Occidental Ranks High in Doctoral Recipients
Occidental is one of the country’s top producers of students who go on to receive doctorates in science and engineering, generating the same number of doctorates per 100 bachelor’s degrees conferred as UC Berkeley, according to a recent report from the National Science Foundation.
The latest results from 1997-2006 confirm a longstanding trend among members of the Oberlin 50, a group of small private liberal arts colleges that includes Occidental. “These schools have long outproduced (by yield) even the research universities,” the report states.Occidental was ranked 41st among the top 50 producers of students who went on to receive science and engineering doctorates, averaging 5.7 Ph.D.s per 100 undergraduate degrees conferred. Top producer on the list, which included both large research universities and small liberal arts colleges, was Caltech, with 25.2 doctorates per 100 undergraduate degrees.
Overall, private institutions, whether liberal arts colleges or research universities, out-produce public institutions in this area, the report says.
“Our success in preparing and encouraging students to pursue advanced degrees is directly linked to our extensive undergraduate research program,” says Chemistry Professor Chris Craney, who until earlier this year served as director of undergraduate and sponsored research.
“In our program, students work closely over an extended time period in a mentor-protege relationship with individual faculty members to investigate original research questions,” Craney says. “Providing this opportunity to students from widely diverse backgrounds is a hallmark of Occidental's program and is a major contributor to the success noted in the NSF survey.”
Beginning with a few faculty and students in the biology and chemistry departments more than 50 years ago, today Occidental’s undergraduate research program has expanded to include 250 students during the academic year and 125 students during the summer. The program is supported by funding from the Paul K. and Evalyn E. Cook Richter Trusts, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Kenneth T. and Eileen L. Norris Foundation, the Fletcher Jones Foundation, and the John Stauffer Charitable Trust.
Thirty-four Occidental students were invited to present their findings at the 2008 National Undergraduate Conference on Research -- a total greater than Harvard, Caltech, UCLA, USC and Berkeley combined.