Report to the President

Graduate Education

Graduate students in Boston University’s research and professional programs pursue a wide variety of advanced degrees. An energetic, committed, and well-trained population of students at the graduate level is an essential component of the University’s mission to excel in all areas. The engagement of students in research energizes faculty-scholars who in turn serve as magnets for the recruitment of outstanding faculty and students from around the world. Strong professional programs enhance the University’s reputation beyond the academy and contribute to the advancement of knowledge about economic, legal, political, social, and cultural institutions as well as the health of individuals and communities. Students at the graduate level learn to teach, mentor, and otherwise assist undergraduates, and in the process acquire useful skills for their future careers as scholars, scientists, educators, and professionals. Through their placement after graduation in academe, government, industry, and diverse professional settings, students with advanced degrees extend the global and intellectual reach of our programs. As a crucial means of connecting different generations and a variety of intellectual institutions and cultures, graduate and graduate-level professional students must be supported in their quest for academic excellence, intellectual initiative, and professional growth.

Recommendation

Strengthen programs at the graduate level and attract the best and brightest students; train graduate students in both research and professional disciplines who become known for their intellectual caliber and employability.

  • Increase financial support for graduate students across the University so that stipends and benefits will be competitive with peer institutions, and provide suitable levels of financial support for graduate-level professional students.
  • Recruit and retain a diverse cohort of graduate and graduate-level professional students to reflect and enhance the diversity of our local and global engagements; further develop content-based language instruction across the curriculum for graduate and professional students who are not fluent in English and those who plan to conduct research in a foreign language.
  • Encourage all graduate-level programs to aim for quality and take rankings seriously. Institute external reviews on a regular basis, beginning with a review of all doctoral programs.
  • Justify the size of master’s and doctoral programs. Determine an appropriate strategy for departments and Schools by field.
  • Review and augment placement seminars and counseling for graduate and graduate-level professional students at the University; track data on outcomes, remain connected to students after graduation, and solicit feedback on what might be improved.
  • Keep placement officers informed, supported, and competitive with their top colleagues in the field.
  • Provide incentives and support for multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research among students at the graduate level; create administrative structures and policies that promote intellectual cross- fertilization among disciplines, departments, Schools, and campuses.
  • Create a center for graduate and graduate-level professional students to meet informally and in study groups and to enhance delivery of excellent advising and other services.