UC Berkeley News


Berkeley leads nation in prepping students for doctorates
Over the past five years, campus awarded more than 2,000 undergrad degrees to future Ph.D.s

| 02 February 2005

Berkeley is the top-ranked university in preparing students who go on to earn their doctorates in the United States, according to a recent survey.

The campus awarded 2,175 undergraduate degrees to people who received Ph.D.s between 1999 and 2003, according to the 2003 Survey of Doctorate Recipients conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago. A total of 203,929 U.S. doctorates were awarded during that period.

“It is not surprising that UC Berkeley produces the most Ph.D.s, since they have wonderful role models,” said Mary Ann Mason, dean of the Graduate Division. “Our faculty is outstanding and so are our graduate students. Our undergraduates like what they see and are eager to pursue a life of research.”

The annual survey, released Dec. 1, 2004, reports on the total number of doctorates awarded by field, and includes details about the recipients’ sex, race, citizenship, parental education, financial resources, and future plans. The 2003 report, the 37th of its kind, includes a special section on the undergraduate backgrounds of those who received Ph.D.s, information that had not been reviewed since 1996.

It found that, after Berkeley, the University of Michigan awarded the second-highest number of undergraduate degrees — 1,537 — among U.S. schools. (Michigan was followed in the top 10 by Cornell University; the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; the University of Texas, Austin; Harvard University; UCLA; Pennsylvania State University; the University of Wisconsin, Madison; and Brigham Young University.) Internationally, the highest-ranking institution (and second overall worldwide) was Seoul National University in Korea, which awarded 1,655 undergraduate degrees to future Ph.D. recipients. Rounding out the international top five were National Taiwan University; Beijing University; China University of Science and Technology; and Yonsei University, Korea.

Berkeley was also the top-ranked school in awarding doctorates in 2003, according to the report: a total of 767, or two percent of all U.S. doctorates awarded. The campus had a high profile in several areas in the survey’s section on the Ph.D. recipients’ undergraduate backgrounds:

• Berkeley was among the top 10 schools for providing undergraduate degrees to minority students who then went on to earn doctorates. It was No. 1 for Asians (501 undergraduate degrees); No. 1 in the U.S. and third overall for Hispanics (134 degrees); No. 5 for American Indians (10 degrees); and No. 10 for blacks (66 degrees).

• Berkeley excelled in providing undergraduate degrees to students in the sciences and in the humanities. It awarded the most undergraduate degrees to those who received doctorates in life sciences and social sciences, while the Massachusetts Institute of Technology had the most undergraduate degrees in the physical sciences and engineering. Berkeley awarded the most undergraduate degrees for those in the humanities, while Pennsylvania State University led the education doctorates.

The biggest change in undergraduate backgrounds between 1996 and 2003, the authors said, was the growth of foreign undergraduate degrees and the large number of students coming from a few “powerhouse” institutions in Korea, Taiwan, and China.

“These baccalaureate-origin institutions can now claim a presence in U.S. doctoral education that compares closely with the top U.S. baccalaureate-origin institutions,” the report’s authors wrote.

Complete results from the NORC’s 2003 Survey of Doctorate Recipients are available at www.norc.uchicago.edu/issues/sed-2003.pdf.