Top Ph.D. Programs, Shrinking--including history





In March, a few institutions -- such as Emory and Columbia Universities -- announced plans to shrink the enrollment of new Ph.D. students this fall. Now it appears that a number of other universities, generally private institutions that have some of the most well regarded Ph.D. programs around, are also getting smaller. At some, but not all, of the institutions, the shrinkage will be greatest in the humanities....

... Emilio H. Kouri, an associate professor who is chair of the graduate admissions committee [at the University of Chicago], is worried. This fall, the department will enroll 17 new doctoral students, the first time the number will have been below 20 in at least 15 years. Kouri said that the norm of late has been mid-20s, and that before the university committed to fully funding all admitted students, the department was admitting 40-plus students some years.

He said that it is "not yet clear whether this will become the new way of things," but he assumes it will be for at least another year, if not longer. "History is complicated because you have area specialties and we've long been committed to maintaining the strength not just in U.S. or European history, but in medieval or Latin American history, and once you start reducing class size, that becomes a real problem," he said.

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