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The following are answers to some of the most-asked questions about APA meetings. If you have a question you’d like answered here, send your question to

APA meetings are run largely by volunteers (such as the program committee) and divisions are governed by their affiliated members. If you wish to see changes in the APA’s practices, we encourage you to volunteer or participate in a divisional business meeting (held at each APA meeting).

Download the Guide for APA Meeting Participants (PDF)

For information on the 2020 meetings, see the following pages:


FAQ Sections

Meeting Dates

Can the Central Division meeting dates be changed to avoid winter weather problems?

The Central Division continues to explore alternative meeting dates, but has thus far found that other times of year are significantly more expensive for meeting participants than its current dates. In order to make the meeting as affordable as possible, the division will continue meeting in mid-winter for at least the next few years.

The Pacific Division meeting often conflicts with Easter and Passover. Why does the division hold its meeting at this time, which can be difficult for those with religious observances?

The principal mission of the division is to provide a venue where philosophers can share their work, and the accessibility of the meeting to all APA constituencies is the paramount consideration in selecting dates. Unfortunately however, the APA is rarely able to compete with corporate business for hotel contracts on most dates. Nevertheless, we continue to seek dates for non-holiday meetings.

Meanwhile, program chairs make every effort to meet requests to schedule sessions to accommodate those with religious commitments and they are normally able to do so, with the exception of refereed papers. The division is unable to accept scheduling requests for refereed papers given the size and complexity of the program.

Can APA meetings avoid weekday sessions and focus on weekends to accommodate teachers' and students’ schedules?

To accommodate the high demand for sessions at each APA meeting, the divisions must use every time slot and inch of meeting space available, so it is unfortunately not possible to limit meeting sessions to weekends.

Meeting Locations and Hotels

How does the APA choose cities for meetings?

Few cities have hotels with enough space to accommodate APA meetings. Sites are selected based on the quantity and quality of meeting space, cost, local amenities and attractions, and the availability of airport connections. Surveys are used periodically to assess members’ preferences on meeting locations.

In addition, the APA strongly prefers only unionized hotels and avoids jurisdictions where there are policies in place that members are likely to find objectionable.

Why are meetings sometimes split between two hotels? This makes sessions in one hotel difficult to get to from the other hotel.

While we do our best to avoid splitting meeting session locations across hotels, occasionally even the large hotels selected for APA meetings do not have enough space to accommodate all the meeting sessions and activities planned. In those cases, the APA works with a nearby hotel or university to obtain additional meeting space. These secondary venues are normally within one block of the main meeting hotel so as to make it as easy as possible for attendees to move between sessions.

Why would a meeting be scheduled at a hotel that was under construction?

APA meetings are scheduled years in advance, so there is usually no way to know when we’re signing a meeting contract whether there will be construction at the time the meeting is held. As soon as we learn that a hotel will be under construction while the APA is meeting there, we work closely with the hotel to minimize the construction’s impact on our meeting and, whenever possible, make up for the inconvenience to attendees with additional benefits and offerings, such as free coffee or in-room wireless internet access. We also inform attendees about construction and any impact we expect it to have on the meeting on the meeting page on our website.

Where do I find information on the area surrounding the meeting hotel?

The APA normally posts a list of nearby restaurants and attractions on the meeting page. In addition, the concierge at the meeting hotel can provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date information for the surrounding areas. You can call the hotel directly in advance of the meeting or stop by the desk during your stay.

Staying at the meeting hotel(s) is expensive. Why doesn’t the APA offer better rates on hotel rooms?

Our meetings require substantial amounts of meeting space and the hotels that have this kind of space are generally mid-priced. We negotiate the largest discounts possible off of standard rates, sometimes of more than $100 per night.

Why does the APA hold meetings at hotels instead of universities?

APA meetings are quite large and require more meeting space and hotel rooms than universities can normally make available.


Do all attendees have to register for the meeting? Why?

Yes, all those attending sessions, including invited speakers, commentators, and session chairs, are required to register. Registration fees provide the major source of funding for divisional meetings and divisional activities and also support association-wide initiatives.

Why is meeting registration so expensive?

The APA keeps its meeting registration fees as low as possible, and they are in fact much lower than many other learned societies.

For comparison, below are the 2020 Eastern Division meeting's registration fees as compared to other learned societies’ and professional associations’ 2019 - 2020 meetings:

Advance (On-Site/Regular) Registration Fees
Association Member Non-Member Student Member
American Philosophical Association $120
American Academy of Religion $180
American Association of Philosophy Teachers No data available for 2019.
2020 registration fees are not posted yet.
American Historical Association $183
American Political Science Association $240
Linguistic Society of America $265
Modern Language Association $190

I’m unemployed or underemployed and can’t afford meeting registration. Can I get a registration discount?

