Graduate Student Testimonials
Rebecca Scott, Former PhD Student
I am currently a PhD student in the philosophy department at Loyola, having received my BA from Swarthmore College in 2005 and my MA at Loyola in 2011. The philosophy graduate program here has provided me with a solid and diverse philosophical education, a wonderful community, and the opportunity to develop as a teacher and scholar.
In my coursework at Loyola, I found the diversity of the faculty to be one of the department’s greatest strengths. Taking courses from philosophers with a variety of different backgrounds and approaches to philosophy has helped me to learn to appreciate different philosophical methodologies and improve my writing. Although my work is in the ‘continental’ tradition, taking classes with analytic philosophers and historians of philosophy has helped me to appreciate a variety of perspectives and has allowed me to strengthen my own views and arguments. Also, through the distribution requirements, I have developed a strong grasp of the history of philosophy.
In addition to feeling well prepared by my coursework, the graduate student community at Loyola is exceptional. In my time here, I have found my colleagues to be supportive, intellectually stimulating, and a lot of fun. We work hard to develop a community that is welcoming and non-competitive while still academically challenging. I have developed deep friendships with my fellow graduate students that I look forward to maintaining as we move on in our careers.
Finally, from a professional standpoint, Loyola has prepared me well for a career in teaching by giving me the opportunity to teach my own courses. My dissertation is on Emmanuel Levinas’s conception of education, and I am deeply dedicated to rethinking how we understand philosophical pedagogy. Loyola ensures that all PhD students have the chance to teach their own classes, and this opportunity has allowed me to put into practice the work that my dissertation is ultimately aimed at accomplishing.
Jean Clifford, Current PhD Student
I am a student in Loyola’s PhD program, concentrating on topics in ancient philosophy. I began at Loyola in 2012 in the MA program and moved into the PhD program in the fall of 2015. Loyola has proven to be an excellent environment for me to further my goals in philosophy on account of the program’s concern for my intellectual and professional success.
Uncertain about a life in academia, I began in Loyola’s MA program hoping to determine if that career shoe would fit. During that time, I had the opportunity to follow my interests in ancient philosophy and get a taste for serious scholarship and collaboration. The MA program gave me time to adjust to the demands of graduate school without the additional obligations of an assistantship while nonetheless being welcomed completely by both faculty and fellow students into the practice of philosophy.
Transitioning into the PhD program proved seamless because of the professional relationships I formed as an MA student. I worked on my Masters paper with Dr. Julie Ward and Dr. Jason Rheins on Aristotle and look forward to a future filled with their direct and careful guidance on my dissertation. Also in the MA program, I was able to take graduate seminars with Dr. Adriaan Peperzak. Now, I am lucky to say I am his research assistant and am able to integrate the research I’m doing for him into my own research interests. His studies on topics in the history of philosophy, phenomenology, and ethics, for example, often tie thematically or hermetically back to my research in the texts of Plato or Aristotle. The faculty at large has proven dedicated to making sure PhD students are prepared for life beyond Loyola. The Placement Committee, a committee composed of faculty members designed to assist graduate students in preparing for the job market, has begun multiple initiatives to give Loyola graduates an edge, including teaching seminars, opportunities for presentation of research, and workshops geared towards specific kinds of institutions. Because of the Placement Committee, I’ve been thinking about my career ambitions from the beginning and feel confident in the future.
Lastly, I’ll say a few brief words about the congenial and supportive climate among the graduate students. With high comradery, we have been able to maintain effectively (and enjoyably!) our student government as well as numerous conferences like well-oiled machines. It has been a delight to befriend the individuals here who have also become my colleagues.
I arrived at Loyola just having finished a BA in pre-law at Waynesburg University. With only a minor in philosophy, I chose to apply to Loyola because the seminar options were broad enough to give me a thorough philosophical education. This variety exposed me to philosophical genres and insight I had not previously encountered, and was greatly to my benefit.
As a member of the Philosophy Department I felt like a member of a very inviting community. Though there exists a formal distinction between the PhD students and MA students, socially the distinction was non-existent. My colleagues there were brilliant, and engaging both in and out of the classroom. Moreover, in addition to being wonderful professors, the faculty members are approachable, and great mentors when needed.
As a terminal MA student, I was able to work as a Graduate Assistant to the Reference Librarians in the Library. The job, in addition to providing some much-needed financial support, was enjoyable as well as a nice complement to my philosophical education.
The breadth of seminar options allowed me to explore new areas, as well as further my own interests. I was lucky enough to do a directed reading with Dr. Schweickart on the philosophy of economics, and use much of that work as research and preparation for my MA Paper. Having finished at Loyola this past summer of 2015 I have since enrolled at Tulane Law School. My time spent at Loyola more than prepared me for Law School at a top fifty institution.