National Student Survey Ranks Mason Ph.D. Programs

Posted: November 20, 2001 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Elena Barbre, Lynn Burke, and Colleen Kearney Rich contributed to this story.

In a recent survey conducted by the National Association of Graduate-Professional Students (NAGPS), 32,000 graduate students graded their doctoral programs on factors such as career guidance, mentoring, teaching and teaching assistant preparation, and program climate. Among the George Mason programs ranked in the study were the Ph.D. in Public Policy, the Ph.D. in Environmental Science and Public Policy, and the Ph.D. in Cultural Studies.

The School of Public Policy’s (SPP) doctoral program ranked third in overall student satisfaction among the 10 public policy programs included in the survey. The top programs in student satisfaction were at the University of Delaware and New School University. “Just as we have demonstrated in our ranking by the National Science Foundation as a top research program, it is gratifying to know that our graduates are so satisfied with our academic program that they put us in the top three doctoral programs in this survey,” says Kingsley Haynes, dean of SPP.

The Environmental Science and Public Policy program (ESPP) scored high in preparation for a broad range of careers, and it ranked first in teaching and teaching assistant preparation among the 35 earth, atmospheric, and marine sciences programs included in the survey. “This reflects George Mason’s commitment to teaching,” says ESPP professor Chris Jones, “and most of our TA’s actually teach in the biology undergraduate program, so I think it says good things about that program as well.”

Two Harvard programs and the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University keep good company with the Cultural Studies program–in the fourth quartile of the rankings for general humanities programs. Director Roger Lancaster notes that the numbers have “been strongly affected by financial aid questions and residues of the conflicts around curriculum reform from a few years back”–factors that are largely out of the program’s control. “The 15 students who participated in the survey expressed generally high levels of satisfaction with the curriculum, with the intellectual breadth of the program, and with its emphasis on faculty mentoring.”

NAGPS is an advocacy organization representing 900,000 graduate and professional students across 200 campuses in the United States. The survey, funded by a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, was an observational study, and participants were self-selected. At least 10 responses were required for a program to be ranked. Results are available on the NAGPS web site.

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