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Featured Profile—Duke University

Lewis SiegelA Study of Ph.D. Completion at Duke University
Communicator, Volume XXXVIII, Number 1 January/February 2005

by Lewis Siegel
Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School
Duke University

Over the past decade, Duke University and many other graduate
schools have endeavored to increase support for Ph.D. students and, at the same time, reduce the service demands so that they would have
the means to complete coursework and dissertation research in a reasonable period of time. As the amount of institutional support per
student increased, it became apparent that a substantial fraction was
being devoted to students who withdrew before completing their
Ph.D. program, and that more needed to be done to significantly
improve the completion rate if we were ever to justify the university
resources targeted to the graduate program as opposed to other
important needs of the university. In order to begin this process, we
undertook a study to determine the rates of Ph.D. completion in
each of our programs, using entering cohorts who had had sufficient
time to complete the degree in all disciplines. Because Duke's Ph.D.
programs are relatively small, we found it necessary to aggregate several years’ worth of entering classes, and, in the data to be presented in this paper, to further aggregate the data into broad disciplinary areas of the Graduate School---the humanities, social sciences, biological (including biomedical) sciences, physical (including computational) sciences, and engineering.


More information about Duke University's Ph.D. Completion Project is available via the Full Text of the Communicator article or Dr. Siegel's PowerPoint presentation.


The Featured Profile* section highlights partner universities that have developed creative and/or effective approaches to optimizing Ph.D. completion, particularly for underrepresented minorities and women. Featured Profiles may include details about the structure and design of the project, the shape and effectiveness of implementation, results of recent or ongoing data analyses, and/or information about notable project leaders. For more general profiles of each participating university (including contact information and a list of participating programs), please see Project Participants.

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*If you would like your university to be featured in this section, please contact Nathan Bell.

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