APA members who are unemployed or underemployed, including retirees on fixed incomes, may be eligible to receive a partial registration fee waiver. To obtain a waiver, you must fill out the Partial Fee Waiver form. You will be required to submit a letter attesting to your un(der)employed status. Waivers are only available for advance registration; no waivers will be granted after the deadline for advance registration rates (normally two weeks before a meeting).

I’m a presenter/speaker at the meeting. Do I need to register?

Yes, all attendees, including invited speakers and presenters, must register for APA meetings.

I do not plan to stay for the entire length of the meeting. Do you offer a one-day registration fee?

No. The meeting registration fee is the same no matter how many days you attend. 

I registered for the meeting but cannot attend. Can I get a refund?

The APA has a no-refund policy. This policy was adopted by all three divisions because of the administrative burden on the APA to issue the large numbers of refunds that were regularly requested prior to the policy's implementation. Rather than providing refunds, we allow attendees to register at the advance registration rates until shortly before the meeting begins, and we encourage anyone with concerns about being able to attend to take advantage of this.

My spouse/family member wants to attend the session in which I’m presenting. S/he isn’t a philosopher and only wants to attend that one session. Does s/he need to register for the meeting?

Program participants’ non-philosopher spouses and family members who wish to attend only the session(s) at which their spouse or family member is a speaker or presenter are eligible for single-session registration at no charge. The registered program participant must bring the spouse/family member to the registration desk to request a guest pass for that specific session.

Program participants’ non-philosopher spouses and family members who wish to attend any sessions other than those at which their spouse or family member is a speaker or presenter are required to register for the meeting at the appropriate APA member or non-member rate.

I would like my spouse/family member to join me at the evening reception(s). Is this possible?

Yes, guests may attend receptions if accompanied by a registered meeting participant.

I have a group of students (high school or undergraduate) who want to attend the conference. How does that work? 

Contact the appropriate division as described below at least two weeks in advance of the meeting.

For the Eastern Division meeting, special arrangements for student groups may be made by filling out the K-12/Undergraduate form.

For the Central Division meeting, local undergraduate and high school students may register for free. To get this special registration, please fill out the K-12/Undergraduate Student Form.

For the Pacific Division meeting, a fund is available to defray registration costs for needy students.  Fill out the K-12/Undergraduate Form.

How can I get a copy of the receipt for my meeting registration?

You will receive a receipt by email upon completing your registration. If you cannot locate that email, see below.

If you are an APA member, sign in to your member profile on the APA website, then click “Manage Profile” on the right side of the screen. Under “Invoicing, Payments & History,” click on “Invoices.” Make sure the “Store & Events” tab is highlighted and then filter by “Shipped/Closed.” Click on the icon to view or print the invoice.

If you are not an APA member, fill out the Registration Receipt Form to obtain a copy of your meeting registration receipt. 

Why do I need to wear my name badge?

Registration fees cover the costs of putting on the meeting, and as such, only those who have registered are permitted to attend meeting events.

Your name badge is your proof of registration, and we require that you wear it whenever attending a meeting session or event. If you are not wearing a name badge during a meeting session or event, you may be asked to put it on or otherwise present proof of registration; if you do not, you will be asked to leave immediately.

I misplaced my program/name badge. Can I get a replacement?

Replacement programs and name badges are available at the registration desk. There is a $5 fee for a replacement badge or program. 

Meeting Sessions and Events

Why aren’t the session locations available before the meeting?

Meeting sessions are open only to registered attendees. Because the online program available in advance of the meeting is publicly accessible, it does not include session locations. Hard copy meeting programs, which include all session locations, will be available at the registration desk for attendees who purchased a program when they registered online, as well as for those who register at the meeting. Those who register online and opt out of the hard copy program will have the option of purchasing one at the meeting for $5. Session locations are available in our meeting app beginning on the first day of the meeting.

I have a session at the same time that registration opens. How can I find out where it is?

The locations of any meeting sessions scheduled at or prior to the opening of registration are posted on signage in the registration area.

If you register for the meeting online, you will receive an email providing information about accessing our new, branded APA Philosophy Meetings app for smartphones (available in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store). Session locations are available in the app beginning on the first day of the meeting.

Abstracts used to be printed in the program, but now they aren’t. Where can I find them?

