of interests, and if you're interested in something that NYU does focus on, there's a very strong chance that theirs would be the best program to attend. It really wouldn't make much sense to weaken your philosophical education just so that you could attend a more "brand-name" university.
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