UCLA ranks high in comprehensive assessment of doctoral research programs
The National Research Council, which compiles the premier assessment of the nation's doctoral research programs, today placed many of UCLA's graduate programs in its highest ranks. Of the 59 UCLA programs evaluated by the NRC, 40 placed within a range that extended to the top 10.
Only two other universities — UC Berkeley, with 48, and Harvard University, with 46 — had more programs that extended to the top 10.
"We are especially proud that so many of UCLA's doctoral programs continue to be among the most highly regarded in the nation," said Claudia Mitchell-Kernan, UCLA vice chancellor for graduate studies and dean of the UCLA Graduate Division.
The NRC's Data-Based Assessment of Research-Doctorate Programs assessed more than 5,000 research Ph.D. programs at 212 universities in 62 academic fields. It used data collected on the programs and their students and faculty across 20 measures, such as faculty quality, student support and outcomes, and program diversity.
The NRC does not attempt to declare the "best" program and instead provides a range within which individual programs fall. It says, for example, that a program has a 90 percent chance of falling between the fourth best and the 18th best in the country.
"That conveys something important, which is that programs can't be arranged hierarchically with any precision," Mitchell-Kernan said.
Mitchell-Kernan, who has followed the progress of this complex and lengthy assessment for the last five years, said that the 2010 NRC study is a major departure from and an improvement over prior NRC assessments in 1982 and 1995.
While in 1995 the rankings were based primarily on the reputation of the various programs, today's rankings are based primarily on data collected on each program. The assessment provides five dimensional measures that offer rich data to assist faculty in assessing their programs' strengths and weaknesses in the future.
The data were collected during 2005 and 2006 and then analyzed over several years in preparation for today's release. The NRC reviewed doctoral programs in the agricultural sciences, biological and health sciences, engineering, humanities, physical and mathematical sciences, and social and behavioral sciences.
In 1995, of the 36 UCLA doctoral programs examined, 24 ranked in the top quartile. In the just-released report, 21 of those programs remained in the top 25 percent nationally, one existing program broke into the top quartile, and 11 new programs made it into the top quartile, bringing to 33 the number of programs in the top 25 percent.
The increase to 59 UCLA programs examined for today's report represents not just the growth in the university's program offerings but also the richer array of programs included in the study.
Among a plethora of rankings this year by various publications, UCLA has fared very well. U.S. News & World Report, the most well known, ranked UCLA second among public universities in the U.S. and 25th overall. Washington Monthly, which focuses on social mobility and public service, ranked UCLA third overall and first in community service.
International rankings also were high: Shanghai Jiao Tong University's Academic Ranking of World Universities placed UCLA second among the world's public universities and 13th overall, and London's Times Higher Education ranked UCLA 11th among the top 200 universities in the world.
The National Research Council's full results can be found at http://www.nap.edu/rdp.
UCLA is California's largest university, with an enrollment of more than 38,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The UCLA College of Letters and Science and the university's 11 professional schools feature renowned faculty and offer 328 degree programs and majors. UCLA is a national and international leader in the breadth and quality of its academic, research, health care, cultural, continuing education and athletic programs. Five alumni and five faculty have been awarded the Nobel Prize.