So how does ranking of your Political Science program affect job placement? Today this topic seems to be the definition of viral. My dean emailed me the Chronicle of Higher Education article first thing this morning. A similar article appeared in Inside Higher Ed (without a paywall), and suddenly I see responses in Twitter, Facebook, and blogs. Responding hours later makes me very late to the party.
The money quote:
The median institutional ranking of institutions in the study is 11, which Mr. Oprisko said implies that 11 institutions contributed half of the political scientists who filled tenured or tenure-track positions at research-intensive universities in the United States. That means that graduates of the more than 100 other political-science programs competed for the remaining 50 percent of job openings.
I'm still chewing on this a bit. It implies that "job openings" only appear in those particular institutions being studied, which obviously isn't true--there are lots of good jobs outside the purview of the study. But still, this is a pretty serious concentration.
The bottom line is that it is hard to argue with the idea that candidates in lower ranked schools find it more difficult to get a job, especially a job without a really heavy teaching load. All things being equal, someone with a more prestigious Ph.D. is viewed--rightly or wrongly--as being less risky in terms of getting tenure. This isn't fair, but it's true. If you advising people who want a Ph.D., or are thinking of one yourself, you need to acknowledge this reality.
--The Monkey Cage