Number 241 (Story #2), September 22, 1995 by Phillip F. Schewe and Ben Stein|
HARVARD HAS THE BEST PHYSICS DEPARTMENT . A new study prepared by the National Research Council rates graduate programs at U.S. universities according to their scholastic quality and by the quality of their PhD preparation. Naturally, a few elite universities show up well in many categories. For example, 35 of Berkeley's 36 rated departments showed up on top-ten lists. The list of best physics departments in descending order of research quality is as follows: Harvard, Princeton, MIT and Berkeley, Caltech, Cornell, Chicago, Illinois, Stanford, and Santa Barbara. Besides ranking the departments, the NRC report provides a ledger full of data about the complexion of university physics. For example, the departments with most graduate students enrolled in Fall 1992 are as follows: MIT, 315; Illinois, 295; Berkeley, 283; and Texas, 239. The rank according to the number of PhDs granted during the period from 1987/88 to 1991/92: MIT, 196; Illinois, 174; Berkeley, 169; Texas, 156; Cornell, 142. Further facts pertaining to the top quarter (consisting of 36 universities) of the departments surveyed---greatest percentage of female PhD recipients: CUNY, 15%, followed by Harvard, Carnegie Mellon, and Indiana with 14%; the lowest female PhD output was at Princeton, with 3%. The percentage of PhDs that were minority students: CUNY at 14%, Rutgers at 9%, and MIT at 7% were high; several universities awarded no PhDs to minority students. As for PhD recipients who were US citizens or permanent residents, the highest percentages were at Berkeley (86%) Cornell (82%), Illinois (79%), and Stanford (78%); the smallest US percentages were at CUNY (25%) and Rutgers (40%). Among top-quarter departments, the median number of years for earning the PhD ranged from a low of 6.1 at Princeton to a high of 8.8 at CUNY. Mean values for other selected characteristics at top-quarter universities---total faculty members, 49; total graduate students, 150; female students, 13%; PhDs in the period 1987-1992, 85; female PhDs, 8.9%; minority PhDs, 2.9%; US PhDs, 60.8%; median years for earning PhD, 7.2. ("Research-Doctorate Programs in the United States," National Academy Press.) PHYSICS NEWS UPDATE is now five years old. One can subscribe (or unsubscribe) by specifying "add physnews" (or "delete physnews") in a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.