MIT doctoral programs lead national peer review rankings


In the first comprehensive peer review rankings of doctoral programs since 1982, MIT graduate programs led the nation, placing first, second or third in quality of faculty and effectiveness of teaching.

The universities with the highest totals of top three rankings in the two categories for the 41 fields studied by the National Research Council were: MIT 34, University of California Berkeley 27, Princeton 19, Stanford 18, Harvard 18, Yale 17, Chicago 14, Michigan 10, Caltech 10, UC San Francisco 7, Cornell 7, Duke 6, Columbia 5, Minnesota 4, Wisconsin 4, Johns Hopkins 3, and Illinois (Champaign-Urbana) 3.

MIT's sweep was achieved even though it has doctoral programs in only 23 of the 41 subjects examined. Among MIT's competitors in these 23 fields in the humanities, engineering and the sciences, the "Top 3" honors were MIT 34, UC Berkeley 16, Stanford 13, Harvard 11, Caltech 10, Princeton 9, UC San Francisco 7, UC San Diego 6, Yale 5, Chicago 3, University of Washington 3, and University of Pittsburgh 3 (see table).

MIT Provost Joel Moses expressed delight with the "absolutely outstanding" results. "We did well in all the departments in which we were ranked. To be first, second or third 34 out of 46 times is just remarkable!"

He noted that some of the rankings were very close, with a first, second or third place determined occasionally by only 1/100 of a point on the 5-point scale used by the National Research Council (NRC) in its 740-page analysis of 3,634 doctoral programs in 41 fields at 274 American universities.

"The rankings, therefore, need to be taken with a grain of salt," Professor Moses said. "But they do show a pattern, and the pattern in our case is very clear: We don't do everything. But what we do, we do very well."

Sixteen MIT doctoral programs were ranked 1, 2 or 3 in both "scholarly quality of program faculty" and "program effectiveness in educating research scholars and scientists." Eighteen MIT programs were in the top three in at least one of these categories.

MIT was number one in both categories in both civil engineering and materials science. It was first in either faculty quality or teaching effectiveness in seven other programs: cellular and developmental biology, molecular and general genetics, biomedical engineering, computer science, oceanography, economics, and linguistics.

In all the fields, Yale had 12 firsts, compared to MIT with 11; Stanford, 11; Berkeley, 9; Harvard, 8; Caltech, 8; Chicago, 6; Princeton, 5; UC San Diego, 3; Michigan, 3; and UC San Francisco, 3.The study said 11 percent of the 3,634 programs were rated as "distinguished" in the quality of their faculty; 62 percent were rated "distinguished, strong or good;" 19 percent were considered adequate; 16 percent marginal; and 3 percent were considered "not sufficient."

The editors suggested that the data in the book, "Research-Doctorate Programs in the United States," may be useful to institutional administrators in allocating resources.

The book is available from the National Academy Press (1-800-624-6242) for $59.95 plus shipping charges. The Executive Summary can also be read on the World Wide Web at but the site is limited to 100 simultaneous connections and you may get the busy signal, "user anonymous access denied." Selected appendices may be downloaded only with Microsoft Excel 5.0.

The National Research Council, the principal operating agency of the National Academy of Science and the National Academy of Engineering, is a private nonprofit organization that provides science and technology advice under a Congressional charter.

The NRC spent four years developing the book, which was based on data from 1992 and reputation assessments in 1993. The project involved analyzing surveys from 8,000 faculty at 274 institutions (105 private and 169 public). From 1986 to 1992, these institutions awarded 143,000 doctorates, 90 percent of the total. The NRC independently collected data from institutions on time required for PhD completion, research funding, number of faculty, number of awards and honors, and demographic statistics.

