About the Data Sources

The data we use in the rankings come from several outside sources:

Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS)
IPEDS is an annual, comprehensive set of surveys of all colleges and universities in the United States. The surveys are conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics. Learn more.
National Research Council (NRC)
The National Research Council conducts periodic assessments of doctoral programs in the United States. Our data comes from the most recent assessment in 2010. Learn more.
Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED)
The NSF/NIH/NEH/USED/USDA/NASA Survey of Earned Doctorates is an annual survey of all new recipients of doctorates from US universities at graduation. The average of the response rates for the 2000–2004 surveys was 92%. Learn more.
Survey of Graduate Students and Postdoctorates in Science and Engineering (GSS)
The Survey is an annual assessment of the number and characteristics of graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in science, engineering, and health-related fields It is conducted by the National Science Foundation. Learn more.


The National Research Council, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Education have all done a tremendous amount of hard work in collecting these data. In particular, we would like to recognize the contributions of the following organizations:

  • We would like to thank the National Research Council for sharing their data from their 2010 study . In particular, we are grateful to Steve Mautner, Jim Voytuk, and Charlotte Kuh for their help.
  • We are most grateful for the assistance of the Division of Science Resources Statistics at the National Science Foundation. Susan Hill, Lynda Carlson, Mary Frase, and Emilda Rivers have all been very helpful.
  • We thank the National Opinion Research Center for their assistance in preparing the Survey of Earned Doctorates data set. Vince Welch has been most patient.
  • Samuel Barbett at the National Center for Educational Statistics has been quick to answer questions about the IPEDS data set.

About the Graduate School Guide