Saturday, September 20th, 2014

Bill Powers says UT places second only to Berkeley nationally in PhDs awarded each year

Bill Powers, president of the University of Texas at Austin, boasted about the university's number of PhDs awarded annually during his Sept. 27, 2012, "State of the University" address (Austin American-Statesman photo, Jay Janner).
Bill Powers, president of the University of Texas at Austin, boasted about the university's number of PhDs awarded annually during his Sept. 27, 2012, "State of the University" address (Austin American-Statesman photo, Jay Janner).

In his September 2012 "State of the University" address, the president of the University of Texas said the Austin campus is annually close to first in the nation in bestowing very advanced degrees.

Bill Powers said: "On the teaching side, a key indicator of our ‘business plan’ is the number of undergraduate and graduate degrees we confer each year. We confer more PhDs each year than any other university in America except" the University of California, Berkeley, he said.

Nearly No. 1 each year?

That was so in 2009-10, according to a federal tabulation cited by university officials. UT-Austin’s conferral of 857 doctoral degrees that year placed it second nationally to Berkeley, which bestowed 891.

According to the same tabulation, an institution dedicated to online education, Minnesota-based Capella University, placed third in 2009-10, awarding 841 doctorates. Traditional universities rounded out the top 10.

And other years?

From 2003-04 through 2008-09, Berkeley ranked first or second nationally in PhDs granted.

But  UT-Austin’s national rankings fluctuated.

In 2005-06, UT-Austin placed first nationally, besting Berkeley. In each of the other earlier years, UT landed third to sixth nationally. Most recently, UT-Austin bestowed 801 PhDs in 2010-11, placing third nationally behind Berkeley (920) and Capella (819).

Given these ups and downs, we rated Powers’ statement -- which said UT-Austin ranked second to Berkeley each year -- as Mostly False. See the full review to the right.