More people earn PhDs in philosophy every year than there are job openings teaching philosophy in colleges and universities. Thus, some who complete their PhDs wind up without teaching jobs. In addition, some who start graduate school do not finish their PhDs. These truths hold at WUSTL, too, as the information on this page shows. But we have shrunk our graduate program to focus more attention on attracting, retaining, and preparing students. As a result, more of our students are finishing, and our placement record gives some reason for optimism, even in a very difficult market. Although we cannot promise our students that they will get a job or even that they will complete their PhD, we do promise to work very hard on behalf of their, and we are confident that those students who work very hard, too, will finish and will compete well on the job market.
Still, perspective is important. We do not advise students to seek a PhD in philosophy unless they really want to study philosophy for several years even if that does not eventuate in a job teaching philosophy. Those who begin graduate study in philosophy and do not later find themselves in tenure-track jobs teaching philosophy have not necessarily failed. Seriously studying philosophy is valuable for its own sake, and it can fit well into many different successful lives.