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Villanova University’s Doctoral Program in Philosophy Celebrates 20th Anniversary

VILLANOVA, Pa.– Villanova University’s doctoral program in Philosophy, housed in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, marks its 20th anniversary this year. 

Since the program awarded its first PhD in Philosophy in 1999, its graduates have enjoyed an outstanding job placement record, with 84 percent finding academic employment. The great majority of those alumni hold tenured or tenure-track faculty positions at universities across the U.S, while others serve in key roles in academic libraries and nonprofit organizations. Villanova’s PhD graduates in Philosophy have had books published by Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, Stanford University Press, Bloomsbury and Routledge, among others. Alumni have also had articles published in the leading academic journals in the field, as well as in mainstream publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Harvard Divinity Bulletin.

Among those who have received their PhDs from the program are Jennifer Gosetti-Ferencei, ’99 PhD, professor of Philosophy at Fordham University and the winner of the 2012 Villanova University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Graduate Alumni Medallion, and Michael F. Andrews ’02 PhD, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and the McNerney-Hanson Endowed Chair in Ethics at the University of Portland.   

Villanova’s PhD program in Philosophy specializes in Continental Philosophy and the History of Philosophy and is renowned for its strength in the tradition of Western thought.  Students are exposed to both the continental and analytic traditions of Philosophy. The program runs the Critical Theory Workshop/Atelier de Théorie Critique, a summer research program in Paris, France, where Villanova PhD candidates participate with peers from around the world in seminars on current social, cultural, and political issues and engage with emerging and leading scholars who are not yet translated into English. In addition, every year several Villanova Philosophy graduate students are accepted to participate in The Collegium Phaenomenologicum, an international forum on European philosophy and the single most influential meeting in continental philosophy. It has gathered annually since 1975 in Umbria, Italy.   

The program is also the current home of Hypatia, A Journal of Feminist Philosophy, the internationally leading academic journal for the publication of diverse perspectives in feminist philosophy. In 2013 Sally J. Scholz, PhD, professor of Philosophy in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, was named editor of Hypatia.  During her five-year term as editor, Hypatia’s editorial offices are housed in Villanova’s Falvey Library.

In May 2015, Villanova University’s Department of Philosophy, along with Hypatia and the American Philosophical Association Committee on the Status of Women, will host a conference, “Exploring Collaborative Contestations and Diversifying Philosophy.” Leading Philosophy scholars from around the world are expected to attend. 

 “I was the department chair when we started the program 20 years ago, and one of our hopes was that a hallmark of the program would be that we would produce outstanding undergraduate teachers.  I am proud to say that we have been remarkably successful in achieving this goal,” said John Immerwahr, PhD, acting chair, Villanova University Department of Philosophy.  

 “We are immensely proud of our PhD program in Philosophy, our faculty and our graduates,” said Adele Lindenmeyr, PhD, interim dean, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.  “The quality of the teaching, the outstanding learning and networking opportunities for our PhD candidates and the success of our Philosophy PhD alumni speak volumes about why the program has thrived for the past two decades and continues to do so.”

About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's six colleges – the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University School of Law. As students grow intellectually, Villanova prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them. For more, visit