Third-tier Grads Do Better Than Mid-ranked Grads

Graduating from a mid-ranked university may put you at even more of a disadvantage than finishing a life sciences doctorate at a lower-ranked school, according to research by Laurel Smith-Doerr, an assistant professor of sociology at Boston University. Smith Doerr sampled 2,062 life scientists who were on average 5 years out of grad school. As she reports in the June issue of the Bulletin of Science, Technology and Society, those who had completed their PhDs at elite universities were mu

Kathleen McGowan
Nov 1, 2006

Graduating from a mid-ranked university may put you at even more of a disadvantage than finishing a life sciences doctorate at a lower-ranked school, according to research by Laurel Smith-Doerr, an assistant professor of sociology at Boston University. Smith Doerr sampled 2,062 life scientists who were on average 5 years out of grad school. As she reports in the June issue of the Bulletin of Science, Technology and Society, those who had completed their PhDs at elite universities were much more likely to attain a supervisory role early in their careers. No surprise there, but she also found that researchers from lower-ranked schools (scored between 50 and 200 by the National Research Council) also fared well. Worst off were those who had graduated from schools ranked between 11 and 50, with a 35 percent decrease in odds of being in a supervisory position.

Interviews suggest that "people from mid-ranked schools...

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