Abstracts of presented papers are now available online and in the mobile meeting app. You will find a link to the abstracts on the meeting page on the APA website.

I see that there are “Divisional Program” sessions and “Affiliated Group Program” sessions. What’s the difference?

All events on the Divisional Program (formerly known as the Main Program) are organized by the APA through the meeting’s program committee or other APA committees. Sessions on the Affiliated Group Program (formerly known as the Group Program) are organized by groups and societies affiliated with the APA and those groups and societies have sole responsibility for the content of those sessions.

What is the difference between a symposium and a colloquium?

At APA meetings, a colloquium consists of three (or sometimes two) submitted papers, each presented in a one-hour session with a commentator. Symposia can be invited or submitted. A typical invited symposium is a three-hour session featuring two longer papers with a single commentator or one longer paper with two commentators, though other formats may occur. Submitted symposia are normally two-hour sessions consisting of a single submitted paper (about twice the length of a colloquium paper) and one or two commentators.

How can I find all of the sessions on a particular topic?

At the moment, we don’t index meeting sessions based on topic. However, we are currently exploring ways to make this kind of index available in the future.

Why are sessions of similar interest sometimes scheduled at overlapping or conflicting times?

While we make every effort to avoid such conflicts, it is often impossible to do so. Sessions are scheduled to accommodate special scheduling requests from program participants while also trying to minimize conflicts and make the best use of available meeting space. Unfortunately, some conflicts are inevitable.

What are my duties as session chair?

As session chair, you are responsible for guiding the session speakers, keeping time, and facilitating the question and answer portion. Prior to the meeting, chairs of sessions on the main program normally receive messages from the secretary-treasurer of the division hosting the meeting with additional details and instructions.

Pacific Division meeting participants should refer to that division’s Instructions for Program Participants.

I’m not able to attend the meeting, but I’d like to get a copy of the program. How can I do this?

A PDF version of the meeting program is available on our website for free. To purchase a printed copy of the program, after the meeting, go to the division’s page on the APA website. Under “Recent Meetings,” you will find a link to purchase a print copy of the program.

Meeting sessions often go late into the evening. Why is this?

There is great demand for sessions at APA meetings. In order to accommodate as many sessions as possible, some sessions must be scheduled during evening hours.

My group/society would like to host sessions at APA meetings. How do we do this?

To host sessions at an APA meeting, a group/society must hold affiliated group status with the APA. To apply for affiliated group status and for more information, see our page on Affiliated Groups.

What is the purpose of the receptions?

Receptions, which are sometimes informally known as “smokers” (dating back to the years when smoking was permitted in the reception hall), are an opportunity for attendees to network and socialize. They offer opportunities to catch up with current and former colleagues, get to know others in the profession, and have some informal downtime after a long day of doing philosophy. Most APA meetings have two large evening receptions, one on each of the busiest days of the meeting.

In addition, other small receptions occur throughout the meeting. For example, the Divisions now include the annual prize reception honoring winners of APA prizes.

Why aren’t there more/longer breaks between sessions?

The meeting schedules are designed to maximize opportunities for members to present their work. The APA’s first priority is to include as many scholars in the meeting as possible, and scheduling additional or longer breaks would mean reducing the number of participants on the program.

Will coffee and tea be served throughout the meeting?

Usually not. Water stations are available throughout the meeting, however, and occasionally coffee and tea breaks are provided by meeting sponsors. We also suggest patronizing the coffee shops and snack bars in and around the meeting hotel.

Internet and AV

AV Information Center

For detailed information on audiovisual equipment usage including fees, adapters, and deadlines, please see our AV Information Center.

It is important review this information in advance of your session.

AV Request Deadlines

All AV requests must be made on or before the deadline listed below (and on your division’s meeting page). AV requests made after the deadline will not be honored.

  • Eastern: October 31
  • Central: December 19
  • Pacific: January 31

New in 2020: AV Copays

Providing AV support is one of the largest costs of any APA divisional meeting, costing at least $150 per session and sometimes significantly more. To help address the rising costs of AV support and keep registration rates as low as possible, beginning in 2020, participants in divisional program sessions at the Central and Pacific Division meetings will be responsible for a $10 copay when requesting AV support for their sessions.

We encourage those who do not wish to pay the AV copay to consider alternatives to slide presentations.
 In particular, we offer participants the option to submit a handout or slide deck for inclusion in the APA meeting mobile app for smartphones. Session participants will be emailed before the meeting with instructions.

