UD doctoral programs rank among nation's best in National Research Council assessment
Paulo de Freitas, Jr. (right), recent UD doctoral alumnus in biomechanics and movement science, with doctoral adviser Prof. Slobodan Jaric. The two are developing a diagnostic device that can measure hand function more precisely than ever before and serve as an early detection tool for multiple sclerosis and other neurological disorders.

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3:56 p.m., Sept. 28, 2010----The University of Delaware's doctoral programs in biomechanics and movement science, chemical engineering, linguistics and cognitive science, materials science and engineering, and mathematics rank among the top graduate programs in their fields in the United States, according to the latest assessment by the National Research Council (NRC).

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The NRC's Data-Based Assessment of Research-Doctorate Programs, released Sept. 28, uses new statistical sampling methods to present ranges of rankings, which take into account some 20 variables, from faculty productivity to graduate placement. The measures are based on data from the 2005-2006 academic year that were submitted to the NRC in 2006 from 5,000 programs at 212 universities, spanning 62 fields.

All five of UD's top-rated doctoral programs also won high scores for research activity, a major category that considered average number of publications by the faculty, the average number of citations of those publications, the percent of faculty with grants, and faculty awards.

Several UD doctoral programs also ranked among the best in the U.S. for specific criteria. In the area of student support/outcomes, which considered such issues as financial support, average time to degree completion of six years or less, and student career plans, UD's doctoral programs in chemical engineering, English, human development and family studies, oceanography, plant and soil sciences, political science and international relations, and urban affairs and public policy ranked in the top tier.

In the category of diversity of the academic environment, UD's doctoral programs in animal science, art history, biological sciences, linguistics and cognitive science, oceanography, political science and international relations, and urban affairs and public policy earned high marks nationally. This category considered percentages of female faculty and students, non-Asian minority faculty and students, and international students.

“The National Research Council assessment affirms not only the University of Delaware's excellent doctoral programs, but the critical importance of strong graduate programs to the nation's future,” said UD Provost Tom Apple. “As the University of Delaware continues to grow in research stature, we also are firmly committed to expanding the strength and quality of our graduate programs as a major initiative on our Path to Prominence.”

Earlier this year, UD was named among the nation's top 100 institutions in federal obligations for science and engineering. Earlier this month, UD was ranked globally in two different analyses of high-impact universities around the world.

UD launched several initiatives in the past few years to strengthen graduate education that will continue to gain momentum, with additional new activities being planned, according to Charles G. Riordan, who was appointed vice provost for graduate and professional education in August. Riordan succeeded Debra Hess Norris, Henry Francis du Pont Chair of Fine Arts.

Under Norris' leadership, Riordan said, global research travel grants, dissertation boot camps, new summer funding and internship opportunities, public engagement training in the arts and humanities, and strengthened visibility for graduate students and programs were implemented.

“While the data are now five years old and much positive change has taken place in doctoral education across this campus, the NRC assessment will aid us in our ongoing mission to further enhance the quality and impact of our doctoral programs to provide the best graduate education available,” Riordan noted.

Not only is the quality of UD's graduate programs on a continuing upward trajectory, but also the size of the student body. In fall 2010, UD welcomed an incoming graduate class of 1,100 students from 123 countries, putting UD's graduate population at 3,780. The incoming cohort was selected from among 8,330 applications, a 15 percent increase over last year and a record for UD.

 

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