Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Blog CLXXXIV (184): "Overproduction" is Not New

This blog has friends all over the place.  Jeffrey Grey of the University of New South Wales Canberra, the first non-American to serve as president of the Society of Military History, notified me about this article.  This article appeared in the Canadian magazine, University Affairs.  The author is Melonie Fullick, a PhD candidate at York University, writing her dissertation on Canadian post-secondary education policy.  This essay, not surprisingly, focuses on Canadian academic issues, but those in the United States and those in the Great White North are tied closely together.  The thrust of the article is made quite clear in its title: "PhD ‘Overproduction’ is Not New and Faculty Retirements Won’t Solve it. The wave of upcoming retirements is a Myth and PhD numbers Have little to do with the Academic Job Market Anyway." Americans will have to ignore some the Canada-specific factors, but should realize the picture being painted is to the higher education in the United States as Canadian English is to American English.  (Which is to say, they are basically the same).  Enjoy:
In my last post I took a look at some of the history and context of Canadian universities’ hiring of contract faculty. While I was digging around for information, I couldn’t help noticing the relevance of some of the material to another ongoing debate in higher education: that of the “overproduction” of PhDs. Since “too many PhDs” is a recurring theme in media commentary about graduate education Nature, The Economist), I thought I’d explore the issue in more depth and connect it to some of the research I found. Are we really “producing” too many PhDs, and if so, is this a recent problem?
Let’s start with doctoral enrollment increases: how have PhD numbers increased over time, for example in Ontario? Recent graduate expansion has been significant within a short period. On this COU page, we find the specifics spelled out: “Between 2003 and 2011, the government added funding for 15,000 additional graduate spaces. In the 2011 budget, the government announced funding for an additional 6,000 graduate spaces” to 2015. That’s more than 20,000 places added in about 10 years, some of it clearly an echo of the Double Cohort’s undergraduate enrollment bulge. Over that period, PhD students have comprised about 35 percent of total graduate enrollments.
Yet even this most recent expansion isn’t what led to the “overproduction” of PhDs—because of course, it isn’t really a new thing. To return to a paper that I cited in my last post, it’s notable that in 1978 there was already an assumed “PhD dilemma” that was being presented and discussed as a phenomenon of the ’70s, “an imbalance between the rising supply of PhD’s and the declining demand for them, particularly in higher education.” That’s right, 30+ years ago we still had “too many” PhDs.
The key here is that PhD “production” growth has no practical connection to the demand for tenure-track faculty, and it seems likely that it never did. The one time when this may have been the case was the period of rapid massification in the 1960s and early 1970s, and by the time Canadian doctoral programs caught up, demand had dropped again.
If doctoral enrollment is not driven by the need for faculty (i.e. the academic job market), then why do universities expand their PhD numbers? There are plenty of reasons, only a couple of which I’ll touch on here. Firstly, PhD programs bring prestige to a department and contribute to its reputation. Successful supervision of doctoral students also helps with academic faculty career advancement, and brings the pleasure of graduate teaching and mentoring. So if the money is available, the option to expand or create programs is an attractive one.
Another reason is that in Ontario the money has been available, what with the government’s plans to expand graduate enrollments. PhDs bring more government funding than undergraduates, so they’re contributing important resources (both symbolic and material). This is also nothing new; Von Zur-Muehlen (1978) writes that “by 1975-76, Ontario universities were receiving about $12,000 a year from the provincial government, for each PhD student, in addition to tuition fees. Thus, it was in the universities’ interest to expand doctoral enrolment.” It seems that available funding, not academic job market numbers, has been the primary driver of doctoral enrollment.
If “overproduction” has been going on for so long, why is it framed as new, and why has the problem not been addressed by now? Has there ever been a point in the past when every PhD could take an academic job? I’m guessing that other than the aforementioned brief explosion of hiring in the ’60s, the PhD has never been a “golden ticket” to the academic profession. Rather, the many graduates who continue on to other forms of work have been “invisible” because they aren’t held up as examples of success; they simply aren’t “counted.”
The culture of doctoral education as preparation for academe (even when it doesn’t sufficiently fulfil this function) also supports entrenched myths about the academic job market, such as that zombie of a trope, the “Great Wave of Faculty Retirements.” Even now—in 2015—we see the same old idea being trotted out: because so many profs belong to the Baby Boomer generation, we can expect many of them to retire soon, which in turn means new tenure-stream openings for early-career academics. This sounds great, until you look at the facts.
