Campus News

Doctoral research programs rank high in NRC assessment

UGA doctoral programs place high in the National Research Council’s third assessment of doctoral research programs.

The latest report identifies six UGA doctoral programs that are among the best in the country. UGA’s Food Science and Technology program is one of the top 11 food science programs nationwide. Public administration, exercise science and forest resources are among the top 12 programs in their fields. Plant biology is one of the top 20 programs, and mass communication is among the top 24 programs in its respective field.

The NRC’s report, “A Data-Based Assessment of Research-Doctorate Programs in the United States,” provides an in-depth look at doctoral programs over a period of time. Using statistical methods to analyze program characteristics, the NRC placed programs within a range relative to other doctoral programs in the study.

“This is indeed good news for the University of Georgia and the state as a whole,” said UGA President Michael F. Adams. “High-quality graduate education and research are important functions of a flagship university. The 21st century is an age of advanced education and competitive, market-based research, and the economic benefits to Georgia of a strong and vibrant graduate program at UGA cannot be overstated.”

“The National Research Council’s report speaks to the high quality of the University of Georgia’s doctoral programs,” said Maureen Grasso, dean of the Graduate School. “It confirms what we already know-we have outstanding programs across our university. Our doctoral research programs are a strategic asset for Georgia.”

The NRC study aims to create a common benchmark for doctoral research programs and provide universities with information on how to improve their own programs. After collecting data in 2006 and 2007, the NRC carefully developed its statistical methods over three years to ensure the data’s validity.

The study incorporates variables pertaining to research activity, program diversity and student support services.

“We will use this report to better understand the strengths of our doctoral programs and learn where we can make improvements,” said Grasso. “These results will help us strengthen our national competitiveness as a research institution.”

The Graduate School has led a number of initiatives in the past six years focused on continuous improvement of doctoral degree programs. Grasso has worked with doctoral programs across campus and with the Office of Institutional Research to improve doctoral completion at UGA, an effort in which the university is seen as a national leader. The Graduate School’s Office of Outreach and Diversity works to recruit and retain a diverse graduate student population through a number of ongoing programs.

“Our efforts to improve the completion of doctoral degrees have resulted in the faculty’s increased awareness of the factors that contribute to student success,” said Grasso. “These efforts go hand in hand with the data provided by the NRC report.”

The NRC collected the data from institutions, faculty members and doctoral students through a series of questionnaires and surveys and by calculating citation rates of departments in academic journals. The final report contains data characteristics and ranges of rankings for more than 5,000 doctoral programs in 62 academic fields at 212 universities.