Anne MacLachlan

Closed (1) Women in Doctoral Programs at UCB from 1898 to the Present.

Applications for fall 2021 are now closed for this project.

Berkeley has educated many accomplished and inspiring women who have earned a Ph.D. and gone on to powerful and important positions around the world. Astoundingly, knowledge about many of these women has been lost. At the same time, Berkeley has a long history of conferring Ph.D.s on women (the first was in 1898), but until the 1960s very few women and hardly any women of color (we don’t know right now how many)in any field earned Ph.D.s. Until the 150w project many departments have not kept track of their Ph.D.s, where they found positions, and have rarely celebrated their extraordinary achievements.

The numbers of women started to increase during the 1960s and has been increasing ever since, but unevenly. Some departments up to now such as Mathematics and Economics have only haltingly increased the number of Ph.D.s going to women, while others like Biology/Life Sciences, History and Sociology have achieved more or less parity.

The basis for the current project is my study on where all Berkeley Ph.D.s earned between 1980-1989 found employment. First positions for 76% of all 6,338 Ph.D.s. were found. This was followed by a Spencer Foundation funded study of Ph.D. recipients of color involving extensive interviews. The goal of this study was to learn what had made these individuals successful in their degree program and employed life after the Ph.D. One example from both studies is the biology Ph.D. Adele de la Torre who is now the President of San Diego State University. But there are so many more whose achievements are hidden—often in plain sight—but unacknowledged by their departments.



This project is looking for assistance in identifying and tracking down Berkeley women Ph.D.s from any time period and from any department. The basic degree data is available for the majority, but where they went after the degree and what they achieved is not necessarily known to the home department. Moreover, earning the degree, getting a good job, rising in the profession has taken place in a very uneven playing field. Issues of general discrimination, sexism, racism and more have usually had to be overcome.

This project offers an opportunity to track down some of these accomplished and determined women and develop individual or collective bios. These could focus, as examples, on their contribution to social activism, creating new fields of study or expanding traditional fields like History or Sociology, pioneering positions as directors of national labs, the CDC, in business, -- the list continues according to your interests. Other possible areas could be how they found good mentors and support within the department—or did not, the ways in which they broke into male dominated professions and succeeded as in Engineering or Computer science. Doing this work could also lay the ground work for a senior thesis.It also provides considerable knowledge of graduate school.


Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Anne MacLachlan, Staff Researcher

Qualifications: Qualifications: Curiosity about women in your field/department of interest and an interest in bringing their achievements to light.

Weekly Hours: 6-8 hrs

Off-Campus Research Site: Will be a combination of on campus and remote.

Related website: http://www.cshe.berkeley.edu
Related website: http://cshe.berkeley.edu/people/anne-maclachlan