Contact: Steven VanderStaay, WWU Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, (360) 650-3004; Steven.Vanderstaay@wwu.edu
BELLINGHAM – In its most recent ratings, the Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED) ranked Western Washington University 13th among all masters-granting institutions in the United States for the number of its undergraduates who went on to earn a research doctorate in the past decade.
Western was previously ranked 19th. This ranking places Western within the top 2 percent of all U.S. masters-granting institutions.
The SED is widely recognized as a key national benchmark of university quality; a high ranking indicates that a university's undergraduate curriculum successfully prepares students for advanced study and research.
“We're very pleased by this recognition and by what it says about our programs and graduates. Western prioritizes faculty/student collaboration at the undergraduate level and facilitates opportunities for student participation in academic research and creative activity. This investment prepares Western graduates interested in continuing their education at the next level, equipping them with a scholarly sensibility and with skills that position them well to successfully pursue terminal degrees,” said Western Provost Brent Carbajal.
According to the SED:
- Between 2002 and 2011, Western ranked 13th among approximately 560 masters-granting U.S. institutions. During that time, 383 Western graduates earned research doctorates.
- With 40 graduates earning research doctorates, Western ranked third in the state in 2011 behind the University of Washington (218) and Washington State University (57).
- Western graduates earned 20 doctorates in the sciences, one in engineering, nine in the social sciences, three in education, four in the humanities and three in other fields.
- In 2011, Western ranked 247th among approximately 1370 institutions worldwide for the number of its undergraduate alumni who earned research doctorates in that year.
The SED collects information on research doctorate recipients only. Research doctorates prepare students to make original contributions in a field of study. Research doctorates require the completion of a dissertation or equivalent project and are not primarily intended for the practice of a profession.
The Survey of Earned Doctorates is sponsored by six federal agencies: the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Education (USED), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
The National Organization for Research at the University of Chicago (NORC) currently conducts the survey under contract to the NSF.