College of Natural Resources, UC Berkeley

PMB’s graduate programs ranked among the best by National Research Council Study

September 30, 2010

The National Research Council (NRC) has just released detailed rankings of doctoral programs at research universities. The new study provides rankings of two core fields for PMB, plant sciences and microbiology, that were not evaluated in prior NRC studies.

Programs were evaluated on the basis of twenty characteristics including the number and significance of research publications, financial support, graduate student qualifications and outcomes, diversity, etc. Programs were not assigned a single rank, but as falling somewhere within a range of ranks, such as between 1st and 6th, in recognition of the uncertainties that surround any attempt to rank programs by quality

Only fourteen of the 52 programs ranked at Berkeley were placed within a range that included number one in their field and Plant Sciences was among that illustrious group. Plant Sciences were ranked over all between one and five in the country.
Microbiology was placed in the range of top 10 programs.

“We’re thrilled with this ranking, and very pleased to have the endorsement of the NRC,” said Brian Staskawicz, chair of Plant & Microbial Biology. “It validates all of the very hard work that takes place here on a daily basis in science, research and teaching that is the hallmark of our department. And we’ll continue to work hard from this point forward to maintain this high level of achievement.”

Tom Bruns, head of the Micro division in the department, agreed.

“It is great to see the Microbial Biology program continue to gain national recognition. We are definitely on an upward spiral. Our strong faculty, dedicated staff, and the cross-campus, interdisciplinary nature of our program attracts the very best students, who in turn help to make Berkeley attractive to new faculty hires. I hope that we can keep this momentum going through these financially tough times,” Bruns said.

Plant & Microbial Biology collaborates with a number of other units on campus, including Environmental Science, Policy & Management, Molecular and Cell Biology, Energy Biosciences Institute, Integrative Biology and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab.

To learn more about CNR rankings go to:

To learn more about how Berkeley programs fared go to:

To see the NRC full report go to:


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