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How are these colleges in math and the sciences?

ssnalpssnalp Registered User Posts: 41 Junior Member
edited August 2008 in College Search & Selection
I'm trying to narrow down my college list, which is QUITE long, specifically matches and safeties (yes, I recognize some of these are reaches for everyone, but a lot of them are my matches), and was wondering how these schools are in math and the sciences (both life and physical):

Brown, Northwestern, UVA, Emory, Rochester, UNC, Vanderbilt, William and Mary, Wake Forest, Pomona, Middlebury, Hamilton, Haverford, Colgate, Skidmore, Vassar, Goucher, Tulane, Bucknell

As you can see, I haven't done very much narrowing down, and this is only PART of my list, so any insight about any schools would be welcomed. Also, right now I'm looking to narrow my list based on sciences. I know these schools are very different in many ways, but I'm not looking to narrow down based on size/location/etc. right now, so please focus on the math/science. Thanks!
Post edited by ssnalp on

Replies to: How are these colleges in math and the sciences?

  • mutant3324mutant3324 Registered User Posts: 137 Junior Member
    anywhere you go, differential equations, nonlinear equations, etc. will be the same. Basically your question (which is perfectly legitimate) is based on how reputable the schools listed are in math and science. That, my friend, can be answered from the news week rankings.
  • ssnalpssnalp Registered User Posts: 41 Junior Member
    Where can I find the Newsweek rankings for science?
  • littleathiestlittleathiest Registered User Posts: 1,143 Senior Member
    I can give you some input on Vassar, seeing as I'm a current student.

    Thanks to the fact that there are a good deal of pre-med students at Vassar, the biology, chemistry, and biochemistry programs are all quite strong. Biology, in particular, is quite a large department, considering the fact that Vassar is a small LAC. It offers classes in a variety of different sub-fields (microbiology, botany, ecology, cellular biology, anatomy & physiology, developmental biology, genetics, immunology) and stresses the importance of lab work, even in the earliest courses. In addition to Biology and Biochemistry, Vassar also offers a major in Environmental Studies which stems largely from the biology department. Vassar's chemistry program is smaller than it's biology, but still quite solid thanks to the amount of pre-med students at the school.

    Psychology is another major strength at Vassar thanks to the large amount of student interest in the field. It features a department with approximately twenty professors and classes in a variety of sub-fields. In addition, thanks to the strength of the psychology department, Vassar is also able to offer a Cognitive Science and a Neuroscience program, both of which are quite solid.

    The physics and astronomy department at Vassar is smaller in size that those I've mentioned so far, with nine professors. That being said, it is still a solid program and, thanks to its small size, is able to offer its students lots of opportunities for research and work with faculty members.

    Lastly, the math program at Vassar is something like the physics and astronomy department in that it ranks as one of the school's smaller science-related departments. That being said, it is also a very solid program.

    For more information on the departments, check out their websites...
    Physics & Astronomy... Welcome - Physics and Astronomy - Vassar College
    Biochemistry... Vassar College Biochemistry Program
    Chemistry... Vassar Chemistry Department
    Cognitive Science... Cognitive Science - Vassar College
    Environmental Studies... VC: Environmental Studies
    Mathematics... Vassar College Department of Mathematics
    Neuroscience and Behavior... The Neuroscience and Behavior Program at Vassar College
    Psychology... Vassar College Department of Psychology
  • Sam LeeSam Lee Registered User Posts: 9,449 Senior Member
    USN ranking is a mesure of research and faculty reputation. It's not necessarily a measure of how much you'd get out of the program (though many think there's a strong correlation). Now to answer your question, Northwestern's chemistry is ranked in the top-10. Math is ranked in the top-20. Bio and physics are ranked around 20th-30th. If you like Northwestern, you may want to check out their ISP program.
  • pointoforderpointoforder Registered User Posts: 546 Member
    IMHO, Haverford has one of the best (arguably, THE best) sciences of any LAC in the U.S.