One problem is the expansion of PhD enrollment, as discussed above; this doesn’t entail a directly proportional increase to doctoral graduates, since there is a relatively high attrition rate in the PhD (something else that hasn’t changed since the ’70s). But we’re still seeing far more growth in PhD graduates than in the tenure-track openings available, and there are PhDs still looking for work who graduated two, three, four or more years ago. That reserve pool of potential candidates has to be considered when we look at any job market numbers.
Then there’s the elimination of the mandatory retirement age, which was a process already underway in 1987, with four provinces and the federal government having already completed this step; Ontario followed suit in 2006. Von Zur-Muehlen (1987) also argues that predicting retirement is extremely difficult because it’s not straightforwardly related to age. Lastly, it’s also possible that not all tenured positions will be replaced, especially if demographic trends lead to a decline in undergraduate enrolment.
Of course the “Wave of Retirements” argument is not a new one either. Von Zur-Muehlen points to the 1984 report of the Commission on Canadian Studies report, which predicted that there would be “severe faculty shortages at Canadian universities in the 1990s.” The same arguments appeared again in five-year plans from SSHRC and NSERC, in 1985. Saeed Quazi cites early 1990s studies from the COU, OCUA (Ontario Council on University Affairs) and AUCC. By 2005, the time-frame had shifted: in their book Higher Education in Canada, Beach, Boadway, and McInnis argue that along with “brain drain” to the United States, “there is […] a large number of older faculty at Canadian colleges and universities who will be retiring over the next decade and the Canadian postsecondary education system is simply not producing enough replacements for them.” The predictions of faculty shortages were refuted by research, such as this 1987 paper by Max von Zur-Muehlen, and a 1996 paper by Quazi. Yet somehow the story continued to circulate.
Even the organizations that are promoting increased doctoral enrolments aren’t referring to looming faculty shortages in their arguments (a “disconnect” I explored in more detail in a previous post, here). For example, in the COU’s 2012 Position Paper on Graduate Education, we see the argument that the latter is “crucial for sustaining and developing Ontario’s competitive position in the global, knowledge-based economy. Graduates of advanced research and professional programs in the province develop skills that are not only required in the current marketplace, but are also necessary to innovate and create future enterprises in the fields of business, science, arts and culture.” While the paper also concedes that “graduate education is…central in producing educated citizens who can promote and defend democratic values and ideals,” this sentence stands out amid the economic justifications. This is a call not for more profs, but for “highly qualified personnel.”
It’s clear that other than increased competition, there is no relationship between PhD enrollment and the academic job market, either in the numbers or in the rhetoric employed by government and higher education organizations. Yet somehow no matter how many PhDs enrol and graduate, academic careers are the goal—and the availability of more tenure-track openings is always on the horizon, 10 to 15 years away.
We can’t fool ourselves into thinking that job-market information will trump the culture of denial that persists in many doctoral programs (not that we have great data to begin with). When such a disconnect has persisted for so long, there’s a reason the myth’s been sustained. The “Wave of Retirements” story is only accepted as true because it is repeated over time without any reference to reality, and it’s repeated not just by students but by faculty from whom students seek advice. More importantly, the culture supports this story because we’re seeking ways to justify our efforts, given that primarily one kind of “success” is recognised in academe. This is the academic equivalent of magical thinking.
This helps explain why the actual outcomes of PhDs haven’t been made more explicit. Surely the high rate of attrition not just from doctoral programs but also from the profession could not have gone unnoticed by programs over time, if the goal has been to place students in faculty jobs. And yet we still see a relative silence around this issue, or it’s treated as if it’s only a recent “crisis.”
Any discussion of PhD “overproduction” needs to take into account the important question of the purpose of the PhD. When different groups cannot agree on this purpose, at least in terms coherent enough that they can produce policies and programs that align, then doctoral students are the ones who lose out.
You could argue there’s a danger here of attaching the PhD to some notion of training for the workforce, which would be a corruption of the quest for “knowledge for its own sake.” But then I’d have to ask: if graduate education isn’t instrumental, why is there such a focus on preparation for a particular job, i.e. the tenure-track professor? Surely this is still an instrumental end for the process, and one that is less and less available to graduates. I’d be the last person to argue that the PhD should be “training” for one kind of job or another, but if that’s how it’s already being treated—and if that treatment is reinforcing some destructive myths—let’s not pretend otherwise.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Administrative Post 34

