Baccalaureate Origins of Doctoral Recipients

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1 Baccalaureate Origins of Doctoral Recipients Diane Saphire, Institutional Research March 2009 Summary. Over the past twenty years, Trinity University has made tremendous strides in the number of graduates going on to earn doctoral degrees. Among students earning a bachelor s degree from Trinity between 1982 and 1986, about 2.9% went on to earn a PhD. At that time, Trinity ranked 328 th in the nation among colleges in doctoral degrees earned per graduate. In contrast, among students earning a bachelor s degree from Trinity between 1997 and 2001, about 8.5% went on to earn a doctorate. During this time frame, Trinity ranked 38 th in the nation for doctoral recipients per bachelor s degree. In the span of 20 years, Trinity moved from a rank of 328 th to a rank of 38 th in the nation. Data and sources. The Survey of Earned Doctorates is conducted annually by the University of Chicago National Opinion Research Center for the Federal sponsors of the survey: the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the U.S. Department of Education (USED), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA). The resulting data set contains data on all earned doctorates granted by regionally accredited United States universities, in all fields, from 1920 to the present. One variable collected in this data set is the institution from which the doctoral recipient earned a bachelor s degree. Approximately 92% of all doctoral recipients participate in the survey. (Professional degrees such as the M.D., D.D.S., O.D., D.V.M., and J.D. are not covered by the Survey of Earned Doctorates.) Results of the Survey of Earned Doctorates are publicly available at From this data set it is possible to obtain counts of doctorates awarded broken down by the recipient s baccalaureate institution and by the year of the doctoral degree. Such data do not reflect the size of the baccalaureate institution larger institutions will naturally tend to produce larger numbers of doctoral recipients. Thus some measure of the number of graduates of an institution must be added to these doctoral data for comparisons to be meaningful. All institutions receiving Title IV funds must complete an annual report providing the numbers of bachelor s degrees awarded. This completions report is submitted to the National Center for Education Statistics. Results of these reports are publicly available at

2 Unfortunately, the Survey of Earned Doctorates data does not include the year in which the bachelor s degree was earned, so precise values of doctorates per student receiving a bachelor s degree in a given time frame is not possible. But to estimate this figure, the member institutions of the Higher Education Data Sharing (HEDS) consortium have assembled the numbers of students earning doctorates in a given five year period divided by the number of students completing bachelor s degrees in the preceding five year period. So, for instance, from 1997 through 2001, 2525 student earned bachelor s degrees from Trinity. Between 2002 and 2006, 215 of Trinity s alumni earned doctoral degrees. Thus we estimate the percentage of students graduating between 1997 and 2001 who went on to earn doctorates to be 215/2525 = 8.5%. Similar computations may be made for other institutions as well. The Higher Education Data Sharing (HEDS) consortium has assembled such data for all institutions receiving Title IV funds. These institutions can then be ranked by the estimated doctoral degrees earned per baccalaureate degree awarded. For doctorates granted between 1997 and 2001 divided by bachelor s degrees awarded between 1992 and 1996, Trinity ranked 32 nd in the nation. Similarly, for doctorates earned between 2002 and 2006 divided by bachelor s degrees awarded between 1997 and 2001, Trinity ranked 38 th in the nation. The chart below shows Trinity s increasing percentage of students earning doctorates (left axis) and corresponding decreasing national rank (right axis) over time. Doctoral Recipients per 100 Bachelor's Degrees Trinity University Doctoral Recipients per 100 Bachelors Degrees Awarded in Preceding 5 years and National Rank National Rank Doctoral Recipients per 100 Bachelors Degrees National Rank

3 The tables below show the institutions ranked above Trinity in and in rank institution doctoral recipients per 100 bachelor s degrees awarded between 1992 and California Institute of Technology Harvey Mudd College Reed College Swarthmore College Massachusetts Institute of Technology Carleton College Bryn Mawr College Cleveland Institute of Music Oberlin College Yale University University of Chicago Haverford College Grinnell College Princeton University Pomona College St John's College (Annapolis, MD) Amherst College Williams College Rice University Harvard University Wesleyan University Stanford University Kalamazoo College Juilliard School Wellesley College Brown University Curtis Institute of Music New England Conservatory of Music Earlham College Beloit College Vassar College Trinity University 9.6

4 rank institution doctoral recipients per 100 bachelor s degrees awarded between 1997 and California Institute of Technology Harvey Mudd College Swarthmore College Reed College Carleton College Grinnell College Massachusetts Institute of Technology Oberlin College Princeton University Harvard University University of Chicago Yale University Bryn Mawr College New England Conservatory of Music Pomona College Williams College Haverford College Amherst College Wesleyan University Rice University St John's College (Annapolis, MD) Juilliard School Brown University Lawrence University Stanford University Earlham College Kalamazoo College Macalester College Wellesley College Hendrix College Vassar College Occidental College Smith College St Olaf College Duke University Curtis Institute of Music Hampshire College Trinity University 8.5

5 The map below shows the locations of the 38 institutions with at least 8.5% of graduates going on to earn doctorates in the time frame. The only other institutions in the southcentral region of the country producing as many doctoral recipients as Trinity are Rice and Hendrix. Trinity Possible explanations. How did Trinity manage to achieve this remarkable change? The large increase in the percentage of graduates going on to earn doctorates from to corresponds to a substantial increase in the quality of incoming students as measured by standardized tests between roughly 1980 and 1987 as shown on the accompanying graph. (Note that the SAT was rescaled in Scores in Trinity s typical average range increased by roughly 70 to 75 points as a result of this rescaling.) 1400 SAT Scores of Incoming First Year Students old SAT Recentered SAT

6 Along with increasing student quality, Trinity has striven to recruit talented faculty members who mentor and encourage students in their pursuit of graduate education. For instance, essentially all current full time faculty have earned the terminal degree in their field.

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