MOVING TO THE FRONT with an update.
The transformation of the Northwestern Department has led a few different correspondents in recent months to inquire about where students with a philosophical interest in post-Kantian Continental philosophy of the 19th- and 20th-centuries should go to study for a PhD these days. The specialty rankings from the most recent PGR give a reasonable picture of the choices. In my own judgment, the top choice is pretty plainly the University of Chicago (Brudney, Davidson, Forster, Haugeland, and Pippin, plus a number of other faculty [e.g., Lear and Nussbaum] with sympathetic interests in particular figures or movements), but any serious student should also be looking at Columbia University (Carman and Neuhouser), Stanford University (Anderson, Follesdal [part-time], Friedman, Hills, Hussain, and Wood are all working primarily or partially on figures or movements in post-Kantian German philosophy), Syracuse University (Baynes and Beiser, among others), the University of California at Riverside (Keller, Warnke, and Wrathall, among others), and the University of Notre Dame (Ameriks, Gutting, and Rush, among others). Northwestern (Habermas [part-time], LaFont, Taylor [part-time], and Zuckert, among others) is also still worth considering, as are Brown University (Larmore and Reginster) and Georgetown University (Blattner and Pinkard, among others).
New York University has two very good senior scholars (Longuenesse and Richardson), but students will want to consider whether the overall philosophical environment is hospitable for their interests in Continental philosophy. Prospective students should talk to current students to find out. The situation at Texas is, I'm afraid, a bit up in the air; certainly Kathleen Higgins and I would continue to welcome students interested in 19th-century German philosophy. The tragic death of Bob Solomon makes Texas quite a bit less viable for those with 20th-century Continental interests. Whether we replace Solomon this year and whether I remain will obviously affect the viability of UT Austin for students interested in post-Kantian Continental traditions.
In Britain, the best bets are probably the Universities of Essex, Southampton (at least for Schopenhauer and Nietzsche), and Warwick--perhaps also Sussex. Unfortunately, with the exception of Warwick, these tend not to be very strong philosophy departments overall, though they have cultivated niches of excellence in the Continental traditions. Among the very top U.K. departments, one would be well-advised to look at Cambridge University (though Raymond Geuss will be running up against the mandatory U.K. retirement age in a few years), University College London (Sebastian Gardner and Sarah Richmond--plus Jonathan Wolff works on Marx), and perhaps still Oxford University (Michael Inwood and Stephen Mulhall are still active, though G.A. Cohen is about to hit mandatory retirement [and Inwood is only a few years away], and Michael Rosen has left).
In Canada, University of Toronto is the best choice (Paul Franks being the primary attraction), and in Australasia, the University of Auckland (Wicks and Young, among others) clearly dominates.
I should reiterate that students ought to consult the specialty rankings, especially if they have well-focused interests already. And all these recommendations are for philosophically-minded students. There are obviously many other kinds of students interested in post-Kantian figures who may be less likely to find these departments congenial.
UPDATE: A couple of readers pointed out, correctly, that the University of Sheffield should really be on the list of strong UK departments that might be viable for students interested in Continental philosophy. Robert Stern has done very good work on Kant and Hegel, and Robert Hopkins, best-known for important work in aesthetics, also has interests in Nietzsche. One reader familiar with the British philosophical scene also offered the following pertinent observation about Cambridge:
Raymond Geuss is certainly a wonderful supervisor with an excellent record of developing Ph.D. students but, now that Edward Craig has retired, he appears to be the only person in the Cambridge Department with interests in Continental Philosophy and any student would be well advised to enquire how sympathetic the atmosphere there would be for someone working in that area.