Survey of Earned Doctorates ranks ASU No. 20 in nationwide census

Visual and performing arts degrees chart at the top of the list

Visual Communication Design graduation exhibition at the Heard Building in Phoenix

The Visual Communication Design graduation exhibition at the Heard Building in Phoenix.


Arizona State University ranked No. 20 in the nation for the number of recipients of research doctorates — up from 21 last year as reported by the Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED).

This annual census, conducted by the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, collects data on individuals who have received doctoral degrees from accredited institutions throughout the United States.

The survey questions focused on demographics, previous educational experiences and career trajectories post-graduation. Since the late 1950s, this data collection has provided a comprehensive assessment of degree trends and characteristics of the doctoral population.

ASU has risen in the past several years from No. 42 in 2019 to the current ranking of No. 20, ahead of Yale, Johns Hopkins and Duke universities.

The Chronicle of Higher Education in Washington, D.C., analyzed the survey results to find that the number of earned doctorates nationwide has been declining. Since the pandemic, there were 3,000 fewer PhDs awarded overall compared with the previous academic year. Despite those results, the outlook is not entirely negative.

When looking at the numbers across disciplines, ASU stands out among the ranks, coming in at No. 1 of 20 in visual and performing arts, ahead of UCLA, Harvard, and Yale, and No. 4 of 20 in interdisciplinary PhDs. ASU also was high-performing in non-sciences and business, ranking at Nos. 11 and 16, respectively.

“Last academic year, ASU awarded 614 doctoral degrees,'' said Elizabeth Wentz, vice provost and dean of the Graduate College. “Our improved ranking reflects what our students and faculty are doing to advance groundbreaking research and discovery. This is important because these data are often relied upon by universities and government agencies when developing new programs and allocating resources to current programs.”

Review the full rankings and the executive summary on the SED website

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