University Ranked Second in Philosophy In Worldwide Survey

Issue Date: 
June 15, 2015

The University of Pittsburgh is No. 2 in the world in the discipline of philosophy.  

QS World University Rankings evaluated more than 3,500 universities in 36 individual disciplines for its 2015 subject rankings and placed Pitt second in the realm of philosophy, behind only New York University and ahead of Oxford, Harvard, and Cambridge. 

Anil Gupta, chair of Pitt’s Department of Philosophy in the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, says, “What distinguishes our department are the creativity of our faculty and their willingness to explore unfashionable ideas and our superb graduate students.” 

Gupta adds, “Of the six philosophers from the United States inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences this year, three have Pitt ties. And Pitt faculty, particularly Distinguished Professor of Philosophy Robert Brandom and Distinguished University Professor of Philosophy John McDowell, are among the most influential philosophers working today.” 

The research of Pitt’s philosophy faculty has made a deep impact on the field. Beyond the hundreds of books published by Pitt faculty members, numerous authors worldwide have written about Pitt professors and their work. Eighteen books have been published on Brandom, 14 on Distinguished University Professor of Philosophy Nicholas Rescher, and 11 on McDowell. 

Among many other honors, Brandom and McDowell are recipients of the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; Rescher has received the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit from the Federal Republic of Germany. Gerald J. Massey, Pitt Emeritus Distinguished Service Professor of Philosophy and former director of the Center for Philosophy of Science at Pitt, also has received the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit award. 

Furthermore, five philosophy faculty members are fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences—Brandom, Gupta, McDowell, Rescher, and Professor of Philosophy Mark Wilson. The academy’s inductees also include several other philosophers who studied at Pitt, Gupta says. 

The QS World University Rankings are intended to help students make informed comparisons regarding international study options. Since first being compiled in 2004, the rankings have expanded to feature more than 800 universities around the world, with far more (over 3,000) assessed. The top 400 universities are given individual ranking positions. 

Ranking criteria encompass academic reputation, employer reputation, faculty to student ratio, academic citations per faculty member, international student ratio, and international faculty ratio.