Cal Tech, Mudd, Swarthmore...and The New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology? Where to Start for a Ph.D.

If you want to earn a Ph.D., should you start in a university with Ph.D. program?

Maybe not.

The National Science Foundation and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System ranked colleges by the estimated percentage of graduates who earned Ph.D. degrees between 2001 and 2010. The rankings are published on Reed College’s web page, Doctoral Degree Productivity.

 

Top Ten Undergraduate Colleges and Universities

Percentage Ranking of Doctorates Conferred Upon Graduates of Listed Institutions by Academic Field

All Disciplines

  1. California Institute of Technology

  2. Harvey Mudd College

  3. Swarthmore College

  4. Reed College

  5. Carleton College

  6. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  7. Grinnell College

  8. Princeton University

  9. Harvard University

  10. Oberlin College

 

Science and Math

  1. California Institute of Technology

  2. Harvey Mudd College

  3. Reed College

  4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  5. New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology

  6. Carleton College

  7. Wabash College

  8. Rice University

  9. University of Chicago

  10. Grinnell College

 

Social Sciences

  1. Swarthmore College

  2. Grinnell College

  3. Reed College

  4. Bryn Mawr College

  5. Spelman College

  6. Oberlin College

  7. Wesleyan College

  8. St. Joseph Seminary

  9. Harvard University

  10. Pomona College

 

Humanities

  1. New England Conservatory of Music

  2. Curtis Institute of Music

  3. Julliard School

  4. Cleveland Institute of Music

  5. St. John’s College

  6. Reed College

  7. Hellenic College - Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology

  8. Swarthmore College

  9. Oberlin College

  10. Amherst College

 

Percentage Rankings by Specific Fields of Study

Life Sciences

  1. California Institute of Technology

  2. Reed College

  3. Swarthmore College

  4. Carleton College

  5. Grinnell College

  6. Harvey Mudd College

  7. University of Chicago

  8. Haverford College

  9. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  10. Earlham College

 

Physical Sciences

  1. California Institute of Technology

  2. Harvey Mudd College

  3. Reed College

  4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  5. New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology

  6. Carleton College

  7. Wabash College

  8. Rice University

  9. University of Chicago

  10. Grinnell College

 

Psychology

  1. University of Puerto Rico - Aguadilla

  2. Wellesley College

  3. Vassar College

  4. Hendrix College

  5. Pontifical College Josephinum

  6. Grinnell College

  7. Swarthmore College

  8. Barnard College

  9. St. Joseph Seminary College

  10. Pomona College

 

Other Social Sciences

  1. Swarthmore College

  2. Reed College

  3. Harvard University

  4. Grinnell College

  5. University of Chicago

  6. Bryn Mawr College

  7. Thomas More College of Liberal Arts

  8. Oberlin College

  9. Bard College at Simon’s Rock

  10. Wesleyan College

 

Humanities

  1. St. John’s College, Maryland

  2. Reed College

  3. Amherst College

  4. Swarthmore College

  5. Carleton College

  6. Yale University

  7. Thomas More College of Liberal Arts

  8. Bryn Mawr College

  9. St. John’s College, New Mexico

  10. Wesleyan College

 

Here are a few thoughts that come to mind when I think about ten of these schools.

 

Bryn Mawr College

  • Archeology
  • Art History
  • Classics
  • Foreign Languages
  • Growth and Structure of Cities
  • Mathematics
  • Physics

Bryn Mawr is small but mighty. It has a long tradition of academic excellence, beginning with its founding as an all women’s college with the highest academic standards among the Seven Sister Schools. With Bio-Co, Tri-Co and Penn relationships, Bryn Mawr can offer exceptional resources beyond its campus.

    

California Institute of Technology

  • Applied Sciences
  • Engineering
  • Physics

I always think Cal Tech’s Medical Sciences are overlooked. As President of Cal Tech for seven years, David Baltimore, who won a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, added an important new science focus.

 

Carleton College

  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Economics
  • English
  • History
  • Mathematics
  • Psychology
  • Physics

Carleton has an exceptional record in the past ten year of alumni winning National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships. Carleton’s 2011 winners concentrated as undergraduates in mathematics (3), biology (3), chemistry (2), sociology/anthropology (2), psychology (1) and geology/environmental sciences (1).

 

University of Chicago

  • Anthropology
  • Economics
  • English
  • Geography
  • History
  • Linguistics
  • Political Science
  • Sociology

I’ve always respected the University of Chicago’s Economics Department. Steven D. Levitt,Ph.D., Alvin H. Baum Professor and Directory of the Initiative on Chicago Price Theory, is the author of Freakonomics and SuperFreakonomics.

 

Harvey Mudd

  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Engineering
  • Mathematics

Although Harvey Mudd is an internationally ranked technology school, it is often said to be a liberal arts school offering only science, technology, engineering and math degrees. But that is not entirely true: Mudd requires students to take one third of their coursework in the Humanities, Social Sciences and the Arts (HSA), and double majors combining technology and HSA departments are possible.

 

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  • Computer Science
  • Engineering
  • Management Science
  • Natural Sciences

Initially resistant to students dropping out, MIT is becoming a leading feeder school for the Thiel Fellowship. Thiel Fellows leave college for two years to learn through entrepreneurship. 

 

Oberlin College and Conservatory

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Creative Writing
  • East Asian Studies
  • Environmental Studies
  • Music
  • Neuroscience
  • Politics

Oberlin’s Music Conservatory and the College of Arts and Sciences offer a double major leading to a Bachelor of Music and a Bachelor of Arts. This double degree requires five years to complete.

 

Reed College

  • Anthropology
  • Biology    
  • Chemistry
  • English
  • History
  • Philosophy
  • Physics
  • Psychology

Reed suffered major losses in its endowment in the past few years, but new Board leadership and financial markets upturn have strengthened the endowment. Reed is once again able to offer sustainable financial aid.

 

Swarthmore College

  • Biology
  • Economics
  • English
  • History
  • Physics
  • Political Science
  • Sociology/Anthropology

I fell in love with Swarthmore in Sharples Dining Hall. True to its roots, Sharples is a Quaker Meeting House envisioned anew. Everyone eats together -- faculty, groundskeepers, office staff, and students.

 

Yale University

  • Art and Architecture
  • Biology
  • Drama
  • Economics
  • English
  • History
  • Music
  • Political Science
  • Psychology

Yale is distinctive for its Biomedical Sciences Department, and is one of the top ten universities receiving National Institute of Health research funds. One small but wonderful part of Yale’s program is the Cushing Center. The Center is a small basement room remodeled into a 1,700 square foot museum and conference room devoted to the work of Dr. Harvey Cushing, a Yale pioneer in neuroscience. The space is considered an architectural gem