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Inside Graduate Admissions

Inside Graduate Admissions

Merit, Diversity, and Faculty Gatekeeping

Julie R. Posselt

ISBN 9780674984042

Publication date: 05/07/2018

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How does graduate admissions work? Who does the system work for, and who falls through its cracks? More people than ever seek graduate degrees, but little has been written about who gets in and why. Drawing on firsthand observations of admission committees and interviews with faculty in 10 top-ranked doctoral programs in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences, education professor Julie Posselt pulls back the curtain on a process usually conducted in secret.

“Politicians, judges, journalists, parents and prospective students subject the admissions policies of undergraduate colleges and professional schools to considerable scrutiny, with much public debate over appropriate criteria. But the question of who gets into Ph.D. programs has by comparison escaped much discussion. That may change with the publication of Inside Graduate Admissions…While the departments reviewed in the book remain secret, the general process used by elite departments would now appear to be more open as a result of Posselt’s book.”
—Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed

“Revealing…Provide[s] clear, consistent insights into what admissions committees look for.”
—Beryl Lieff Benderly, Science


  • Julie R. Posselt is Assistant Professor of Education at the University of Southern California.

Book Details

  • 272 pages
  • Harvard University Press