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Appendix B: Trends in Art History Ph.D.’s

Module by: Lawrence McGill. E-mail the author

Data on art history-related Ph.D.’s conferred over time were obtained from the National Center for Education Statistics’ (NCES) online Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). As explained on the IPEDS web site (http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/), "The IPEDS system is built around a series of interrelated surveys to collect institution-level data in such areas as enrollments, program completions, faculty, staff, and finances." By law, all institutions of higher education wishing to participate in any Federal financial assistance programs must complete all IPEDS surveys each year, making IPEDS the most comprehensive source of statistical data about postsecondary education in the United States.

The system contains data on degrees awarded (by institution and by instructional program) going back to the 1979-80 academic year. Using the IPEDS system, it was possible to extract year-by-year data on the number of art history-related Ph.D.’s awarded at each institution in each academic year from 1979-80 through 2003-04. (The only exceptions were for the academic years 1980-81, 1981-82, 1982-83, and 1998-99, years during which data were not collected.)

Data were compiled using two different strategies and then cross-checked for consistency. The first method involved extracting information directly from IPEDS, using NCES’ online "Dataset Cutting Tool" at http://nces.ed.gov/ipedspas/. To access the Dataset Cutting Tool, public users must log on to the system using the "Guest Level" access link. After agreeing to the terms of the NCES Data User Agreement, users are redirected to a web page that allows access to the Dataset Cutting Tool. Users then select, from a series of menus, various options that allow a customized data set to be created that contains specific data of interest to the user. The following procedure was used to extract year-by-year data for Ph.D.’s awarded in the field of art history:

  • Under "Select Institutions," "2004" was selected in order to establish the set of schools from which data were to be extracted. The "2004" set consists of all schools for which records existed in the IPEDS database in 2004. Other years could be selected, for example, if the user wished to examine data only from schools that were represented in the 1980 IPEDS database.
  • Next, the option "Select schools using specific criteria" was selected, since not all schools confer doctoral degrees; this allows such schools to be excluded from the analysis (in a subsequent step), which speeds up the extraction of data.
  • To see data for degree completions, "collection year" must be selected under the option labeled "View data by."
  • On the next page, the range of schools to be included in the analysis can be restricted as needed for the purpose of the research. For this study, it was sufficient to select the two categories labeled "Doctoral/Research Universities-Extensive" and "Doctoral/Research Universities-Intensive" under the "Carnegie classification" option in order to narrow the universe of schools to those relevant to this inquiry.
  • The next page shows the list of specific schools that were selected based on the school inclusion criteria just chosen.
  • The next page allows the user to select the "collection year" from which the data should be pulled. Selecting "04," for example, selects the 2003-04 academic year.
  • Once a collection year was selected, the choice labeled "Completions" was selected under the "Survey" option. This pulls information from the database concerning degrees awarded.
  • On the next page, the option "Awards/degrees conferred by program (CIP)" was selected, which allows degrees awarded to be viewed by specific programmatic categories such as "Art history, criticism and conservation."
  • On the next page, the user may select the specific instructional programs for which data should be pulled. For this study, the following programmatic categories (CIP codes) were selected:
    • Art History, Criticism and Conservation (CIP code 50.0703)
    • Fine Arts and Arts Studies, General (CIP code 50.0701)
    • Fine Arts and Arts Studies, Other (CIP code 50.0799)
    • Film/Cinema Studies (CIP code 50.0601)
    • Historic Preservation and Conservation (CIP code 30.1201)
    • Historic Preservation and Conservation, Other (CIP code 30.1209)
    • Medieval and Renaissance Studies (CIP code 30.1301)
    • Museology/Museum Studies (CIP code 30.1401)
    (It should be noted that Ph.D.’s awarded in areas such as Architecture and Archaeology were not included in our analyses.)
  • Under "Award Level code," "Doctor’s degree" was selected.
  • Under "First or Second Major," "First major" was selected.
  • Under "List of variables," "Grand total men," "Grand total women," and "Grand total" were selected. (For most years, "Grand total" was not available as a category, so "Grand total men" and "Grand total women" had to aggregated in order to come up with a grand total.)
  • On the next page, a summary of the requested data file is provided, and the user is given the option to download the data.

The above procedure was replicated for each academic year for which data were available between 1979-80 and 2003-04. The resulting data files were then merged, so that trends could be examined in the awarding of art history-related Ph.D.’s over time.

The second method used to compile these trend data was to collect lists of institutions known to have Ph.D. programs in art history (and/or related areas). One list of such institutions was obtained from the College Art Association; a second list was obtained from the web site, www.gradschools.com. Based on the results obtained from the IPEDS analyses, a third list was compiled consisting of all institutions that appeared in the IPEDS data files as having awarded art history-related doctoral degrees between 1979 and 2004. These three lists were combined into a master list, which was then provided to a researcher at NCES, who ran a second complete set of analyses focusing strictly on the institutions represented in the merged list. His analyses almost exactly matched the earlier analyses we had run using IPEDS. The results shown in this research report are taken from the analyses conducted by the NCES researcher, based on the list of academic institutions we provided.

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