Some small revisions were made to Blog CLXXXII (182): "I Want My History TV!" of a technical nature to make it possible for viewers to look at all the videos in full screen mode, which was not possible in earlier postings.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Blog CLXXXIII (183): Ph.D. Factory

In 2011 the British journal Nature published the article "Education: The PhD factory: The world is producing more PhDs than ever before. Is it time to stop?"  David Cyranoski, Natasha Gilbert, Heidi Ledford, Anjali Nayar, and Mohammed Yahia wrote the article.  Their reporting focuses on the state of higher education in the sciences, since that is the primary subect of the journal.  "In the Service of Clio" focuses on issues involving history, but many of the issues are similar to that professors and students in the liberal arts are facing.  Many of the issues discussed in this article are similar to those that appeared "Doctoral Degrees - The Disposable Academic Why Doing a PhD is Often a Waste of Time," which was originally published in another British publication, The Economist.  That article was reproduced in  Blog LXXIII: The Disposable Academic.  Here is "Education: The PhD factory":
Scientists who attain a PhD are rightly proud—they have gained entry to an academic elite. But it is not as elite as it once was. The number of science doctorates earned each year grew by nearly 40% between 1998 and 2008, to some 34,000, in countries that are members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The growth shows no sign of slowing: most countries are building up their higher-education systems because they see educated workers as a key to economic growth. But in much of the world, science PhD graduates may never get a chance to take full advantage of their qualifications.
In some countries, including the United States and Japan, people who have trained at great length and expense to be researchers confront a dwindling number of academic jobs, and an industrial sector unable to take up the slack. Supply has outstripped demand and, although few PhD holders end up unemployed, it is not clear that spending years securing this high-level qualification is worth it for a job as, for example, a high-school teacher. In other countries, such as China and India, the economies are developing fast enough to use all the PhDs they can crank out, and more—but the quality of the graduates is not consistent. Only a few nations, including Germany, are successfully tackling the problem by redefining the PhD as training for high-level positions in careers outside academia. Here, Nature examines graduate-education systems in various states of health. 
Japan: A System in Crisis 
Of all the countries in which to graduate with a science PhD, Japan is arguably one of the worst. In the 1990s, the government set a policy to triple the number of postdocs to 10,000, and stepped up PhD recruitment to meet that goal. The policy was meant to bring Japan's science capacity up to match that of the West—but is now much criticized because, although it quickly succeeded, it gave little thought to where all those postdocs were going to end up. 
Academia doesn't want them: the number of 18-year-olds entering higher education has been dropping, so universities don't need the staff. Neither does Japanese industry, which has traditionally preferred young, fresh bachelor's graduates who can be trained on the job. The science and education ministry couldn't even sell them off when, in 2009, it started offering companies around ¥4 million (US$47,000) each to take on some of the country's 18,000 unemployed postdoctoral students (one of several initiatives that have been introduced to improve the situation). "It's just hard to find a match" between postdoc and company, says Koichi Kitazawa, the head of the Japan Science and Technology Agency.
This means there are few jobs for the current crop of PhDs. Of the 1,350 people awarded doctorates in natural sciences in 2010, just over half (746) had full-time posts lined up by the time they graduated. But only 162 were in the academic sciences or technological services,; of the rest, 250 took industry positions, 256 went into education and 38 got government jobs.
With such dismal prospects, the number entering PhD programmes has dropped off. "Everyone tends to look at the future of the PhD labour market very pessimistically," says Kobayashi Shinichi, a specialist in science and technology workforce issues at the Research Center for University Studies at Tsukuba University. 
China: Quantity Outweighs Quality? 
