Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
brainsbrainsbrains

Higher ranked schools vs. schools you'd prefer

Recommended Posts

Does anyone know anything about the value of the ranking of a school? Like, a top 50 psych program vs. one that doesn't make the top 100? As far as getting hired as a professor after earning your PhD, the name/quality of the school will matter, right?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, the name of the school will matter a lot, as will the reputation of your supervisor. I believe most professors will have come from programs ranked above the top 50. That doesn't mean it's impossible if you don't go to such a school, but it's an uphill battle - you will need something else on your CV to make you stand out. You may be stuck in teaching positions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think this needs to be a "vs" thing. Depending on your career goals, you should factor rank into preference. Also, often, rank is correlated with preference (for example, the things I prefer in a school generally cost a lot of money that only high ranking schools can provide). But ultimately, if it comes down to you choosing a place that you feel intuitively is a good fit and would make you happy versus a place that is high ranked but would make you unhappy, go with your preference/gut feeling!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for the advice!

 

The issue is, I prefer the program of Program A and it is top 50 (but barely). I would be happy there. However, I significantly prefer the professor (and research they do) at Program B (which is barely top 100). I know Program A's a better program, but working with the professor at Program B is kind of my dream. But my biggest dream is to be tenure track.

 

MathCat, do you know where I can learn more about that (about possibility of getting tenure-track in a top 100 program?)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had a similar issue a week ago: I got into 2 schools, a top 10 program and a barely top 100 program. At the top 10, my PI was controlling, I wasn't gonna get to do research I wanted to do anytime soon, they didn't really train students in more 'experimental' methods, and the funding was crap. At the top 100 program, my PI wanted to foster my projects, she guaranteed a ton of supervision, I would get training in all methodologies, the lab publishes at roughly the same rate as the top 10 lab, and (surprisingly) the funding was twice that of the top 10 program. I turned the top 10 program down today and accepted the top 100 one. My reasoning is that I figured I would be the most productive in a place where I would be the most happy (fit in the best).     

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's quite a bit of evidence - both anecdotal and scientific - that shows that the reputation of your program factors a lot into academic placement, and in fact may be the most important part of your placement (more important than publications, even).

 

Here is a recent article in Science Advances about the role of prestige in faculty hiring in three very disparate fields (computer science, business, and history; the point was to display that this is a wide-ranging issue that cuts across academic fields). The authors found that people were much more likely to get faculty positions if they were coming from well-reputed departments; that people rarely went to departments above their own department's level of prestige/reputation; and that the majority of faculty actually came from a small concentration of departments. Here are two more reader-friendly summaries of the findings.

 

Clauset and his colleagues found that only 25 percent of doctoral degree-granting institutions across the country produce 71 to 86 percent of tenure-track faculty, depending on the field. The study also showed that the top 10 schools in each of the fields studied—computer science, business and history—produced between 1.6 and 3 times more faculty than the second tier of 10 schools and between 2.3 and 5.6 times more faculty than the third tier of 10 schools.

 

There was also a recent post that I can't find right now in which someone posted a 2007 study specifically within psychology, about how the placement rates of psychology PhD recipients were associated with a number of factors. While publications definitely mattered, the factor that seemed to matter the most was the prestige/reputation/rank of the department.

 

Honestly, this isn't very different from what anyone in the field would tell you, it just quantifies it/provides some more aggregated evidence for it. But you can also see this by perusing the websites of departments in which you might like to teach and noticing where people got their PhDs.

 

So does ranking matter? Yes, although perhaps not necessarily the precise place on the U.S. News or NRC lists - it's more about the program's reputation amongst scholars that matters. But that can have a big impact on where you find employment later. A lot of people say it's more about the advisor, but the top advisors are more likely to be at the top departments anyway. Of course you do need to be productive, but the top students at the top departments are going to be being productive, too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's also this article that's relevant:

 

Stenstrom, D. M., Curtis, M., & Iyer, R. (2013). School Rankings, Department Rankings, and Individual Accomplishments What Factors Predict Obtaining Employment After the PhD?. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 8(2), 208-217

Edited by doefficient

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One thing to consider at least for Clinical Psychology programs is that many people who go the tenure-track route complete not just an internship but also a postdoc. Thus, you have two more opportunities to add the prestige element to your vita. Going to an average doctoral program with the right mentor and fit may end up with you being happier and more productive in the long run. This will be key to being competitive for internship and beyond. Sometimes the people who are most successful on the job market and who stand out when it comes time to review applications for TT positions are people who went to the programs that aren't typically thought of as prestigious. There is something to be said for people who can demonstrate upward mobility and generate sound science despite having fewer resources. Just some things to consider when weighing the prestige of a school with fit and mentorship.

Edited by Member1928

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for all the advice. I'm not liking how this sounds for me. :( I want to go work with the top 100 program professor *so* badly, but the top 50 program is higher ranked, and I'll still be happy there. Ugh. This is too difficult.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have an even more confusing question, if anyone would like to try answering it. :P

 

In terms of getting a professor position, would a clinical psychologist be preferred over an experimental psychologist? Assuming equal research productivity, would a clinical psychologist from a lower-ranked school have the "upper hand" or an experimental psychologist from a higher-ranked school?

 

Edit: assuming both candidates do research in the field of mental health.

Edited by Anoniemous

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have an even more confusing question, if anyone would like to try answering it. :P

 

In terms of getting a professor position, would a clinical psychologist be preferred over an experimental psychologist? Assuming equal research productivity, would a clinical psychologist from a lower-ranked school have the "upper hand" or an experimental psychologist from a higher-ranked school?

 

Edit: assuming both candidates do research in the field of mental health.

I don't think the clinical gives you an advantage in these situations. I don't think it makes a difference whether you're clinical or experimental, unless the job description specifies the type of psychologist wanted.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have an even more confusing question, if anyone would like to try answering it. :P

 

In terms of getting a professor position, would a clinical psychologist be preferred over an experimental psychologist? Assuming equal research productivity, would a clinical psychologist from a lower-ranked school have the "upper hand" or an experimental psychologist from a higher-ranked school?

 

Edit: assuming both candidates do research in the field of mental health.

 

I think that generally clinical programs prefer clinical psychologists and that experimental programs prefer experimental psychologists.. at least that's what I've seen in programs in Canada mostly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.