If you have any questions regarding handouts, please email our Deputy Director at

Beginning with the 2020 APA divisional meetings, affiliated groups must pay the $150 per session AV fee in advance. 

AV Refunds

For individual participants in divisional program sessions: If your session is canceled or you will no longer be able to attend the meeting, you are eligible for a refund of the $10 AV copay. Refunds are available until the deadline listed below.*

For affiliated groups: If your group cancels its session, the group is eligible for a refund of the $150 per session AV fee. Refunds are available only until the deadline listed below.

Division Date
Eastern October 31
Central December 20
Pacific January 31

We are unable to provide refunds for registration fees or AV copays after these dates. 

*There are no individual participant AV copays for the 2020 Eastern Division meeting.

How can I find out if my session will have AV?

You may view a list of sessions with audiovisual equipment here: Sessions with Audiovisual Equipment

Sessions with AV are posted a few weeks prior to the meeting.

How do I request AV?

AV request forms are located on each divisional meeting page. Select your meeting and complete the form.

Meetings > Upcoming Meetings > Select Your Meeting

Please follow all instructions on the form before completing it.

Who can submit a request for AV?

Session Type Requester
Divisional Program Session Any Participant
APA Committee Session Committee Chair
Affiliated Group Session Primary Group contact


Can the APA provide a laptop for a session?

Presenters must bring their own laptops. We do not have laptops available for rental.

Can I request a microphone setup for my session?

Yes, but availability depends on the meeting hotel. There may be also an additional charge for this. Use the AV request form to submit a request for a microphone, and the APA meeting staff will contact you if there is any issue.

Can I request Internet access for my session?

Yes, but keep in mind that internet connections can be very expensive—hundreds of dollars for a single connection. We do not normally provide Internet connections for divisional program sessions, though you can contact the secretary-treasurer of the division to inquire about a special exception. If you wish to request an internet connection for your group or committee session, you will be responsible for the additional cost.

Can I request audio speakers for my session?

Yes, we can provide basic computer speakers if included in the original AV request for your session. If you need to connect to the room’s speaker system (if it has one), that requires special arrangements and may incur additional charges. The APA covers these charges for divisional program sessions, but groups and committees are responsible for these charges for their sessions.

Can an AV support staff member stay through my session in case of any problems?

Due to the limited number of staff and the number of sessions going on at a given time, AV support staff are unable to stay through entire sessions. If you encounter a technical problem during your session, contact any of the support numbers provided, and an APA AV support staff member will respond as quickly as possible.

One of the presenters in my session can’t make it to the meeting. Can we use a video call instead?

The APA only permits remote participation as an accessibility accommodation for participants with disabilities preventing them from attending the meeting in person and for participants affected by the executive order on immigration.

Program participants who are unable to attend the meeting are encouraged to have a substitute present their paper in their absence.

AV for Accessibility Accommodations

The APA covers costs of AV needed to allow those with disabilities to participate fully in APA meetings. Those needing accessibility accommodations should contact the appropriate divisional secretary-treasurer:

Eastern: Jeff Dunn,

Central: Elyse Purcell,

Pacific: Becko Copenhaver,

Please put in your request by the AV deadline for that division.

Options for Participants Affected by the Executive Order on Immigration

If you are a meeting participant that is affected by the executive order on immigration, please contact the appropriate divisional secretary-treasurer to make arrangements:

Eastern: Jeff Dunn,

Central: Elyse Purcell,

Pacific: Becko Copenhaver,

Please put in your request by the AV deadline for that division.

Will free Wi-Fi be available throughout the meeting?

Unfortunately, due to the extremely high costs of providing internet access in meeting hotels (often in the tens of thousands of dollars), we are not always able to provide internet access for meeting attendees. We are sometimes able to negotiate with hotels to obtain basic wifi access, at least for those attendees staying in the meeting hotel. However, the costs for providing high-speed internet access, such as that required for streaming video, is not normally feasible. Please plan accordingly.

In the interest of keeping meeting registration fees as low as possible, the APA does not normally provide wireless internet access in meeting rooms

Placement and the Job Market

What happened to the placement service?

The APA's placement service at divisional meetings provided the opportunity for hiring departments or committees to conduct many brief interviews in a short time span, at a central location. In recent years, demand for the placement service dwindled to the point that it no longer made sense to offer the service. Hiring committees or departments may still conduct interviews at the APA meeting hotel, but the APA no longer serves the organizational and intermediary role that the placement service used to serve. 

Does the APA have rules about informal job interviews or interviews conducted in hotel rooms?

