Best American PhD programs in the philosophy of mind and cognitive science?

As some may know, I will be applying to PhD programs this season, hoping to land a spot at a good program for the Fall of 11. I have been compiling a list for many months, but I wanted to get some more suggestions. I am mainly looking for the best American PhD programs that have the most people working in philosophy of mind and the philosophy of cognitive science. Before you ask, I am only considering American programs for both personal and academic reasons. Personal, because I like the American lifestyle and it would be less of a hassle to live with my partner and see my family for Christmas and holidays. Academic, because there are some amazing programs here in America and I like the idea of getting paid handsomely to spend 5 years in doctoral school (instead of the usual 3 elsewhere).

Here’s what I have so far:

Programs that I am really interested in:

  1. Indiana University, Bloomington
  2. Washington U, St Louis PNP program
  3. CUNY Grad Center
  4. NYU
  5. U of Connecticut
  6. UCSD
  7. U of Maryland

Programs that I am interested in (I can’t rank these):

  • U of Arizona
  • U of Miami
  • Rutgers
  • Oregon
  • Ohio State U
  • Duke
  • U of Wisconsin, Madison
  • UT Austin
  • Syracuse

Programs I am somewhat interested in (which isn’t to say they are bad schools,I’m just not sure if they are right for me)

  • Yale
  • Georgetown
  • Emory
  • Boston University

Keeping in mind my above criteria (high concentration of people working in philosophy of mind/cognitive science + American), what are some programs I am missing? I’m open to any suggestions or advise.



Filed under Random

8 responses to “Best American PhD programs in the philosophy of mind and cognitive science?

  1. You might want to add Berkeley to the list. (Full disclosure: I’m a grad student there.)

  2. Vic P

    Of course why pick a school that specializes in continental philosophy? It’s the best place to hone your arguments and skills. The school also has excellent Departments of Psychology and Cognitive Science and a world renowned Dept of Physics associated with Brookhaven National Labs. Also beautiful location on Eastern Long Island next to Long Island Sound but less than a couple of hours train ride into Manhattan so you have the best of both worlds. Also a ferry ride and a few hours away from Boston via car.

  3. Gary Williams


    I think stonybrook is too competitive for me. I heard they only accept people with 1600s on their GREs because they have so many applicants.I’m also not sure if I want to go to a program that specializes in continental. Although I love Heidegger, I often feel that, due to my “scientific” approach to many philosophical problems, I am an outsider in the world of hardcore continental philosophy. Thanks for the recommendation though.

    • Vic P

      Did not know SB had become that competetive. With your scientific perspective and grounding in cognitive science, they may find your background unique. You may also be eligible to take courses and do research in the Psych Dep’t as well. Also see they allow students to take courses in other schools including NYU and Princeton. What does it cost these days to apply to grad programs?

  4. Samantha

    Would you recommend getting a Masters before entering a doctoral program, or entering into a doctoral program immediately after getting a BS/BA? I will be graduating this spring and I am trying to plan my future. I just don’t know if it would be better for me to try to find a hybrid program (getting the Masters on the way to the PhD) or to get the Masters first.

    • Gary Williams

      Hi Samantha,

      I would recommend to apply to both PhD and Masters programs, across a broad spectrum of strengths. If you can get into a good PhD program straight out of undergrad, then do it, but if you only get into a Masters program, then you can work on building your application and have better chances for getting into a good PhD. I would choose a good Masters over a mediocre PhD.

  5. bianca

    Look into these three schools:

    I am currently in the East-West Psychology Masters program at CIIS with electives in Philosophy of Mind/Consciousness Studies and Transformative Leadership. This school is REALLY special. It took years for me to find a place that had a unique program, was spiritually gorgeous, and that was going to allow me space for independent research and self-development.

    Best of luck!

  6. bianca

    I was told Berkeley’s program is good too. All of the really good Philosophy of Mind programs are going to exist in the Bay Area of CA. Funding wise.. and mindset wise.

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