The number of PhD holders in China is going through the roof, with some 50,000 people graduating with doctorates across all disciplines in 2009—and by some counts it now surpasses all other countries. The main problem is the low quality of many graduates.Yongdi Zhou, a cognitive neuroscientist at the East China Normal University in Shanghai, identifies four contributing factors. The length of PhD training, at three years, is too short, many PhD supervisors are not well qualified, the system lacks quality control and there is no clear mechanism for weeding out poor students. 
Even so, most Chinese PhD holders can find a job at home: China's booming economy and capacity building has absorbed them into the workforce. "Relatively speaking, it is a lot easier to find a position in academia in China compared with the United States," says Yigong Shi, a structural biologist at Tsinghua University in Beijing, and the same is true in industry. But PhD graduates can run into problems if they want to enter internationally competitive academia. To get a coveted post at a top university or research institution requires training, such as a postdoctoral position, in another country. Many researchers do not return to China, draining away the cream of the country's crop. 
The quality issue should be helped by China's efforts to recruit more scholars from abroad. Shi says that more institutions are now starting to introduce thesis committees and rotations, which will make students less dependent on a single supervisor in a hierarchical system. "Major initiatives are being implemented in various graduate programmes throughout China," he says. "China is constantly going through transformations." 
Singapore: Growth in All Directions 
 The picture is much rosier in Singapore. Here, the past few years have seen major investment and expansion in the university system and in science and technology infrastructure, including the foundation of two new publicly funded universities. This has attracted students from at home and abroad. Enrolment of Singaporean nationals in PhD programmes has grown by 60% over the past five years, to 789 in all disciplines—and the country has actively recruited foreign graduate students from China, India, Iran, Turkey, eastern Europe and farther afield.
Because the university system in Singapore has been underdeveloped until now, most PhD holders go to work outside academia, but continued expansion of the universities could create more opportunities. "Not all end up earning a living from what they have been trained in," says Peter Ng, who studies biodiversity at the National University of Singapore. "Some have very different jobs—from teachers to bankers. But they all get a good job." A PhD can be lucrative, says Ng, with a graduate earning at least S$4,000 (US$3,174) a month, compared with the S$3,000 a month earned by a student with a good undergraduate degree."I see a PhD not just as the mastery of a discipline, but also training of the mind," says Ng. "If they later practise what they have mastered—excellent—otherwise, they can take their skill sets into a new domain and add value to it." 
United States: Supply Versus Demand 
To Paula Stephan, an economist at Georgia State University in Atlanta who studies PhD trends, it is "scandalous" that US politicians continue to speak of a PhD shortage. The United States is second only to China in awarding science doctorates—it produced an estimated 19,733 in the life sciences and physical sciences in 2009—and production is going up. But Stephan says that no one should applaud this trend, "unless Congress wants to put money into creating jobs for these people rather than just creating supply".
The proportion of people with science PhDs who get tenured academic positions in the sciences has been dropping steadily and industry has not fully absorbed the slack. The problem is most acute in the life sciences, in which the pace of PhD growth is biggest, yet pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries have been drastically downsizing in recent years. In 1973, 55% of US doctorates in the biological sciences secured tenure-track positions within six years of completing their PhDs, and only 2% were in a postdoc or other untenured academic position. By 2006, only 15% were in tenured positions six years after graduating, with 18% untenured.  Figures suggest that more doctorates are taking jobs that do not require a PhD. "It's a waste of resources," says Stephan. "We're spending a lot of money training these students and then they go out and get jobs that they're not well matched for."
The poor job market has discouraged some potential students from embarking on science PhDs, says Hal Salzman, a professor of public policy at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Nevertheless, production of US doctorates continues apace, fuelled by an influx of foreign students. Academic research was still the top career choice in a 2010 survey of 30,000 science and engineering PhD students and postdocs, says Henry Sauermann, who studies strategic management at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. Many PhD courses train students specifically for that goal. Half of all science and engineering PhD recipients graduating in 2007 had spent over seven years working on their degrees, and more than one-third of candidates never finish at all.
