Strengthening Graduate Education
Eli Romero
Eli Romero (GRS'13) dives in a reef tank that simulates the waters off the coast of Belize.

Graduate students in the College of Arts & Sciences learn that a critical component of their education is the need to apply what they learn to the benefit of their communities. The Graduate School's ability to impart that lesson improved significantly last April when it received a five-year, $2.8 million National Science Foundation grant to cultivate a new generation of scientists as both solid researchers and effective communicators.

The grant, awarded under the NSF GK-12 Fellows Program, supports the work of a team of BU professors in a project called GLACIER (GLobAl Change Initiative: Education and Research). Faculty members representing five departments (Geography & Environment, Biology, Earth Sciences, and Statistics) in CAS and Mechanical & Electrical Engineering in the College of Engineering will supervise 10 graduate fellows in yearlong placements in Cambridge or Brookline schools. The goal is to get these fellows working with public school teachers to improve lesson plans about a critical topic: global climate change.

The project is designed to apply the benefits of graduate-level education to a broad community of citizens to help them make informed decisions about the environment while helping future scientists develop multidisciplinary perspectives and strong analytical skills. GLACIER will strengthen the ties between Boston University and two partner school districts in Cambridge and Brookline, as well as enhance existing links to local museum, zoo, aquarium, and other field sites. GLACIER brings in faculty from Geography & Environment (Nathan Phillips, Robert Kaufman, Bruce Anderson, Crystal Schaaf), Biology (Les Kaufmann, Richard Primack), Statistics (Surajit Ray), Earth Sciences (David Marchant), Engineering (Michael Gevelber, Michael Ruane), and Education (Don DeRosa). The principal investigator for the project is Geography & Environment Professor Suchi Gopal.

Project GLACIER is representative of the creativity and focus on socially responsible research and education found throughout the Graduate School, demonstrating once again that investing in Boston University and the College of Arts & Sciences is investing in the community. To learn more about this project, see Global Change Reaches Middle School.

Sucharita Gopal
Sucharita Gopal, professor of geography & environment, with graduate fellows who will share their expertise at Cambridge and Brookline middle schools.

Thanks to programs like GLACIER, Boston University increasingly is recognized as a leading U.S. and international graduate research institution. This year, the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), published by the Center for World-Class Universities and the Institute of Higher Education of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China, ranked Boston University among the top 100 world universities. Seven CAS Graduate School (GRS) doctoral programs appear in the top 50 of the U.S. News & World Report rankings, including economics, which was ranked 24th in its field. French, English, bioinformatics and computational biology, mathematics, and biostatistics are ranked in the top 10 of their fields by the Academic Analytics data on faculty productivity as reported in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

During the 2009/2010 academic year, CAS faculty members were highly productive in their research and scholarly accomplishments, as indicated by the record levels of grant funding and the numerous papers published, talks presented, and awards received. The total dollar amount of new grants and contracts generated in Fiscal Year 2010 was $93,568,843, an increase of $7,891,115 (9.2 percent) over the previous year. Most notable were the Department of Earth Sciences, which increased the total number of awards from 25 to 36, and the Department of Computer Science, which increased total dollars from $1.5 million to $5.3 million.

Graduate Programs Enrollment

Registered students, fall 2009

(Data from Link list of GRS students)

Rank Program Name Total
1 Economics programs 255
2 Psychology 141
3 International Relations 116
4 Physics 101
5 Chemistry 98
6 Biology 82
7 Biostatistics 72
8 Religious Studies 69
9 Political Science 65
10 Computer Science 63
11 Art History 62
12 English 59
12 Philosophy 59
14 Archaeology programs 57
15 American & New England Studies 54
16 Cognitive & Neural Systems 53
17 History 52
18 Mathematics 43
19 Astronomy 38
20 Geography 36
21 Molecular & Cell Biology and Biochemistry 34
21 Anthropology 34
23 Hispanic Language & Literature 32
23 Creative Writing 32
25 Applied Linguistics 31
26 Energy & Environmental Studies 29
27 Sociology 26
28 Sociology & Social Work 24
29 Neuroscience 21
29 Classical Studies 21
31 French Language & Literature 19
32 Earth Sciences 17
33 Editorial Studies 14
34 MBA & Management/MA 13
34 Music programs 13
36 No major 11
36 Preservation Studies 11
38 African American Studies 4
39 Biotechnology 3
39 MBA— Public Management/MA 3
41 Applied Anthropology 1
  TOTAL 1,968


Graduate Degrees Conferred, Academic Year 2009/2010

Degree MA MFA MA of MA/PhD MA of BA/MA MA/JD Post-MA PhD Post-BA PhD Total
Number 205 11 21  12 3 103 118 473


Graduate School Leadership

Until recently, stewardship of the graduate and research missions of CAS was combined in a single associate dean position. With the expansion of both the graduate and research missions, the demands of this office grew beyond the capability of a single individual. To address this situation, the office was divided into two distinct positions, the Associate Dean of the Graduate School, and the Associate Dean for Research & Outreach.

At the end of the 2009/2010 academic year, W. Jeffrey Hughes, professor of astronomy, was named Associate Dean of the Graduate School. A native of Wales, he received both his BSc and PhD in physics from Imperial College, London. He joined the Boston University faculty in 1978, where he was the founding director of the Center for Space Physics and has served as chair of the Astronomy Department and director of the Center for Integrated Space Weather Modeling.

Annual Report 2009/2010

  • From the DeanFrom the Dean
    In the past year the College of Arts & Sciences has gone from strength to strength.
  • Strengthening the Quality of the Faculty Strengthening the Quality of the Faculty
    The strength and reputation of Boston University and CAS as a world-class teaching and research institution rest on the quality of its faculty.
  • Attracting and Nurturing the Best StudentsAttracting and Nurturing the Best Students
    By maintaining high standards of academic quality and integrity and adhering to the best liberal arts traditions, CAS increasingly is regarded as a prime destination by intelligent and highly motivated students.
  • Strengthening the Student Experience: Focusing on Student SuccessStrengthening the Student Experience: Focusing on Student Success
    The College of Arts & Sciences works hard to attract great students and is committed to making sure they stay once they get here.
  • Strengthening Graduate Education, Research and ScholarshipStrengthening Graduate Education
    Graduate students in the College of Arts & Sciences learn that a critical component of their education is the need to apply what they learn to the benefit of their communities.
  • Creating New Scholarly Infrastructure and ConnectionsEnhancing The Research Mission In The College Of Arts & Sciences
    The research trajectory of the College continued its upward climb this year.
  • Strengthening Our Connections to the Community and the WorldStrengthening Our Connections to the Community and the World
    In keeping with the collaborative teaching and research culture that exists across BU, CAS partners in many graduate programs across the University.
  • Managing Our Financial ResourcesManaging Our Financial Resources
    The current economic downturn has had a real impact on resource development initiatives at colleges and universities nationwide.
  • Nurturing Our Connections with Alumni and Friends Nurturing Our Connections with Alumni and Friends
    Strong, vital connections with alumni are critical to our being able to realize the goals we have indentified in our strategic planning and beyond.
  • Celebrating the Class of 2010Celebrating the Class of 2010
    Seniors and their families, faculty, trustees, and other members of the BU community celebrated the 137th Commencement of Boston University at Nickerson Field on Sunday, May 16.
  • AppendixAppendix