A strong faculty seems obviously important to a good education, so I’m using two data points that get at this measure. The first is the percentage of faculty members who have a PhD or other terminal degree—in other words, the highest degree offered in their field. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re good teachers, but we know they have serious interest in and are among the most knowledgeable about their area of study. Since I’m much more interested in professors whose first commitment is to the school and who will be around when I have questions, I’m only using CDS data for full-time professors.

Here are the colleges at which 95% or higher of instructors have earned a PhD or other terminal degree.

Swarthmore

Northwestern

UC Santa Barbara

Bowdoin

Colorado College

Williams

UC Berkeley

Claremont McKenna

Smith

CalTech

Trinity U

Scripps

Haverford

UC Los Angeles

UC San Diego

Lafayette

Bates

Pomona

Bryn Mawr

Carleton

Harvey Mudd

Ohio State

Davidson

Barnard

Rice

Kenyon

Vanderbilt

Rose-Hulman

Duke

Hamilton

Reed

Dartmouth

Middlebury

William and Mary

Mt. Holyoke

Emory

Wellesley

U Pennsylvania

Brown

U Illinois

U Georgia

Franklin W. Olin

100%

100

100

100

99

99

99

99

99

99

99

98

98

98

98

98

98

97

97

97

97

97

97

97

97

97

97

97

96

96

96

96

96

96

95

95

95

95

95

95

95

95

Second, Princeton Review surveys over a hundred thousand college students every year, and I want to take advantage of that. In my opinion, students who are currently experiencing a college know its strengths and weaknesses much better than an administrator at some other college.

One of their questions asks whether they think their professors are interesting, and that opinion is a great companion for the other professor quality rating mentioned above. I’ve used the scores for each college provided in Princeton Review’s Best 386 Colleges book (2021 edition). Since gathering these numbers involved investment of quite a bit of effort and funding, I’m guessing Princeton Review would prefer I not list the specific scores. Hopefully, though, they’ll be okay with me listing at which schools students give their professors a score of 90 or above. And, of course, encouraging you to consult their online resources to see the specific scores.

Amherst

Barnard

Bates

Bowdoin

Brandeis

Brown

Bryn Mawr

Carleton

Claremont

Colgate

Colorado College

Dartmouth

Emory

Franklin W. Olin

George Washington U

Hamilton

Harvey Mudd

Haverford

Kenyon

Lafayette

Macalester

Middlebury

Mt. Holyoke

Occidental

Ohio State

Pitzer

Pomona

Reed

Rose-Hulman

Scripps

Smith

Southern Methodist U

Swarthmore

Trinity

Tufts

U Richmond

Vanderbilt

Vassar

Villanova

Wake Forest

Washington U in St. Louis

Wellesley

Wesleyan

William and Mary

Williams

Yale