Calendar for philosophy jobs

It takes longer than you think

Here is the 2003–04 publication schedule for Jobs for Philosophers (JFP), the American Philosophical Association’s (APA) official list of jobs for, um, philosophers.** This list is now posted on the web, so new entries show up between the official publication dates.

Volume Publication Date
159 October 10, 2003
160 November 10, 2003
161 February 20, 2004
162 May 7, 2004

As you can see, placement work happens all year, for both the committee and the job seeker. Here’s a rough schedule, with emphasis on important milestones for those on the job market.

Spring & Summer

Late May - early June

  1. Meeting with placement committee. Topics: Are you ready? What happens?
  2. Check in with your thesis committee. This is your real placement committee. Do this before faculty leave for the summer.
  3. Become a member of the American Philosophical Association (APA). Do it now to ensure that you will get the job listings on time. (Really, there’s a case for doing this at least a year before you think you might go on the job market so you see what will happen well in advance).
  4. Open an account with a document service like Interfolio.


  1. Finish your thesis, in two senses.
    1. Put your thesis advisor in a position to write a letter saying that your thesis is finished.
    2. Prepare two really good papers: one for your job dossier and the other for your job talk.

      Once you’ve decided to go on the job market, your thesis is important mainly insofar as it accomplishes two things: (a) filling the space between the title page and “the end” and (b) providing the basis for those two papers. The decision to go on the job market pretty much brings your life as a dissertation writer to an end. You are now a job candidate. You can return to the thesis as a self-standing intellectually valuable whole after you get a job. (This way of putting it comes from David Finkelstein, albeit filtered and expressed by me.)

  2. Think about teaching — a little time each week should do the trick.
    1. Generically: what makes a class go well?
    2. Specifically: what classes would I like to teach and what would I do?
    3. It’s especially helpful to talk with others about these things: try to meet as a group to do so.



Assemble your dossier.

  1. Share your CVs with one another and the committee.
  2. Remind your letter writers of deadlines (note: we aren’t going to be in session until right before the first job ads come out. It’s very much to your advantage to get your letter writers now, when they are relatively clear of distractions. They may not do anything, but at least you won’t feel as though you’re imposing on them. This is not a trivial thing: when making requests of faculty, you will almost always feel better if you do it way in advance than if you come close to the deadline.)
  3. Put a shine on that writing sample. Do it now, when you aren’t stressed out.

October - November

  1. Jobs for Philosophers (JFP) comes out. There are two issues: one in the second week of October (10 October 2003, e.g.) and one in the second week of November (10 November, 2003, e.g.).
  2. Apply. A few deadlines come in early November, most are in mid-November to early December.
  3. Reserve a hotel room for the convention on 1 November (or earlier). The convention rate rooms will all be taken in December. You can always cancel the reservation with no charge, usually up to the last day or so. So just make it now.
  4. Work on interviewing: practice with one another.
  5. How’s that job talk?
  6. Prepare to talk about courses: how and why you would teach them. Prepare syllabi for the obvious ones in your area. You should be able to rattle off their contents with confidence.



  1. Invitations for interviews are usually made in the second and third weeks (usually after terms end). Find something to do other than sitting around the phone.
  2. APA Eastern Division Meetings, usually 27-30 December, in one of these cities: Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington DC, and Atlanta. This is where interviews happen.

January - February

  1. Calls for campus visits are made throughout the month (usually after schools come back into session).
  2. Campus visits: happen in January and February.
  3. February JFP (20 Feb 2004, e.g.): mainly 1 year contracts. Don’t despair: there are a lot of great opportunities here.


March - April

Central and Pacific Division meetings. Some interviews happen here. You should be prepared to go if you replied to ads in the February JFP (though interviews for these jobs are far more rare than for tenure track ones; chances are good that you will get a job without more than a phone interview at this stage).

April - May

  1. Temporary contracts, post docs distributed.
  2. May JFP (7 May 2004, e.g.)

May - June

Meeting with the Placement committee …

This page was written by Michael Green. It was posted July 28, 2008.
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