Yale PhD completion/attrition rate?

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Yale PhD completion/attrition rate?

Post by Dishsoap » Fri Feb 19, 2016 2:37 pm

Does anyone have any info? I'm trying to decide between Yale and Cornell, and one of the things that draws me to Cornell is that >80% of their entering PhD students eventually earn their PhD there. I'm not sure how many people fail out of Yale.

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Re: Yale PhD completion/attrition rate?

Post by cwr » Sat Feb 20, 2016 10:41 am

Not exactly what you're looking for, but this might be potentially useful information.

It looks like Cornell has a 39% 6-year completion rate (with a median time-to-degree of 6 years), where Yale has a 25% 6-year completion rate (with a median time-to-degree of 5.9 years). (Disclaimer: These numbers sound a bit squiffy to me, but perhaps the fact that the median is 5.9 years and the 6-year completion rate is only 25% indicates dropout? And likewise for Cornell's 39% 6-year with a median of 6 years to degree?)

You can compare these numbers to somewhere like Berkeley 36% 6-year (6.3 median T2D) or UIUC 27% (6.3 yrs), where it seems that –- at least Cornell -- does a much better job. For context, Princeton has the best numbers I've found in this regard, with 72% 6-year completion rate and a 5.2 yr median time-to-degree.

Just one more number to throw out there: you can also look at the number of people with a job at graduation. Yale reports 81% of graduates having signed a job contract somewhere by graduation (roughly an 80:20 split between academia/industry), while Cornell has 79% of graduates in contracts at graduation (about 3/4 in academia, 2% in gov't jobs, the rest in industry). These numbers are quite good, on par with Berkeley, Stanford, and MIT.

Source: http://www.phds.org/rankings/physics (click on any given program to go to their page, then click on the "Outcomes" tab)
Disclaimer: This data is at least as old as 2010, so it might disfavor somewhere like UCSB that has risen to top-tier level in recent years, but I think it gives a decent picture, especially of places like Yale and Cornell that are more-or-less known quantities.

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