University News

Grad School sees small decline in overall applications

One percent fewer prospective graduate students sought admission to Brown

By
Senior Staff Writer
Thursday, February 14, 2013

Compared to last year, the University has received fewer applications to Ph.D. programs and more applications to master’s programs.

Applications to the Graduate School decreased by 1 percent this year, wrote Graduate School Director of Communications Beverly Larson in an email to The Herald.

While applications to the University’s Ph.D. programs dipped 5 percent, applications to master’s programs received thus far have risen 8 percent compared to last year, Larson wrote. Deadlines for master’s programs vary, so applications to some programs could still come in, she added.

Some programs, such as the master’s program for engineering, have already reached their deadline for accepting applications. Others, like the master’s program in American studies, have deadlines up to July 1 “or until the class is full,” according to the Graduate School’s admission site.

It is too early to say how many applicants will be admitted this year overall, Larson wrote, but she added that Graduate School administrators expect the number of admitted students to be similar to last year’s.

In a survey of the class of 2011 conducted by the Center for Careers and Life After Brown, 22 percent of respondents indicated they planned on heading straight to graduate or professional school following their graduation from the University. Director of CareerLAB Andrew Simmons said information about the class of 2012’s post-graduation plans should be released around April. But he said the percent of Brown students in the class of 2012 headed to graduate and professional schools will probably be consistent with past years, somewhere between 23 and 25 percent.

“It may go up a little bit in times of economic crisis,” Simmons said.

The Graduate School anticipates receiving notice by April 15 from admitted applicants as to whether they will attend the University, Larson wrote.

The Graduate School works with department chairs and graduate study directors to accept varying numbers of students depending on each department’s size, she added.

While the number of applications dipped for spots in the Graduate School, the overall number of students taking the Graduate Record Examination in 2012 experienced a much larger drop of 18 percent from last year’s total — falling from about 800,000 to 655,000.

It is difficult to tie the number of tests taken with applications received in a given year, since GRE test scores remain valid for five years, Larson wrote in an email to The Herald last year.

Adith Ramamurti ’13 applied to various graduate schools to pursue a postdoctoral degree in theoretical physics. While Ramamurti said the applications were “self-explanatory,” he said he was unaware of the extent of standardized testing in the admission process, adding he did not realize he had to take the GRE so early in the cycle.

“I hadn’t thought about grad school back in the spring,” he said. “The physics department and (the University) hadn’t put together any information sessions to tell you what you had to do.”

“Ph.D. and master’s programs are all over the map,” Simmons said, adding that there is no uniform procedure for giving information to graduate school applicants about the process, given the differences between programs.

Ramamurti said he anticipates hearing back this month and said he had friends at Brown who have already begun hearing back from graduate schools to which they applied.

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