NRC University Rankings 2012

As an undergraduate, there are a number of lists that rank colleges and can be used to help you decide between all of the schools you’re considering. However, there are fewer resources available to post-graduate students, especially those considering doctorate programs. The National Research Council, or NRC, compiles one of the best rankings available. While this list should just be one piece of the research you do to find the best program for your educational and career goals, it is a great start in discovering what programs from across the country have to offer.

About the National Research Council

The NRC is a part of the United States National Academies, which is composed of the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Sciences, and the Institute of Medicine. It was first formed in the early 1900s to develop technologies for use in war, but after World War I was over, the organization became unaffiliated with the military.

Unlike many college rankings, the NRC doesn’t compile a new list of programs every year. The last report was released in 1995, and about a decade after that, they began compiling information to update the list. A new version of the list hasn’t yet been released, but the NRC have confirmed that there are around 200 programs participating in surveys and information-gathering to compile a new list.

Because this list is only updated occasionally, instead of being updated every year, the organization is able to really fine-tune the methodology used to compile each list. In order to get a better understanding of what is most important in a program, the NRC sent surveys to a number of PhD-level professors to get an understanding of the characteristics that provide the best education for students.

Ranking Methodology

In addition to surveying faculty members, the NRC also gathers data from the institution, each individual department or program of study, and the students. Select faulty members are also asked to rate other programs in their field, so peer assessment is considered in the final rankings of the colleges. The data collected from all of these surveys falls into three distinct categories:

  • Research Activity
  • Student Support and Outcomes
  • Diversity of Academic Environment

Some of the individual characteristics making up these categories include employment of students after graduation, research being doing by the school, and publications by professors. These individual characteristics are weighted based on how the professors rated their importance.

In the past, the final lists released by the NRC haven’t been rankings in the traditional sense that they provide a list of colleges from best to worst. Instead, the programs are rated on a scale, like you’d find with a movie rating or restaurant rating. However, a number of other organizations and individuals have further broken down the information provided to make clear ranking lists, based on specific factors in the NRC data. All of these can be very helpful to you when you’re learning about the different programs available for a doctorate in your field.

Featured Online Universities in America

The Internet has revolutionized education so that now you can earn a degree entirely online from the comfort of your home. This is perfect for working professionals or anyone who wants to get ahead in a career without having to go to a physical campus everyday.

University of Phoenix is world-renowned for being the largest online university. The University boasts dozens of degree programs at all levels that students can choose from. University of Phoenix has produced thousands of graduates in fields such as nursing, education, health care, and information technology. In addition to its online access, the University has campuses in over 100 locations.
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Kaplan is organized into ten different academic schools, including Arts & Sciences, Business, Criminal Justice, Education, Health Sciences, IS & Technology, Legal Studies, Nursing, Continuing Education, and Concord Law School. All told, Kaplan offers more than 125 degrees and programs both off- and online, with more than 70 campus-based locations nationwide.
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In addition to a host of options for students needing to transfer existing bachelor's and master's coursework into one of its more-than three dozen degree programs, Post University also welcomes military personnel to join its student body. Post offers detailed opportunities for veterans, those participating in active duty, as well as military dependent students.
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Learn to be highly effective in today’s global business environment and adapt to its rapid changes as a student of Forbes™ School of Business at Ashford University. Your curriculum embraces the technical knowledge and critical thinking skills you need to communicate ideas in a collaborative environment.
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For students looking for flexible and affordable online education, Walden University offers both. As a leading accredited online university for more than 40 years, Walden has more than 42,500 students, from all 50 states and more than 100 countries. Nearly 85 percent of Walden students are satisfied with their university, and would be likely to recommend Walden to others.
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American InterContinental University, also known as AIU, is a private school accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association. Founded in 1970 as the American College of Applied Arts, AIU today has seven campuses in the US and UK and runs its online program out of its Chicago offices. AIU offers degree programs in several subjects, including healthcare, business, education, criminal justice, and more.
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Grand Canyon University was founded in 1949 as Grand Canyon College, an Arizona Southern Baptist school. (It reached university status in 1989.) Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association, GCU is typically featured among the Top 10 online colleges as ranked by The Online Education Database (OEDb).
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Capella University was founded in 1991 by Stephen Shank, the former CEO of Tonka, who felt that working adults were underserved by traditional brick-and-mortar universities. While their offices are located in downtown Minneapolis, being an online university, the majority of learning takes place outside of campus and instead via the Internet. Their motto: "Knowledge is solving problems no one else can."
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