Some universities are now experimenting with PhD programmes that better prepare graduate students for careers outside academia. Anne Carpenter, a cellular biologist at the Broad Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is trying to create jobs for existing PhD holders, while discouraging new ones. When she set up her lab four years ago, Carpenter hired experienced staff scientists on permanent contracts instead of the usual mix of temporary postdocs and graduate students. "The whole pyramid scheme of science made little sense to me," says Carpenter. "I couldn't in good conscience churn out a hundred graduate students and postdocs in my career."
But Carpenter has struggled to justify the cost of her staff to grant-review panels. "How do I compete with laboratories that hire postdocs for $40,000 instead of a scientist for $80,000?" she asks. Although she remains committed to her ideals, she says that she will be more open to hiring postdocs in the future. 
Germany: The Progressive PhD 
Germany is Europe's biggest producer of doctoral graduates, turning out some 7,000 science PhDs in 2005. After a major redesign of its doctoral education programmes over the past 20 years, the country is also well on its way to solving the oversupply problem.
Traditionally, supervisors recruited PhD students informally and trained them to follow in their academic footsteps, with little oversight from the university or research institution. But as in the rest of Europe, the number of academic positions available to graduates in Germany has remained stable or fallen. So these days, a PhD in Germany is often marketed as advanced training not only for academia—a career path pursued by the best of the best—but also for the wider workforce.
Universities now play a more formal role in student recruitment and development, and many students follow structured courses outside the lab, including classes in presenting, report writing and other transferable skills. Just under 6% of PhD graduates in science eventually go into full-time academic positions, and most will find research jobs in industry, says Thorsten Wilhelmy, who studies doctoral education for the German Council of Science and Humanities in Cologne. "The long way to professorship in Germany and the relatively low income of German academic staff makes leaving the university after the PhD a good option," he says.
Thomas Jørgensen, who heads a programme to support and develop doctoral education for the European University Association, based in Brussels, is concerned that German institutions could push reforms too far, leaving students spending so long in classes that they lack time to do research for their thesis and develop critical-thinking skills. The number of German doctorates has stagnated over the past two decades, and Jørgensen worries about this at a time when PhD production is growing in China, India and other increasingly powerful economies. 
Poland: Expansion at a Cost 
Growth in PhD numbers among Europe's old guard might be waning, but some of the former Eastern bloc countries, such as Poland, have seen dramatic increases. In 1990–91, Polish institutions enrolled 2,695 PhD students. This figure rose to more than 32,000 in 2008–09 as the Polish government, trying to expand the higher-education system after the fall of Communism, introduced policies to reward institutions for enrolling doctoral candidates.
Despite the growth, there are problems. A dearth of funding for doctoral studies causes high drop-out rates, says Andrzej Kraśniewski, a researcher at Warsaw University of Technology and secretary-general of the Polish Rectors Conference, an association representing Polish universities. In engineering, more than half of students will not complete their PhDs, he says. The country's economic growth has not kept pace with that of its PhD numbers, so people with doctorates can end up taking jobs below their level of expertise. And Poland needs to collect data showing that PhDs from its institutions across the country are of consistent quality, and are comparable with the rest of Europe, says Kraśniewski. 
Still, in Poland as in most countries, unemployment for PhD holders is below 3%. "Employment prospects for holders of doctorates remain better than for other higher-education graduates," says Laudeline Auriol, author of an OECD report on doctorate holders between 1990 and 2006, who is now analysing doctoral-student data up to 2010. Still, a survey of scientists by Nature last year showed that PhD holders were not always more satisfied with their jobs than those without the degree, nor were they earning substantially more. 
