NRC Assessment of Doctorate Programs

NRC Briefing
On October 19, Dean Grasso held a briefing to discuss the results of the NRC’s Database Assessment of Research Doctoral Programs. If you were unable to attend or would like more information, a full video of the presentation is available online.

The National Research Council released the Data-Based Assessment of Research-Doctorate Programs on September 28, 2010.  The report provides an in-depth look at doctoral programs over a period of time.  Using advanced statistical methods to analyze a number of program characteristics, the NRC placed programs within a range relative to other doctoral programs in the study.  After collecting data in 2006 and 2007, the NRC carefully developed its statistical methods over three years to ensure the data’s validity.

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. The NRC collected the data from institutions, programs, faculty members and doctoral students through a series of questionnaires and surveys and by calculating citation rates of departments in academic journals. The study incorporates variables pertaining to research activity, program diversity and student support services.

The final report contains data characteristics and ranges of rankings for more than 5,000 doctoral programs in 62 academic fields at 212 universities.

The full report, data table and methodology guide are available online at http://www.nap.edu/rdp.


The Graduate School hosted a workshop on October 19, 2010 about “Understanding Your NRC Data.”

Dr. Jaxk Reeves, faculty director of the UGA Statistical Consulting Center, and Dr. Kim Love-Myers, Associate Director, discussed the methodology used to determine a program’s range of rankings and how individual departments can best use the methodology to interpret their own data. Charles Mathies from the Office of Institutional Research discussed on-campus resources and current data available programs to use in analyzing their own data. Data collection procedures were briefly reviewed.

Dr. Reeves and Dr. Love-Myers’ presentation about the methodology and interpretation of the data can be reviewed for additional information.


Additional resources related to the NRC report and data analysis include:

A Guide to the Methodology of the National Research Council Assessment of the Doctorate Programs, the complete methodology manual.

The National Research Council’s website dedicated to the Data-Based Assessment of Research-Doctorate Programs has links to information relevant the report, including:


Analyses of the NRC Data

PhDs.org, an independent web site not affiliated with the National Research Council, has incorporated data from the research-doctorate assessment into its Graduate School Guide. Users of the Guide can choose the weights assigned to the program characteristics measured by the National Research Council and others, and rank graduate programs according to their own priorities.

Analysis of Programs within Ranges

Analysis of Possible Ranges

Learn More About the Original NRC Study at UGA | View the UGA Programs in the Study