Social Sciences & Humanities Methodology

Doctoral programs rankings are based on the results of peer assessments.

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Rankings of doctoral programs in the social sciences and humanities are based solely on the results of peer assessment surveys sent to academics in each discipline. Each school (or, in the case of psychology, each institutional unit) offering a doctoral program was sent two surveys. The questionnaires asked respondents to rate the academic quality of the program at each institution on a 5-point scale: outstanding (5); strong (4); good (3); adequate (2); or marginal (1). Those who were unfamiliar with a particular school's programs were asked to select "don't know." Scores for each school were determined by computing a trimmed mean (eliminating the two highest and two lowest reponses) of the ratings of all respondents who rated that school; average scores were then sorted in descending order.

Surveys were conducted in the fall of 2004 by Synovate. Questionnaires were sent to department heads and directors of graduate studies (or, alternatively, a senior faculty member who teaches graduate students) at schools that had granted a total of five or more doctorates in each discipline during the five-year period from 1998 through 2002, as indicated by the 2003 Survey of Earned Doctorates. The surveys asked about Ph.D. programs in economics (response rate: 38 percent); English (39 percent); history (33 percent); political science (40 percent); psychology (23 percent); and sociology (50 percent).

For criminology Ph.D. programs, surveys were conducted in the fall of 2004 by Synovate. Lists of schools and individuals surveyed were provided by the American Association of Doctoral Programs in Criminology and Criminal Justice in the summer of 2004. Four surveys were sent to each program. The response rate was 88 percent.

The American Psychological Association supplied the names of the psychology programs. As noted in the psychology table, some schools are listed more than once because separate doctoral programs are offered in different university units. Surveys were sent to the department chair or dean of the school of psychology and the director of graduate studies in each institutional unit that offered a doctoral program. Unless otherwise noted in parentheses, the psychology program ranked is located in the department of psychology. Accredited doctoral programs in clinical psychology are ranked separately in the health professions section.

Specialty rankings are based on nominations by department heads and directors of graduate studies at peer schools from the list of schools surveyed. They ranked up to 10 programs in each area. Those with the most votes appear here.