Philosopher David Estlund (Brown) writes:
I've heard from some people that in the current market it's a significant advantage to have your PhD defended before the APA meetings in December. Traditionally, this would have meant being in your second round of applications. But candidates might feel pressure to finish up a semester early in their first round. I just don't know if there's any basis for the empirical claim. I can't see that making a significant difference to me if I were on a search committee, but that's a very small sample. This is just one way in which the market pressure is changing conventional wisdom, but there's a danger that some of the change is based more on conjecture and anxiety than on evidence. What do you think?
I am inclined to agree with David. Letters of reference typically discuss how far along the candidate is. To be sure, if someone has been in graduate school for eight or more years, then a set defense date is a good thing, but otherwise I would think it doesn't matter. What do others think? Signed comments strongly preferred, especially from faculty.