English French German Italian Portuguese Russian Spanish

St. John's Tops List for PhDs

St. John's College

June, 8, 2017


St. John’s College was ranked first in the nation for graduating alumni who receive PhDs in the humanities, beating out every other liberal arts college in the United States.

The college’s two campuses, which are in Annapolis, Maryland, and Santa Fe, New Mexico, are both in the top 1% of colleges with alumni who earn doctorates in the humanities: the college’s Annapolis campus has the highest rate in the academic discipline, and the Santa Fe campus has the fourth-highest rate. The humanities include history, classics, literature, and world languages.

“For as long as I can remember, we have been in the top tier of this particular measure—but being the highest ranked college in the nation is remarkable,” says St. John’s Annapolis President Christopher Nelson. “This is further confirmation that St. John's College contributes to a student's desire to learn and achieve at the highest levels in the fields of their interest.”

In the social sciences, both campuses rank in the top 2% of colleges that graduate alumni who earn doctorates in the discipline. The social sciences include economics, political science, policy analysis, international relations, linguistics and sociology.

Across all academic disciplines, both campuses rank in the top 5% of colleges whose alumni earn doctoral degrees: the Annapolis campus is in the top 2%, and the Santa Fe campus is in the top 4%. In addition, the Annapolis campus ranked high in business and religion doctorates, ranking in the top 1% and top 3% respectively.

Notable alumni with doctoral degrees in these fields include United States Senator Ben Sasse (R-Neb); Wilfred M. McClay, former Senior Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center and National Endowment for the Humanities appointee; Margaret Winter, Associate Director of the ACLU’s National Prison Project; Mark. D. Jordan, Andrew Mellon Professor of Christian Thought at Harvard Divinity School and a leading scholar on the intersections between religion, gender and sexuality; Tom G. Palmer, Senior Fellow at Cato Institute; and the late Rogers Albritton, former chair of the philosophy departments at Harvard and UCLA.

Other notable alumni include Lydia Polgreen, editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post; Jac Holzman, founder of Elektra Records; Ahmet Ertegun, founder of Atlantic Records; Warren Winiarski, founder of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars; Kate Bennett, White House Reporter for CNN; Warren Spector, chairman of Balbec Capital; Sandy Stone, founder of the academic discipline of transgender studies; and Francis Scott Key, author of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”


Sources: The “doctorates earned” numbers come from NSF (National Science Foundation) and the “earned bachelor’s” numbers come from IPEDS (Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System). HEDS (Higher Education Data Sharing Consortium) compiles these figures and creates an analytic based on those that earned a bachelor’s degree at our institution and tracks who went on to receive a research doctorate (PhD, ScD, EdD, etc.). For more information on the reports please visit https://www.nsf.gov/statistics/srvydoctorates/#sd&tabs-1.