The APA prohibits interviewing in sleeping rooms. See the APA statement on interviewing in hotel rooms.

The APA does not have a formal policy regarding informal interviews, but cautions hiring departments that any interactions that are or may be perceived as informal interviews must be consistent with fair and equitable hiring procedures and professional conduct requirements.

See also our document on Interviewing Best Practices.

Paper Submissions and Selection

When are paper submissions due?

Submission deadlines vary by division. Please check the paper submission guidelines webpage for each division.

  • Central Division: Submissions are normally open from May 1 through June 1.
  • Pacific Division: Submissions are normally open from August 1 through September 1.
  • Eastern Division: Submissions are normally open from January 17 through February 17.

How are papers selected for the program?

Each division uses an anonymous process to review submitted papers. All identifying information must be removed from submissions. More information is available on the general submissions guidelines page.

How do I suggest a panel or session?

Each division has its own process for handling such suggestions. More information is available at the following links:


How many people normally attend APA meetings?

The average attendance for the divisional meetings over the last five years is as follows:

  • Eastern Division: 1,462 attendees
  • Pacific Division: 1,337 attendees
  • Central Division: 860 attendees

Are there any volunteer opportunities for the divisional meetings?

The APA offers a range of volunteer opportunities at each of the divisional meetings. Volunteers receive free registration for the entire conference, but volunteer positions are limited and assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. A volunteer sign-up form (with shift preferences) is posted on the meeting page approximately 8–10 weeks prior to each meeting.

I am a person with a disability. How do I request an accessibility accommodation?

In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, the association and the division provide reasonable accommodations to registered participants in annual divisional meetings. The assessment of reasonable accommodations is based on the limitations manifested by a particular disability and may differ for each participant. The participant must request accommodations and disclose his or her disability before any accommodation can be implemented. All accommodations provided are based upon individual needs as reflected in documentation or information related to the participant's disability or functional limitations. Further documentation may be required to substantiate a request for accommodations. The association and the divisions hold accommodation requests and supporting documents confidential.

All requests must be made in writing to the executive director of the association and the secretary-treasurer of the relevant division at least one month in advance of the meeting.

Email requests are sufficient for the Eastern and Central Divisions. The Pacific Division specifically requires the submission of its Accommodation Request Form: PDF | DOC

To request an accessibility accommodation, contact the following:

For more information, advice, assistance, and complaints concerning accessibility, contact the following:

I need childcare while at the meeting. Does the APA provide on-site childcare?

The APA is unable to provide on-site childcare, but we will be happy to provide information about local childcare options.

The divisions also provide child and dependent care subsidies. Subsidies are available to offset the costs of care to enable the participant to attend the meeting, regardless of whether the child/dependent is present at the meeting location. Funding is limited and is provided on a sliding scale based on need and availability of funds.

Contact the secretary-treasurer of the relevant meeting for more information:

I had a problem at the meeting and would like to file a complaint. How do I do this?

If you had an issue with the meeting in general or with a session or event on the divisional program, contact the secretary-treasurer of the division hosting the meeting and/or the executive director.

If you had an issue with a session or event on the group program, contact the group that arranged the session or event. If the group does not satisfactorily address your issue, contact the secretary-treasurer of the division hosting the meeting or the executive director.

If you experienced discrimination, including sexual harassment, at the meeting, contact the APA’s ombudsperson concerning discrimination and sexual harassment: Laurie Shrage,

Where do I pick up my graduate student stipend?

Graduate students whose papers are selected for the meeting program through the standard anonymous review process qualify for a stipend (so long as they provide the required documentation of student status at the time of paper submission).

If there is a prize reception at the meeting (check the program), you should attend the prize reception, where you will be presented with your stipend. If you are unable to attend the prize reception, you may pick it up at the APA registration desk during registration hours anytime after the prize reception.

Will there be a mobile app containing session information and other meeting details?

Yes. Meeting registrants receive information about the mobile app, including an email invitation to access the app for that meeting, via email prior to the meeting.

I need to locate a specific person at the meeting. Is this possible?

You may leave a message for a meeting registrant at the registration desk, or you may post a notice on the bulletin board in the registration area. If the person you are attempting to locate is staying at the meeting hotel, you may also ask to leave a message for that person with the hotel’s front desk.

Is there space available where can I put my bags for a few hours before checking in to the hotel or after checking out?

Most meeting hotels will be happy to store luggage for guests; contact the front desk to request this service. The APA does not provide luggage storage and is not responsible for luggage left in meeting spaces.

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