University of Rochester

Rochester's Clinical Psychology Program Ranked No. 2 in New Analysis

December 27, 2005

The clinical psychology doctoral program at the University of Rochester has been ranked second in the country in a new study that analyzed faculty publications and citations as a measure of quality. The study appears in the current issue of the journal Research in Developmental Disabilities.

Lead author Johnny L. Matson of the Department of Psychology at Louisiana State University and co-authors decided to expand the rankings of clinical psychology Ph.D. programs by using the number of publications and citations attributed to faculty members. The authors say that "publications paired with citations have weaknesses, but generally are the best available objective data in establishing faculty and program impact and eminence."

A list of 157 universities, all with clinical programs approved by the American Psychological Association and meeting other criteria for the study's purposes, was compiled as of May 2004 and then analyzed.

The Department of Clinical and Social Sciences in Psychology at Rochester ranked No. 2 in the survey. Others in the top five group are: the University of Pennsylvania (1), the University of Wisconsin at Madison (3), Yale University (4), and the University of California at Berkeley (5).

"To our knowledge, this is the first study to rank clinical psychology Ph.D. programs on objective and systematic data of individual faculty," the authors report. They say that they undertook the study, in part, because of their dissatisfaction with the annual surveys by U.S. News & World Report. Although the researchers acknowledge the high visibility of U.S. News rankings to the general public, they question the low rate of return on questionnaires about clinical psychology programs, and the small group of relevant faculty who have the opportunity to respond.

The authors note that there is little relationship between U.S. News rankings and their data. They believe their survey method "would appear to be more reliable and valid than existing ranking systems. At the very least, this study is valuable in showing who and which programs have the most productive and cited research faculty," they write.

The Matson study places value on clinical programs that stress a scientist/practitioner model, which highlights "what most academics consider as criteria for success (publications and citations)." The authors point out that such active scholarship by faculty contributes to quality theses and dissertations by graduate students, and enhances graduate students' employability, among other assets.