Egypt: Struggle to Survive 
Egypt is the Middle East's powerhouse for doctoral studies. In 2009, the country had about 35,000 students enrolled in doctoral programmes, up from 17,663 in 1998. But funding has not kept up with demand. The majority comes through university budgets, which are already strained by the large enrolment of students in undergraduate programmes and postgraduate studies other than PhDs. Universities have started turning to international funding and collaborations with the private sector, but this source of funding remains very limited.
The deficit translates into shortages in equipment and materials, a lack of qualified teaching staff and poor compensation for researchers. It also means that more of the funding burden is falling on the students. The squeeze takes a toll on the quality of research, and creates tension between students and supervisors. "The PhD student here in Egypt faces numerous problems," says Mounir Hana, a food scientist and PhD supervisor at Minia University, who says that he tries to help solve them. "Unfortunately, many supervisors do not bother, and end up adding one more hurdle in the student's way." 
Graduates face a tough slog. As elsewhere, there are many more PhD holders in Egypt than the universities can employ as researchers and academics. The doctorate is frequently a means of climbing the civil-service hierarchy, but those in the private sector often complain that graduates are untrained in the practical skills they need, such as proposal writing and project management. Egyptian PhD holders also struggle to secure international research positions. Hana calls the overall quality of their research papers "mediocre" and says that pursuing a PhD is "worthless" except for those already working in a university. But the political upheaval in the region this year could bring about change: many academics who had left Egypt are returning, hoping to help rebuild and overhaul education and research. 
Few PhDs are trained elsewhere in the Middle East—less than 50 a year in Lebanon, for example. But several world-class universities established in the oil-rich Gulf States in recent years have increased demand for PhD holders. So far, most of the researchers have been 'imported' after receiving their degrees from Western universities, but Saudi Arabia and Qatar in particular have been building up their infrastructure to start offering more PhD programmes themselves. The effect will be felt throughout the region, says Fatma Hammad, an endocrinologist and PhD supervisor at Al-Azhar University in Cairo. "Many graduates are now turning to doctoral studies because there is a large demand in the Gulf States. For them, it is a way to land jobs there and increase their income," she says. 
India: PhDs Wanted 
In 2004, India produced around 5,900 science, technology and engineering PhDs, a figure that has now grown to some 8,900 a year. This is still a fraction of the number from China and the United States, and the country wants many more, to match the explosive growth of its economy and population. The government is making major investments in research and higher education—including a one-third increase in the higher-education budget in 2011–12—and is trying to attract investment from foreign universities. The hope is that up to 20,000 PhDs will graduate each year by 2020, says Thirumalachari Ramasami, the Indian government's head of science and technology. Those targets ought to be easy to reach: India's population is young, and undergraduate education is booming. But there is little incentive to continue into a lengthy PhD programme, and only around 1% of undergraduates currently do so. Most are intent on securing jobs in industry, which require only an undergraduate degree and are much more lucrative than the public-sector academic and research jobs that need postgraduate education. Students "don't think of PhDs now, not even master's—a bachelor's is good enough to get a job", says Amit Patra, an engineer at the Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur. 
Even after a PhD, there are few academic opportunities in India, and better-paid industry jobs are the major draw. "There is a shortage of PhDs and we have to compete with industry for that resource—the universities have very little chance of winning that game," says Patra. For many young people intent on postgraduate education, the goal is frequently to go to the United States or Europe. That was the course chosen by Manu Prakash, who went to MIT for his PhD and now runs his own experimental biophysics lab at Stanford University in California. "When I went through the system in India, the platform for doing long-term research I didn't feel was well-supported," he says.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Blog CLXXXII (182): "I Want My History TV!"

