Andrew Szeri, Dean

The National Research Council’s Data Based Assessment of Research Doctorate Programs has been released. Berkeley did very well in the assessment, with illustrative rankings that put many of our programs at or near the top.

You can get the full release from the NRC website, but much more convenient is the version available at the PhDs.Org website where you can find a highly accessible front end allowing for point-by-point comparison of individual programs.

There were some definite shortcomings to the approach taken by the NRC which should be mentioned. First, the unit of analysis by the NRC was the Ph.D. program, not the Berkeley department or school. Hence, MCB was split five ways, Public Health four ways and EECS two ways. (Nevertheless, the split programs did very well for the most part.) Second, although they collected information on published research papers and citations by faculty members, they only collected data on books in the Humanities (including History), and they only collected publications in refereed conference proceedings in Computer Sciences. That means, for example, book-based social sciences were at a disadvantage. (But of course, programs were ranked only within their field, so the advantage or disadvantage tends to be shared by the programs in the same field.)

In any case, ranking such as these are by no means determinative about the quality of the graduate education you receive. That depends on your own initiative, resourcefulness and energy, on the mentoring and support you receive from the faculty and from the institution.

Finally, I urge you to be charitable when comparing your program’s rankings with those of your friends at other institutions.

Best,

Andrew J. Szeri

Andrew J. Szeri
Dean of the Graduate Division


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