What’s the No. 1 graduate school of education in America? If you asked people in the academic world, many would probably mention Teachers College at Columbia University, which is not only well-regarded by its peers, but also unusually large, granting more than 100 doctoral degrees in education every year.
But for the past two decades, one university has out-produced Teachers College in doctorate production: Nova Southeastern University. Based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Nova enrolls more than 25,000 students, making it the seventh-largest private, nonprofit university in the nation. It was founded as a technical university in 1964 and specializes in distance learning for adult students. Most students for advanced education degrees are classroom teachers and other educators in public schools.
For most of the 1990s, Nova Southeastern granted about 250 education doctorates per year. But as Chart 1 shows, those numbers began to increase sharply in 2002. By 2005, Nova’s degree production surged to almost 450 a year. Teachers College granted 150 education doctorates that year, virtually the same as it granted in 1998.