My faculty imposes some numerical "recommendations" for promotions. Instead of arguing this sort of recommendation is ridiculous, I think it is wiser to provide some evidence the recommended numbers are far too high for (pure) mathematics.

Is there data available for the average or mean number of PhD completions when applying for Associate Professor and Professor in the at e.g. R1 universities in the USA, or for any other country?

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    $\begingroup$ I think you would get better answers to this on academia.SE. $\endgroup$
    – HJRW
    Jul 23, 2022 at 9:25
  • $\begingroup$ Similar/duplicate question: Publication rates in Mathematics. $\endgroup$
    – Dan Romik
    Jul 24, 2022 at 5:39
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks will try to get information there as well $\endgroup$ Jul 25, 2022 at 8:41

1 Answer 1


To establish a base line, you could look into Some Patterns of PhDs in Mathematics Awarded Annually by Institutions of Higher Education in the United States over the Last Two Decades. This lists for each subfield of mathematics how many Ph.D.'s were awarded over a 10 or 20 year period by each major university in the US. You could then normalize that with the faculty of each department to obtain an upper bound on what you might reasonably expect as Ph.D. output per professor.

For example, in number theory a typical math department will award on average three Ph.D's every two years (table 11). These numbers are about the same in other pure math fields. I would expect the outcome of this exercise to be that tenured faculty in pure math delivers on average somewhat less than 1 Ph.D. per year.


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