Male/Female Student Ratio in Philosophy Ph.D. Programs

My student Mike Sigler collected these data and gave me permission to share them.


  1. How did he report PhD students in Gender Studies and other fields related to philosophy? Some schools have separate departments for this while others do not, and it seems that the decision to include these (or not) would have a dramatic effect on the male:female ratio.

  2. I think that this gender gap is not found in all countries. In Turkey there seems to be a far grater proportion of women in involved in philosophy than in the USA. So, for example, the numbers in my department (Bogazici University in Istanbul) from last year are:

    Undergrad: women 91, men 55.
    Grad (MA and Phd): women 30, men 29.
    Faculty: Women 6, men 8.

    I had some discussion of this here:

  3. Carolyn

    This is the same information, re-organized in terms of percentage, in case that is helpful for others:

    U. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 40%
    U of Penn 39%
    Harvard 39%
    U of Minnesota 39%
    CUNY 39%
    UCLA 38%
    Rutgers 36%
    Yale 35%
    UMass 34%
    NYU 34%
    Michigan, Ann Arbor 33%
    Carnegie-Mellon 33%
    Rice U 33%
    U of Pittsburgh 33%
    Cornell 32%
    Southern Cal. 32%
    Northwestern 32%
    California, Riverside 32%
    U of Miami 32%
    Syracuse 32%
    Washington, Seattle 31%
    Washington U, St. Louis 31%
    Georgetown 31%
    Ohio State 30%
    Duke 30%
    Boston U 28%
    MIT 27%
    Princeton 26%
    UC Berkeley 25%
    U of Chicago 25%
    UIC 25%
    Columbia 25%
    Texas, Austin 25%
    Indiana, Bloomington 24%
    Wisconsin, Madison 24%
    John Hopkins 24%
    Colorado, Boulder 23%
    California, Irvine 23%
    Notre Dame 22%
    Florida State 22%
    Maryland, College Park 21%
    U of Arizona 21%
    Missouri, Columbia 19%
    Stanford 19%
    UIUC 17%
    Connecticut, Storrs 17%
    U of Virginia 16%
    California, San Diego 16%
    Brown U. 15%
    California, Santa Barbara 14%
    California, Davis 11%
    U of Rochester 11%

    Total 28%

  4. Edouard Machery


    Thanks for collecting these data. Note that the APA has been attempting to do it, together with some further data about gender distribution.

    Also, it seems that you did not count HPS for Pitt, but just those in philosophy? It is worth adding the two departments to get the full picture of the gender balance at Pitt.

  5. Top tier: 336/1170 (29%)
    Second tier: 235/903 (26%)
    Not a significant difference in proportion of women in the two tiers (chi-square test for equality of proportions, p=0.17).

    It isn’t particularly surprising: philosophy is about as high on the alpha-male-awkward-geekTM scale as you can get. Not as high as physics, but up there with computer science and chess tournaments. I literally fear that my daughter will get involved in any of these things because of the crap she’ll have to put up with from clueless, horny, socially awkward males suddenly in positions of power or respect.

    Some data it would be nice to have is the proportion of undergraduate female philosophy majors at these schools.

  6. MAH

    Nice data. Next thing to try maybe: subtract all the students who are in, say, their 7th year of grad school or above. I bet then in the remaining (6 years of grad school or under) there will be a slightly higher proportion of women then in what you show in your data. This will show that admittance rates of grad schools are less at fault than one might otherwise think.

  7. Kristina Meshelski

    Former UVa student here, only 3 of those listed on the website are female, and one of those women has recently left. So the correct Virgina numbers are 2 out of 25 women.

    Thanks for doing this.

  8. Kate Abramson

    The correct numbers for Indiana (based on a self-study just completed for an external review, of students enrolled in 2011-2012) are 38 students total, 9 women. (23.7% women). Thank you.

  9. Mike

    If a school has gender studies students, but those students are officially a part of the philosophy department, I’m fine with including those students. If they are listed as a part of another department, and presumably on another page, then they are not included. I literally just went by students as listed on the philosophy departmental websites. But this is worth considering when interpreting the data.

  10. Mike

    That is an interesting idea. However, many programs do not list what year their students are in. So gathering this data would be very difficult (and even if they did it would still be time consuming). Maybe in the future, if all the ph.d. programs worked together, we can get a very detailed set of data and factor in and out information as we like.

  11. Ambrose

    If your daughter ends up being interested in philosophy, there’s a good chance she might also be interested in some of these socially awkward males too. She might even like it that, in this little part of the world, they have some power and get some respect. Women do tend to gravitate to men with power and social status, you may have noticed. And perhaps you’ve even noticed that aspergery, awkward guys are sometimes not treated so well by women (unless or until they do manage to get some power and status for themselves).

    In any case, do you seriously believe that the only or best explanation for this disparity is that girls are being sexually harassed (or whatever) by philosophy profs or grad students? Be real. The explanation is staring you in the face: philosophy appeals to an aspergery, asocial type of mind that is far less common among women than men. (That also explains a few other facts we notice about all of human history.) Also, women are generally less ambitious than men, less driven to achieve high status in society. (There are obvious reasons for that too.) Frankly I’m amazed that educated, intelligent people pretend not to notice that the sexes are a bit different psychologically. Not only that, but the lemmings who pretend to believe in the inter-changeability of the sexes are unable to provide a shred of positive evidence for that ludicrous theory. All they have is a lot of empty bs meant to explain away the evidence that counts against their egalitarian theory — bs about “implicit bias” or “systemic discrimination”, and so on. (Occam’s Butterknife, Steve Sailer calls it.)

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