Website Names the Nation’s 50 Best Women’s Studies Programs

50 Best Women's Studies ProgramsRecently, WIAReport published a post reporting on selections of the Best Women’s Colleges in the United States. A second WIAReport post discussed the selections for the Best Colleges and Universities for Women in the United States.

Now the website has published its rankings of the Best Women’s Studies Programs at U.S. colleges and universities. According to the website, the editors “collated and compared the academic reputation, student satisfaction, affordability, and average financial aid packages of Women’s Studies programs across the country to create a definitive ranking of the nation’s fifty best undergraduate programs.” It is not clear if CollegeChoice is referring to the school’s overall academic reputation and retention rates (student satisfaction) or just the academic reputation and retention rates of students enrolled in women’s studies program. We do know that generally undergraduate financial aid packages are awarded by colleges and universities, not academic departments.

CollegeChoice says it produced the list of the best women’s studies program by “thorough research and extensive data aggregation.” This may be so but it seems that if  a school has a women’s studies degree program and has a lot of money, it ends up at the top of the list. A more comprehensive analysis could have included data on the credentials of the faculty in the women’s studies program, citation rankings of the scholarship of the faculty in women’s studies, number of women’s studies courses offered compared to the number of women on campus, number of books published by faculty on women or gender studies topics, breadth of courses offered in women’s studies across academic disciplines etc.

In any event, for what it’s worth, Harvard and Yale finished in the top two spots in the rankings followed by seven high-ranking and wealthy liberals arts colleges. Wellesley College in Massachusetts was the highest-rated women’s college, in ninth place on the CollegeChoice rankings. Smith College and Barnard College are the only other women’s colleges to make the list of the 50 best women’s studies programs. The first 27 positions on the CollegeChoice rankings all belong to high-ranking and well-endowed private colleges and universities. The University of California, Berkeley sits in 28th place.

Filed Under: Research/StudyWomen's Studies

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