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Objective Measures of Ph.D. Program Quality in Agricultural Economics

Gregory M. Perry
Review of Agricultural Economics
Vol. 17, No. 3 (Sep., 1995), pp. 395-408
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1349582
Page Count: 14
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Objective Measures of Ph.D. Program Quality in Agricultural Economics
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Abstract

Many studies have ranked graduate programs in agricultural economics. Most have relied on departmental publications, publication records of graduates, or subjective assessments. This study focuses on four measures of quality for 18 of the top Ph.D. programs in the United States. These four quality measures are: (1) Graduate Record Exam (GRE) and undergraduate grade point average (GPA) scores of students recently entering these Ph.D. programs; (2) refereed journal articles of faculty during the 1991 to 1992 period; (3) rankings provided by current Ph.D. students of 14 different aspects of their graduate program; and (4) placement data for graduates between 1991 and 1993. Twelve of the 18 departments provided GRE and GPA data for their students. Based on these data, students at UC-Berkeley and Cornell ranked substantially above students at the other schools. Florida students also ranked high, but a small sample size renders this conclusion more tenuous. Survey results for the other six schools suggest Michigan State and Stanford students may also belong in this group of three. The remaining schools were similar. UC-Berkeley, lowa State, Minnesota, and Ohio State had the greatest number of publications per faculty member. Iowa State was the top program in terms of articles in economics journals, with Minnesota and Ohio State faculty leading the publication output in noneconomics journals. Graduate students at Maryland, Michigan State, and Purdue seemed most satisfied with their programs. Graduate student placements in academic institutions were highest (in percentage terms) for graduates of Oregon State and Penn State. Cornell, Florida, Maryland, and Ohio State placed 50 percent or more of their domestic students in government or institute positions. A greater percentage of international graduates were placed in government and private sector positions.

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