Rankings of MIT, Harvard and Other Top Schools in NRC Study:

Table shows rank by "scholarly quality of program faculty" (first column) and "program effectivenesss in educating research scholars and scientists" (second column) in the doctoral progams in which MIT was ranked. MIT was ranked 1,2 or 3 in either of the two categories 34 times in these subjects. MIT's nearest competitor in this regard was UC Berkeley, with 16 in the top 3; next was Stanford, 13; Harvard 11; and Cal Tech 10. Harvard's rank is also included in courses where it competes with MIT. Note: Harvard's ranking is not given in fields in which it does not offer a doctoral program

AEROSPACE ENGINEERING
CalTech 1 1
MIT 2 2
Stanford 3 3

BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING
MIT 1 2
UCSD 2 1
U Wash. 3 6
J. Hopkins 6 3

CHEMICAL ENGINEERING
U. Minn. 1 1
MIT 2 2*
UC Berk. 3 2*

CIVIL ENGINEERING
MIT 1 1
UC Berk. 2 6
Caltech 7 2
Stanford 3 3

ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING
Stanford 1 1
MIT 2 2
U.IL/Urbana3 3

MECHANICAL ENGINEERING
Stanford 1 1*
MIT 2 3
UC Berk. 3 1*

ASTROPHYSICS/ ASTRONOMY
Caltech 1 1
Princeton 2 3
UC Berk. 3 2
Harvard 4 6
MIT 8 9

BIOCHEMISTRY AND MOLECULAR BIOL.
UCSF 1 1
MIT 2* 2
UCBerk. 4 3
Stanford 2* 4
Harvard 5 5

CELL/DEVELOPMT'L BIOLOGY
MIT 1 2
Rockefeller 2 4
UCSF 3 3
Caltech 4 1
Harvard 5 7

CHEMISTRY
UC Berk. 1 2
Caltech 2 1
MIT 5 3
Stanford 3* 4*
Harvard 3* 4*

COMPUTER SCIENCE
Stanford 1 2
MIT 2 1
UC Berk. 3 3
Harvard 11 17*

MOLECULAR AND GENERAL GENETICS
MIT 1 2
UCSF 2 1
Harvard 3 3

GEOSCIENCES
CalTech 1 1
MIT 2 2
UC Berk. 3 4
Columbia 4 3
Harvard 8 14

MATERIALS SCIENCE
MIT 1 1
N'west'n 2 4*
Cornell 3 3
U. Mass. 7 2

MATHEMATICS
Princeton 1* 1
UC Berk. 1* 6
MIT 3 4
Harvard 4 3
U. Chicago 5 2

NEUROSCIENCES
UCSD 1 2
Yale 2 4
Harvard 3 6*
UCSF 4 3
Stanford 5 1
MIT 14 14

OCEANOGRAPHY
UCSD 1 2
MIT 2 1
U. Wash. 3 3

PHARMACOLOGY
Yale 1 1
UTxSW Med2 5
UCSD 3 13
J. Hopkins 4 2
Vanderbilt 6 3
Harvard 7 9
MIT 11 23

PHYSICS
Harvard 1 1
Princeton 2 2
MIT 3* 3
UC Berk. 3 7

PHILOSOPHY
Princeton 1 1
U. Pitt. 2 2, 3
Harvard 3 9
MIT 10 7

POLITICAL SCIENCE
Harvard 1 3
UC Berk. 2 4
Yale 3* 2
U. Mich. 3* 1
MIT 12 11

ECONOMICS
U. Chicago 1* 3
Harvard 1* 5
MIT 3 1
Princeton 5 2

LINGUISTICS
MIT 1 2
Stanford 2 4
UCLA 3 3
U. Mass 4 1
Harvard 21 17

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Ranking Totals, All Programs

First column: Total of 1's, 2's and 3's (faculty quality)
Second column: Total of 1's, 2's and 3's (program effectiveness)
Third column: Combined tally

MIT 17 17 34
UC Berk. 20 7 27
Princeton 8 11 19
Stanford 10 8 18
Harvard 11 7 18
Yale 9 8 17
U. Chicago 6 8 14
U. Michigan 4 6 10
Caltech 4 6 10
UC SD 5 3 8


Topics: Administration, Awards, honors and fellowships

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