The University of Chicago News Office
Oct. 10, 1995 Press Contact: Larry Arbeiter
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University of Chicago faculty, teaching at top of list in recent national rankings

The quality of the faculty and the effectiveness of graduate teaching at the University of Chicago are among the absolute best in the country, according to a recent nationwide survey by the National Research Council. The survey is the nation’s most comprehensive and highly regarded assessment of university doctoral programs. The last such report by the NRC was issued in 1982.

Excluding the rankings for programs in engineering, the schools with the most departments ranked No. 1 in faculty quality are the University of Chicago, Harvard, Yale and Berkeley. Harvard and Yale each have six top-ranked programs, and Chicago and Berkeley each have five. Stanford and MIT follow with four and three respectively, although these schools have top-ranked engineering programs as well.

The study evaluated 3,634 academic programs at 274 institutions. More than 8,000 faculty members ranked academic programs on the basis of faculty quality, teaching and change in program quality over the previous five years.

In addition to the five University of Chicago programs ranked No.1, another 13 programs are ranked in the top 10 in faculty quality. In teaching effectiveness, a total of 18 University programs are ranked in the top 10, with one program ranked No.1 and five programs in the No.2 position. A total of 30 fields at Chicago were evaluated.

“We are very proud of these evaluations,” said University Provost Geoffrey Stone. “They attest to the extraordinary excellence of the University of Chicago. Our goal for the future is, as ever, to be even better.”

Programs ranked No.1 in faculty quality are religion; sociology; anthropology (tied with Michigan); ecology, evolution and behavior (tied with Stanford); and economics (tied with Harvard). The University’s music program is ranked No.2 in faculty quality and No.1 in teaching.

Other programs ranked in the top 10 in faculty quality are astrophysics and astronomy (5), mathematics (5), statistics (5), linguistics (tied for 6), political science (6), classics (7), geosciences (7), physics (7), history (8), art history (10), chemistry (10) and English language and literature (10). Two programs, molecular and general genetics and physiology, are in the No.11 spot.

In a ranking of faculty quality that is based only on responses from faculty members at the top 50 percent of universities nationwide, the aforementioned programs retain the same rankings, with the exception of art history, chemistry and statistics, which are all ranked one place higher. Also, anthropology, economics, and ecology, evolution and behavior no longer share their top spots and are ranked exclusively No.1.

In the ranking of teaching effectiveness, in addition to the music program’s No.1 ranking are anthropology, religion, mathematics, sociology, and ecology, evolution and behavior in the No.2 spot. Ranked No.3 are statistics and economics.

Other programs in the top 10 for effectiveness of teaching are physics (5), astrophysics and astronomy (7), English language and literature (7), geosciences (7), history (8), linguistics (8), molecular and general genetics (8), physiology (9), art history (10) and political science (10). Chemistry ranked No.11.

The survey, which includes 41 fields of study representing the major disciplines that award the Ph.D., was conducted over a four-year period by the Committee for the Study of Research-Doctorate Programs in the United States. To gather information for the rankings, members of the graduate faculties of universities across the country were asked to rate the quality of 50 randomly selected programs in their fields.

The 19-member committee that conducted the survey included University of Chicago faculty members Norman Bradburn, the Tiffany and Margaret Blake Distinguished Service Professor of Psychology and Senior Vice President of the National Opinion Research Center, and Stephen Stigler, the Ernest DeWitt Burton Distinguished Service Professor of Statistics.

The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to help fulfill its congressional mandate of advising the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Today the council is the principal operating agency of the NAS and the National Academy of Engineering and is administered jointly by both academies and the Institute of Medicine.

Data from the report are available electronically by sending e-mail to or by writing National Research Council, Office of Scientific and Engineering Personnel, 2101 Constitution Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20418.
Last modified at 11:27 AM CST on Friday, September 12, 2003.

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