Aesthetics for Birds

Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art for Everyone

Where to Study Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art



This post provides all of the information that is currently available about where to formally study aesthetics and philosophy of art. Note: There is a more recent version of this post here, from December 2020.

It also includes a request for help from those working on aesthetics and philosophy of art in universities in the English-speaking world. Kathleen Stock (Sussex) has created a document that aims to comprehensively catalog all faculty working in these areas. But we need your help to fill it in!


This week has seen the revival of a perennial debate in academic philosophy, triggered by the (in)famous Philosophical Gourmet Report (PGR). The PGR provides a ranking of philosophy departments in the English-speaking world, collected through surveys of philosophy faculty. It provides rankings of programs overall, as well as rankings of programs with respect to various specialties.

The PGR’s 2017-2018 Philosophy of Art rankings, organized into tiered groups:

Group 1

City University of New York Graduate Center
McGill University
New York University
University of Auckland
University of British Columbia
University of Leeds
University of York

Group 2

Birkbeck College, University of London
Oxford University
University of Manchester
University of St. Andrews/Stirling Joint Program

Group 3

Brown University
Columbia University
University of Toronto
University of Warwick

Group 4

Northwestern University
Princeton University
Rutgers University, New Brunswick
University of Illinois, Chicago
Victoria University, Wellington

I don’t wish to rehash all of the debates about the report. For those interested, a post with links and discussion of the overall rankings is here.

This has come up for discussion on the blog before (here, where you can see one the previous ranking, and here).

Recently, however, Kathleen Stock (Sussex) wrote an open letter to the British Society of Aesthetics, voicing concerns about the PGR ranking and its methodology, with special attention to the area rankings in Philosophy of Art. She asks that they “publicly reject of the current iteration of the Report as unsound,” among other things.

Brian Leiter, founding editor of the PGR, has responded to criticisms that the ranking suffers from gender bias.

The American Society for Aesthetics

The American Society for Aesthetics has their own graduate guide, an extensive document that includes the general orientation (analytic, historical, continental, etc.), a brief description of the department’s aesthetics offerings and strengths, and list of aesthetics faculty in the department.

This guide is aimed at “students who are interested in pursuing graduate studies in philosophy with an expertise or competence in aesthetics or the philosophy of art.”

From the guide:

The data for this edition of the Guide were collected in 2016 using a survey sent to every North American graduate philosophy department. Each department was asked to identify the graduate aesthetics courses it offers, any teaching opportunities for graduate students in aesthetics courses, and the names and interests of faculty capable of supervising students in aesthetics. Fifty-three departments replied and are represented in the Guide.

The British Society of Aesthetics

The British Society of Aesthetics has a list of specialized degree programs, that is, places where one can go to earn a specialized degree in aesthetics, philosophy of art, literature, art history, art theory, etc. This is not a list of programs where one can go to earn a philosophy degree and specialize in aesthetics and philosophy of art. Rather, this is a list of programs where the degree is, e.g., a History and Philosophy of Art degree.

Please comment/contact me if I’m missing useful sources of information, and I will update this post accordingly.

Collected list of English-speaking philosophy departments that cover aesthetics and philosophy of art [incomplete]

Finally, Kathleen Stock has created a document that aims to fill in some gaps left by the above guides. The hope is that this document can comprehensively catalog all faculty working in these areas, whether at an institution that only offers undergraduate degrees or a graduate degree-granting institution.

But if we are to comprehensively catalog all faculty working in these areas, we need your help!

Image credit: “Mortlock Library” by runmonty via Flickr


  1. This may be asking too much, but any suggestions for programs in Europe (or elsewhere) that are also taught in English?

    • Unfortunately, I don’t know of any list(s) like this. I know that many European and Asian universities offer some courses in English, but I don’t know how regularly or reliably they do so.

      There are some places that offer courses in English intentionally and regularly. Some American universities that have branches abroad, but those are likely to offer only Bachelors degrees. I think in general that major Scandinavian and Dutch universities do a lot in English. In Asia, you might look at the National University of Singapore and University of Hong Kong. But I don’t know how much aesthetics and philosophy of art is taught at those places, or how much you could get at the MA/PhD level.

      You can always contact faculty or administrators at the institutions you’re interested in and ask.

      Anyone else with relevant info is welcome to add to this thread or to the above document!

  2. Many thanks for the lists. It is helpful to me!

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