UArizona Ranks No. 1 for Doctorate Degrees Awarded to Native Americans

The University of Arizona is the top doctorate-granting institution for American Indian or Alaska Native students, according to the National Science Foundation’s most recent survey of earned doctorates.

Between 2016 and 2020, UArizona awarded 28 doctoral degrees to students of American Indian or Alaska Native descent, the most of the 184 higher education institutions that awarded doctoral degrees to students in those populations during that timeframe. Nearly 5% of all doctoral degrees awarded to Indigenous students over that five-year period were from UArizona.

“As Arizona’s land-grant university, we have an obligation to ensure the many students of our state have access to an incredible education and the tools they need to fulfill their hopes and dreams, including and especially students from underserved populations,” said University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins. “Fellowships, dedicated mentors and universitywide initiatives like the Indigenous Resilience Center help create an environment where Native American students can thrive, and this ranking is a clear reflection of the impact of these and other efforts. Along with our success in serving Hispanic and Latinx students, which is critical for our mission as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, we are committed to serving Native students and the Native nations in this region, and I am glad to see the University of Arizona is a premiere choice for Indigenous  students to pursue their doctoral degrees.”

UArizona’s Indigenous students have access to several programs and initiatives designed to support their success, including Native American Student Affairs, the Agnese Nelms Haury Program in Environment and Social Justice, the Native Peoples Technical Assistance Office and the American Indian studies graduate interdisciplinary program in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, among others.

“At the University of Arizona, we take immense pride in developing a culture where our students can reach their true potential,” said Nathan Levi Esquerra, senior vice president for Native American advancement and tribal engagement. “It is exciting to see so many Native American students achieve that potential on our campus.”

UArizona is also among the nation’s top doctorate-granting institutions for Hispanic or Latino students, ranking No. 7 out of the 384 institutions that awarded doctoral degrees to students in those populations.

Of the 13,351 doctoral degrees earned at U.S. institutions by Hispanic and Latino students between 2016 and 2020, 200 of them were from UArizona.

“We are honored to see so many exceptional Hispanic students earning doctoral degrees at our university,” said Marla Franco, assistant vice provost for Hispanic-Serving Institution initiatives. “We know that earning these degrees is invaluable to Hispanic students and their families and the impact on society is far reaching.”

In 2018, UArizona was designated a Hispanic-Serving Institution by the U.S. Department of Education for its success in enrolling Hispanic students and providing educational opportunities to them. UArizona is one of only a few Research I and Association of American Universities members that meet the criteria for the HSI designation. As defined by the Higher Education Act, an institution of higher education must have an undergraduate student enrollment that is at least 25% Hispanic to be designated an HSI.

In 2020, UArizona was named the Outstanding Member Institution by the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities in recognition of the university’s excellence in support of HACU’s mission to champion Hispanic success in higher education.

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