There is a new trend in the history business.  A number of history departments are creating promotional videos for their programs.  The purposes of these videos seem to vary a bit.  I suspect most of them are used at things like freshmen orientation sessions or college nights at high schools where universities recruit students.  Some do seem to be trying to attract undergraduates, but others seem to be selling their graduate programs.  Most, but by no means all, seem to be from private universities.  Some of these videos are hanging on departmental websites, but most are embedded on Youtube.com.

Regardless of their location, what they tell us is the public perception that the department would like to project to the outside world.

(Technical note: All of the embedded videos allow the viewer to expand to full screen.  The ones from USC and Princeton are hanging off the server for Blogger and the viewer is limited to a small version.  "In the Service of Clio" has added direct links to the websites where the original versions of these videos can be found and if the viewer wants to, they can expand to full screen.)

Department of History
Baylor University


Department of History
Brown University


Department of History
University of Delaware


Department of History
Harvard University

Department of History
Marquette University


Department of History
The Ohio State University


Department of History
University of Ottawa


Department of History

Department of History
video


Department of History
University of Utah


Department of History
Wesleyan University


Department of History
Valdosta State University

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Blog CLXXXI (181): The Raw Numbers

One thing leads to another.

After the posting of the raw number of Ph.D.s produced was made available, the question quickly became, how many Ph.D.s has every school produced, and how do they rank by sheer numbers.  I was attempting to avoid going through all the data that way, but in the end, I surrendered.  Below is a new set of rankings according simply to numbers of Ph.D.s placed in jobs.  With these raw numbers, no effort is made to assess the prestige of various schools.  I will provide some analysis at the end of these rankings. The number in bold is the history department's ranking using the raw numbers. The number in parenthesis is the ranking according Clauset, Arbesman, and Larremore.  The number on the right is the number of Ph.D.s that department has placed at other departments that award the history Ph.D.  I will provide some short analysis at the end.  The raw numbers are:

1
(1)
324
2
(2)
307
3
(7)
253
4
(3)
246
5
(6)
240
6
(4)
184
7
(11)
180
8
(12)
173
9
(5)
172
10
(13)
162
11
(10)
128
12
(9)
108
13
(15)
74
14
(25)
69
15
(24)
66
16
(14)
62
(19)
62
18
(23)
61
(29)
61
20
(16)
58
21
(31)
55
22
(22)
52
23
(21)
49
24
(8)
43
(33)
43
26
(57)
41
27
(20)
35
28
(30)
30
29
(38)
29
30
(36)
26
31
(17)
25
(27)
25
33
(48)
21
34
(18)
20
(41)
20
36
(40)
18
(42)
18
(59)
18
39
(46)
17
40
(35)
15
(37)
15
42
(32)
14
43
(44)
13
(52)
13
(56)
13
(58)
13
(68)
13
(110)
Jewish Theological Seminary of America
13
49
(78)
12
(63)
12
(64)
12
(75)
12
53
(34)
11
(49)
11
(134)
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
11
56
(26)
10
(28)
10
(53)
10
(54)
10
(90)
10
(99)
10
62
(39)
9
(60)
9
(71)
9
65
(47)
8
(65)
8
(70)
8
(83)
8
(94)
8
(96)
8
71
(61)
7
(67)
7
(69)
7
(77)
7
75
(73)
6
(78)
6
(86)
6
(91)
6
(106)
6
(109)
6
(113)
6
82
(45)
5
(50)
5
(84)
5
(85)
5
(89)
5
87
(51)
4
(62)
4
(81)
4
(87)
4
(97)
4
(107)
4
93
(76)
3
(80)
3
(82)
3
(100)
3
(105)
3
(116)
3
(118)
3
(119)
3
(122)
3
(125)
3
103
(43)
2
(66)
2
(72)
2
(79)
2
(88)
2
(92)
2
(93)
2
(98)
2
(101)
2
(102)
2
(103)
2
(104)
2
(114)
2
(121)
2
(124)
2
(127)
2
(128)
2
(132)
2
(136)
2
122
(74)
1
(95)
1
(111)
1
(112)
1
(115)
1
(117)
1
(120)
1
(123)
1
(126)
1
(133)
1
(140)
1
(143)
1
134
(108)
0
(129)
0
(130)
0
(131)
0
(135)
0
(137)
0
(138)
0
(139)
0
(141)
0
(142)
0
(144)
0

Configuring the data according to simply the number of Ph.D.s that a department has produced and placed basically confirms the findings of Clauset, Arbesman, and Larremore.  Many schools change position, but much of it was only one or two spots.  There are only a few dramatic changes: the Jewish Theological Seminary of America being the biggest example, but Ohio State and Texas made some significant movement upward.

There was also some movement at the very top levels of the rankings.  The members of the "Magic Eight" are a bit different.  The biggest difference is that Braendis dropped out of the top 20 altogether.  All in all, though, these changes strike me as quibbling.

The raw data shows that there is a steep hierarchy at work in the history business.  Even within the top eight it is clear that certain schools have far significant advantage over others.  There is a significant break between the second and third ranked schools of over 50 placements.  There is an even bigger gap between school number six and number seven.  There are two more big drops.  One is between schools 10 and 11 and the next is between number 12 and 13.

Even finishing in the top ten hides some major differences.  The number one school (Harvard in both configurations) has placed 324 of its graduates.  The number 10 school according to the raw numbers is UCLA, which has half the number of Harvard.  This step decline continues into the second ten.  At number 20, Brown has 58 placed alumni, which is only a third of the 162 UCLA Bruin Bears that have found employment.  This step decline continues in the third ten.  Michigan State has less than half of Brown's figures. 

As Clauset, Arbesman, and Larremore argued and this examination of the raw numbers confirms, there is a significant gap between the elite history department—whoever they may be—and the rest.