What Is The Ideal Student-To-Faculty Ratio In A University?

student-to-faculty ratio

Written by Pareeshti Rao

"You can make anything by writing" - a great man once proclaimed. On both a professional and personal level, I'd regard it as fuel for my soul.

May 20, 2021

While choosing a particular university for your higher studies, there are several factors that you will take into account for finalizing it. You may look at the financial aid provided by the uni, the acceptance rate, the tuition fees, the programme offerings and many other aspects. But, let me tell you, checking the student-to-faculty ratio of a university is also a very crucial aspect. It will give you an idea about how personalized your learning experience at your university will be and how well you can interact with the faculty to clear out all your queries. 

Before we proceed with the know-hows of student faculty ratios, I’d like you to take a look at this chart. Here, you will notice that private colleges are at an advantage when compared to public colleges with a lower student-staff ratio at 11:1. This indicates that for every 11 students studying in a private university, there is a teacher. Likewise, for every 15 students in public universities, there is one faculty member. 

student-to-faculty ratio

Source: Digest of Education Statistics

Moving on, let us proceed to know what a student-faculty ratio is, its importance, and some of the best faculty to student ratio universities that have attracted students.

What Is A Student-To-Faculty Ratio?

In a literal sense, this term applies to how many faculty members there are at a college in comparison to the number of students. The ratio may also tell you a few things about the type of academic environment at that college. Schools with a large number of students tend to have higher ratios as well. The student faculty ratio is supposed to reflect the intimacy of the educational experience.

Looking At The Broader Picture…

Typically, it is said that a low student-to-faculty ratio is associated with higher quality education, so college administrators have an incentive to keep this ratio as low as possible. However, if you were to look at the broader picture, there are several things you need to keep in mind while analyzing these ratios. Some questions you should ask on your university open days regarding student faculty ratios include:

  • Does this figure include part-time faculty who may be brought in to teach a single course? If so, keep in mind that students have much less access to such faculty (who rarely have their own office or even a place to hang their coats)
  • Does this figure include faculty who teach only graduate courses–or may teach predominantly graduate students? If so, the ratio exaggerates students’ access to some of the faculty
  • What is the typical class size of your university? Sometimes, this matters more than the student-to-faculty ratio
  • Does this figure include research faculty, who generally do not teach undergraduate courses at all, but may simply guide doctoral candidates or teach in a graduate professional school? If so, it may be an inflated ratio.

student-to-faculty ratio

So…What Is A Good Student -Teacher Ratio?

By now you must have understood that this is a very nuanced question and depends largely on the unique situation based in schools. Calculating a student faculty ratio depends on a number of factors. That said, it’s generally good advice to look for a student faculty ratio around 17:1 or lower. When the ratio starts getting up over 20 to 1, you’ll find that it gets challenging for professors to provide the type of personal academic advising, independent study opportunities, and thesis oversight that can be so valuable during your course of study. 

Again, there are exceptions to this and this doesn’t apply to all universities and colleges. There are colleges with 10 to 1 ratios where first-year classes are large and professors aren’t overly accessible. You’ll also find schools with 20+ to 1 student-to-faculty ratios where the faculty are entirely devoted to working closely with their undergraduate students.

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Benefits Of A Lower Student Faculty Ratio

You may tend to ignore factors like student teacher ratios when deciding on a college. But they do have their own set of benefits and students have benefitted in many ways only due to a lower ratio. If you’re especially looking forward to strengthening your roots in a subject and gaining deep insights, an easy access to your faculty always takes the upper hand. On that note, here are a few benefits of a lower student-to-faculty ratio: 

  • Smaller classes
  • Individual attention
  • Teacher retention
  • Fewer students
  • High-end performance

Are you confused about what major to take up for your higher education? If so, you need not worry! Taking an undeclared major in a university will definitely be of great help to you.

Top Universities With The Best Student To Professor Ratio

Here’s a table of universities with the best student-to-faculty ratio where students have graduated in flying colours and have excelled in their fields.

Name of the UniversityStudent To Faculty Ratio
Baptist Missionary Association Theological Seminary3:1
Shasta Bible College And Graduate School4:1
Maine College of Health Professions5:1
Yale University6:1
University of Pennsylvania6:1
California Institute of Arts7:1
Harvard University7:1
Emory University8:1
Cornell University9:1
University of Notre Dame10:1

Did you enjoy reading this blog on  Student To Faculty Ratio? Thought so! If you wish to read more, UniScholarz has in store a few blogs that we might think will help you:

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