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Where do PhD students get their BA from?

CU123CU123 Registered User Posts: 2,161 Senior Member
A list of colleges and ranked according to how many PhD's (from any university) per BA/BS they award, and it looks like the usual suspects. This list/ranking is normalized for the size of the college. As you can see more than 1/3 of Caltech students go on to get their PhD.


California Institute of Technology
785 (Number of PhD's awarded to alumni 2003-2012)
2160 (Total BA/BS degrees awarded 1998- 2007)
36.3 (PhD's per 100 BA/BS awarded)
Harvey Mudd College
372
1590
23.4
Swarthmore College
738
3577
20.6
Reed College
563
2829
19.9
Carleton College
811
4621
17.6
Massachusetts Institute of
Technology
2026
12076
16.8
Grinnell College
524
3407
15.4
Harvard University
2500
17956
13.9
Princeton University
1555
11267
13.8
University of Chicago
1349
10002
13.5
Haverford College
392
2907
13.5
Oberlin College
897
6895
13.0
Williams College
664
5188
12.8
Pomona College
483
3783
12.8
Amherst College
534
4207
12.7
Bryn Mawr College
384
3035
12.7
Yale University
1671
13329
12.5
Rice University
905
7375
12.3
St John's College
114
1004
11.4
Macalester College
469
4189
11.2
Brown University
1689
15123
11.2
Stanford University
1880
17242
10.9
Wesleyan University (CT)
745
7278
10.2
Wellesley College
609
5980
10.2
Lawrence University (WI)
277
2729
10.2
Earlham College
221
2328
9.5
Vassar College
571
6032
9.5
University of Rochester
1073
11359
9.4
Hendrix College
205
2174
9.4
Duke University
1456
15474
9.4
Case Western Reserve University
709
7568
9.4
Cornell University, All Campuses
3218
35250
9.1
Kalamazoo College
252
2810
9.0
Dartmouth College
943
10626
8.9
New Mexico Institute of Mining and
Technology
158
1781
8.9
Smith College
623
7057
8.8
The New England Conservatory of
Music
67
762
8.8
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Replies to: Where do PhD students get their BA from?

  • CU123CU123 Registered User Posts: 2,161 Senior Member
    edited March 12
    @happymomof1 This is informative and factual, that is all. Interpret it how you would like.
  • boneh3adboneh3ad Forum Champion Engineering Posts: 7,267 Forum Champion
    I'd argue it is factual but not informative.
  • CU123CU123 Registered User Posts: 2,161 Senior Member
    Information by definition is informative. Whether you want/use the information is a personal choice.
  • PublisherPublisher Registered User Posts: 2,466 Senior Member
    These are environments which seemingly nurture intellectual development.
  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 Registered User Posts: 11,355 Senior Member
    It's entirely possible that some colleges have a culture where people go onto get PhDs and some have a culture where people get a masters or mba or go right into a career.

    Also some students will do what they do no matter where they go, but I think colleges do play a role here. If your advisers send a lot of kids on to PhD programs, more than likely it will come up in your advising at some point.
  • BeaudreauBeaudreau Registered User Posts: 1,075 Senior Member
    But the thread title says: "Where do PhD students get their BA from?" The data don't show that, but instead show the percentage of undergraduates from particular universities that go on to get PhDs. That's quite different. I'm sure that far more PhD students get their undergraduate degrees from large, top-tier public universities such as Michigan than from most of the small private universities on your list.
  • TomSrOfBostonTomSrOfBoston Registered User Posts: 13,484 Senior Member
    Looks like someone had nothing better to do today than play with stats.
  • CU123CU123 Registered User Posts: 2,161 Senior Member
    @Beaudreau Sure if I had a school of 100,000 students raw numbers would favor that school, as you can see the numbers are normalized for size. UMich doesn't even have 10% of their graduates get PhD's. Nothing wrong with that I like to go to parties too.
  • intparentintparent Registered User Posts: 33,058 Senior Member
    Lol— my kid who is a PhD student now applied to & got into 6 schools on this list (only 2 not on this list). They do attract a certain type of student.
  • BeaudreauBeaudreau Registered User Posts: 1,075 Senior Member
    @cu123 If your point is that more students from certain colleges go on to get PhDs, then your title should say that. "Where do PhD students get their BA from?" asks something quite different and is unrelated to the data you show. My response answers your question. And it is a low form of debate to make an ad hominem attack on Michigan students as partiers. Or do you have some data that show that Michigan students party more than the schools on your list?

    Also, a high percentage of PhD students graduated with BS degrees.
  • CU123CU123 Registered User Posts: 2,161 Senior Member
    edited March 12
    I'm thinking that overall they probably party a little more than Caltech students............................but that's just my opinion. However, next time I'm at Caltech I'll check out the Greek life.............oh wait, they don't have a Greek system. Oh well, I'm sure I can check out the Greek life at UMich to validate my opinion.

    BTW, I DO like to go to parties so I don't really consider it an ad hominem attack. Seriously, even students at top schools do attend a party every once in a while. Socialization is a valuable skill.
  • TomSrOfBostonTomSrOfBoston Registered User Posts: 13,484 Senior Member
    You need a hobby. Volunteering in your local community would be productive.
  • YnotgoYnotgo Registered User Posts: 3,781 Senior Member
    @CU123 Caltech has a House system. From some angles, the House system looks a lot like mixed gender Greek life.

    It's a chicken and egg thing. I don't think Caltech is necessarily creating students who go on to get a PhD. I think they are selecting for them during admissions. One of the admissions essay prompts is "Scientific exploration clearly excites you. Beyond our 3:1 student-to-faculty ratio and our intense focus on research opportunities, how do you believe Caltech will best fuel your intellectual curiosity and help you meet your goals?"

    I would guess that UCSB's College of Creative Studies has similar PhD production numbers, mainly because graduate school is their stated goal for students.

    BTW, the number of CS majors and students doing summer industry internships at Caltech has gone up a lot in recent years.
  • CU123CU123 Registered User Posts: 2,161 Senior Member
    The house system at Caltech is NOTHING like the Greek system at UMich, that is a stretch beyond all imagination.
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