CUNY Graduate Center

Doctoral Department in Mathematics


US News and World Report 2010

CUNY's Rank: According to the US News and World Report, the CUNY Graduate Center Department of Mathematics is ranked as 36 in the United States in 2010, along with Carnegie Mellon, University of Illinois in Chicago and UC Davis. This ranking is based on the opinions of academic experts in mathematics and is based on the quality of the department's faculty, research and students.

Local Departments: Examining the listing of doctoral departments in New York State we see NYU and Columbia tied for first place (tenth in the US), then Cornell (13), followed by SUNY Stony Brook (24) and then the CUNY Graduate Center (36). RPI is ranked 56 in the US, followed by U Rochester at 63, SUNY Albany at 83 and SUNY Binghamton at 89. In New Jersey, we see Princeton listed as one of the top departments in the US followed by Rutgers New Brunswick at 20 and NJIT at 98.

NRC Rankings 2010

Basic Information: The NRC Rankings are based on data collected in 2006. Unlike the US News and World Report, they did not ask specialists to rank the programs but based their determinations on data like numbers of papers produced per year by faculty, admission standards and graduation rates. Each department was then given a range of rankings.

NRC Regression Ranking of CUNY: According to the NRC Regression Ranking based on 20 variables covering research productivity, student outcomes, student support and diversity, the CUNY Graduate Center is ranked 57-95. In 1996, when the rankings were determined by faculty opinion surveys we had been ranked 30 tied with Johns Hopkins University. To better understand this new lower ranking we need to investigate the data that contributed to the ranking.

PhDs dot Org: At, people can enter their own criteria and obtain rankings of programs using this criteria and the NRC data. The rankings are given in ranges. Research Productivity Ranking of CUNY: If one enters Research Productivity and obtains the rankings, CUNY is ranked 71-96. This is a drop from a ranking as 30th by the NRC in 1996 and appears to be a consequence of the fact that research productivity was determined by publications per faculty member, citations, funding and awards, rather than an assessment of the quality of the published work. The publication rate is listed as only 0.7 papers per faculty per year. This seems unverifiably low but may reflect the fact that from 1996-2006 there was very little hiring in the department. It could also possibly reflect the fact that CUNY has very few applied mathematicians in the department.

Since 2006 some of CUNY's less active faculty have retired and the department has brought a number of new dynamic faculty on board. One of those young faculty has been awarded a Sloan, while another has won a CAREER award. One of the top notch older faculty has recently been awarded the Wolf Prize and many faculty now have research grants , so CUNY should recover its ranking based on increased research productivity and awards. The publication rate in the past 5 years is close to 1.4 (double the rate reported by the NRC for 2000-2006). Research Productivity Ranking of Local Departments: Other departments in New York State ranked by the NRC are NYU (which ranked at 1-2 in the US for research productivity tied with Princeton), Columbia (ranked 4-22), U Rochester (13-59), RPI (21-57), Stony Brook (19-59), Cornell (21-55), Syracuse (33-79), CUNY (71-96), SUNY Binghamton (85-109), and SUNY Albany (106-120). In New Jersey, there is Princeton (1-2), Rutgers (9-32), and Stevens (111-124). Student Outcomes at CUNY: The NRC ranks CUNY according to facts like average quantitative GRE score and time to degree for the department's students. CUNY is a university committed to an open and affordable education. The average quantitative GRE of their admitted doctoral students is only 751. Only 27% of their first year students receive full financial support and that 27% have high GRE's and strong backgrounds. They allow other students to take advantage of the low in state tuition to try to prove themselves. Observe that 30% of the students do graduate in 6 years, proving that some of the initially unfunded students are completing their degrees in timely manner. Only 88% of the students are reported as full time. Unfunded students will often work and become part time students towards the ends of their degrees. Naturally they slow down, so that the average time to degree is 8.1 years. All these factors contribute to a lower ranking, when in fact they all reflect the openness of the department.

Examining the alumni over the past five years, the majority decide to remain in NYC taking academic positions at local colleges. Others are still single and have the freedom to travel. Both the American and foreign students take postdocs around the world. In 2008, one of the CUNY students earned an international NSF postdoc to work in Warwick England. More recently, one of the graduates was awarded an NSF posctdoc to work at Northwestern University and another has a postdoc at UC Berkeley.

Women at CUNY: The mathematics department currently has six women in the department.

This report was written in January 2011.