    Outstanding faculty which includes the only member of the National Academy of Sciences teaching at a LAC. In addition, a Haverford professor is the only LAC professor to ever win a prestigious NIH Early Career Development Award. While all the HC faculty have Ph.Ds, they also have science faculty with M.D.s, and a DVM (extraordinarily rare).

    Also, I’ll note that Haverford has the only stem cell research lab at a LAC. It also has the only NIH funded-lab among LACs.

    Only 2 LACs (HC and Williams) have received the maximum award amount over the last 10 years by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute for their science/biomedical programs. These grants are awarded to strong programs that provide for an innovative undergrad research education (remember HC is smaller than all its peers so the total cash amount is even more of a significant commentary).

    A pioneering biology department (the first to focus exclusively on teaching the then “emerging” field of molecular and cell biology, or modern biology, to undergraduates beginning back in the 1950s). Also, a great chemistry program, alumni include a Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry.

    In terms pf Ph.D production by alumni, according to the NSF, Haverford ranks among the top four LAC producers (on a per student basis) in the life and physcial sciences fields (by the way, Careleton, Harvey Mudd, and Swarthmore) are the others.

    Check out this thread for more information:
    http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/haverford-college/427212-why-haverford-sciences-phenomenal-part-12-a.html
  • dna3dna3 Registered User Posts: 229 Junior Member
    Brown, Emory, and Haverford are great in science/math.
  • swimguy112swimguy112 Registered User Posts: 257 Junior Member
    Why do people keep saying brown has a good science program?

    I visited there, and it seems like they have a TERRIBLE math/science/engineering program.
  • ericatbucknellericatbucknell Registered User Posts: 758 Member
    the listed schools ranked by per capita phd production (in science and engineering) during the 90s:

    haverford
    pomona
    brown
    rochester
    vassar
    colgate
    bucknell
    william & mary
    hamilton
    northwestern
    middlebury
    emory
    wake forest
    vanderbilt
    virginia
    north carolina
    goucher
    skidmore
    tulane

    now, rankings like these are far from perfect indicators of departmental strength, so the precise order is insignificant. however, i would be concerned about the smaller schools that show up near the bottom of the list in addition to those that appear to be under-ranked relative to selectivity.

    in other words, based on academics i would almost certainly cut goucher, skidmore and tulane (and add a new safe match or two) and think about cutting some of the less-preferred (relative to admissions difficulty) schools ranked below northwestern.
  • ssnalpssnalp Registered User Posts: 41 Junior Member
    Thanks for all the suggestions everyone!

    It seems people have picked up on this, but what I meant was how LACs like Wesleyan, Carleton, and apparently Haverford (will definitely look into this one!) are known for having strong science programs and I was looking for other schools like that (including universities, where MIT, Stanford, and Princeton might be used as the examples). But at the same time, I'm not really interested in tech schools, so I have my work cut out for me.

    Also know that this is only a part of my college list, and mostly schools I am looking at for matches/safeties, which is the main reason I was considering skidmore, goucher, tulane, and some others. Basically, I'm in the process of trying to find a safety that I know I can get into (because most of my number-based safeties have too low acceptance rates to be considered safeties. and no, my state flagship wont work for ec reasons).

    So thanks for all the help and keep it coming!
  • pbrpbr Registered User Posts: 1,018 Senior Member
    I don't know your gender, but here's an interesting article from the Journal of Higher Education: The Chronicle: 5/5/2006: A Hothouse for Female Scientists
  • ssnalpssnalp Registered User Posts: 41 Junior Member
    Well, I'm male, but it doesn't matter for that, since Carleton's co-ed. They're definitely a school I've been looking into, as they're known for strong sciences, but I have a few personal reservations about the place (ec, location related).

    Any other insight/suggestions?
  • Jimmymac2010Jimmymac2010 . Posts: 52 Junior Member
    Take a look at College of the Holy Cross outside Boston as they are nearing completion of a new $60 million dollar science complex, have a 90% medical school acceptance rate and great reputation in the sciences.
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