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Purdue Tops among Big Ten, R1 Institutional Peers in Conferring STEM-based Doctorates, Master’s Degrees to Black Students

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The U.S. News & World Report’s latest rankings for the nation’s top graduate programs point to Purdue University’s strengths in equipping the next generation of leaders in the STEM fields.

Further, they show Purdue’s underlying progress to diversify the racial makeup of its graduate student ranks, enriching the university’s research and learning enterprise and enhancing the powerful link between diversity, excellence and academic opportunity, Purdue officials say.

During the five-year period that ended in spring 2020, Purdue conferred the most doctoral degrees to Black graduate students – compared with its peer R1 research institutions nationally and in the Big Ten – in the disciplines of chemistry, computer science, engineering-related technology, the physical sciences, statistics and veterinary medicine, according to a Purdue analysis compiled from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System.

“In keeping with our land-grant mission that’s deeply rooted in the intrinsic connection between diversity and academic excellence as well as the principles of access and equity, Purdue has led not just the Big Ten but our R1 institutional peers in conferring the most doctoral degrees in many of our STEM programs the past five years,” said John Gates, Purdue’s vice provost for diversity and inclusion.

An R1 designation is for universities that reach certain benchmarks in research activity and funding as set by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.

Purdue’s communication, journalism and related program also was tops among the university’s R1 and Big Ten peers for the number of postbaccalaureate certificates conferred to Black graduate students during this five-year period, the data show.

Additionally, Purdue ranked second among R1 and Big Ten peer universities for the number of Ph.D.s granted to Black students in agricultural engineering for this period, the Purdue-IPEDS analysis shows.

In those same two groups, Purdue ranked among the top five in the number of doctorates granted to Black students in mathematics; computer and information sciences; and agricultural, animal, plant and veterinary sciences.

Effort boosts those pursuing master’s degrees, too

For the number of master’s degrees awarded to Black students, Purdue was in the top five among its peers nationally in engineering; agricultural engineering; aerospace and astronautical engineering; veterinary biomedical and clinical sciences; soil sciences; air transportation, transportation and materials moving; and apparel and textiles.

And in the Big Ten, Purdue ranked among the top five for master’s degrees granted to Black students in the engineering, engineering-related technology, transportation and materials moving, and veterinary biomedical and clinical sciences categories, the IPEDS data show.

At the same time, for all bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees conferred to Black students by peer R1 institutions, Purdue’s gender breakdown of female-to-male ratio graduates was nearly 1-to-1, vs. the national average at almost a 2-to-1, female-to-male ratio for this period.

During this same period, enrollment of underrepresented minorities in Purdue’s graduate programs has surged 45% to 1,156 in Spring 2020 from 798 in Fall 2017.

“We are proud of the significant progress Purdue has made in becoming a leader in attracting and ensuring the academic success of Black graduate student scholars,” said Linda Mason, dean of the Graduate School at Purdue. “Yet, we also know there is more work to do in providing greater learning and research opportunities for our entire university community.”

For fall 2021, Purdue’s overall graduate student enrollment reached an all-time high of 11,613, up 16% from 2020 and 43% over the last decade.


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