University of Minnesota scales back liberal arts Ph.D. programs amid pandemic

By: | January 20, 2021

The University of Minnesota will not accept new students into many of its liberal arts doctoral degree programs this fall, pausing admissions to save money during the pandemic and to focus on supporting current students.

English, history, political science, theater arts, and gender, women and sexuality studies are among 12 Ph.D. programs that have temporarily halted admissions. Fifteen additional liberal arts doctoral programs will only accept a limited number of new students this fall. No doctoral programs outside the U’s College of Liberal Arts have paused admissions, according to the university.

Students in those doctoral programs are typically guaranteed five years of funding to support their studies. By not admitting a new class of Ph.D. students, U administrators estimate they will save $2 million to $4 million, which will help brace the school for budget uncertainty and possibly fund another year of study for doctoral students whose work has been disrupted by the pandemic. But some fear the admissions freeze will lead to many of the programs being permanently downsized.

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