Council of Graduate Schools
The Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) is a nonprofit higher education organization with headquarters in Washington, DC. Its mission is to advance graduate education and research. Its main activities consist of best practice initiatives, benchmarking, advocacy, and global engagement.
Membership and Affiliations
CGS membership includes over 500 universities in the United States and Canada, as well as over 60 institutions outside of the US and Canada. The Council is concerned principally with the efforts of graduate schools, particularly those providing PhD and master’s programs. Its efforts do not extend to professional degrees in medicine or law. CGS member institutions annually award more than 91% of all U.S. doctorates and over 81% of all U.S. master’s degrees.
Institutional members are principally represented by the official directly responsible for overseeing graduate programs at the university, usually the dean of the graduate school.
Corporations, nonprofit organizations, and educational systems may also join CGS as nonvoting members.
CGS is affiliated with the regional graduate associations the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools (CSGS), the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools (MAGS), the Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools (NEAGS), and the Western Association of Graduate Schools (WAGS).
Annual Meeting and Summer Workshop
The Council of Graduate Schools convenes members for two major meetings per year: a conference in early December and a Summer Workshop and New Deans Institute held in July.
CGS is governed by a member-elected Board of Directors. Members of the CGS Board of Directors are elected to one- to three-year terms. The current president of CGS, Suzanne Ortega, began her tenure July 2014. 
Past CGS Presidents:
Debra W. Stewart (2000 – 2014)
Jules B. LaPidus (1984 – 2000)
Michael J. Pelczar, Jr. (1978 – 1984)
J. Boyd Page (1970 – 1978)
Gustave O. Arlt (1961 – 1970)
The Council of Graduate Schools was founded in 1961, when what was then known as the “Council of Graduate Schools in the United States” invited 100 institutions to join as founding members. These institutions were selected based on the number and variety of doctoral degrees each awarded.
In 1987 the CGS membership voted to change the organization’s name to the Council of Graduate Schools and began admitting Canadian institutions as members.
Best Practice Initiatives
CGS collaborates with members on initiatives that address common challenges in graduate education. Examples of these initiatives include understanding PhD career pathways, financial literacy, challenges in degree completion and attrition, Preparing Future Faculty (launched in 1993), the Professional Science Master’s (launched in 1997, administrative processes taken over by the Keck Graduate Institute in 2012), and scholarly integrity and the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)
Research and Benchmarking
CGS researches and publishes its findings on specific metrics related to graduate education, including graduate enrollment and degrees and international graduate student applications, admissions and enrollments 
CGS advocates for graduate education in the larger policy environment independently and in coordination with other national higher education organizations, and helps deans with advocacy on their campuses, and with stakeholders and policymakers. CGS regularly releases issue briefs on matters that affect graduate education, including issues such as Pathways Through Graduate School and Into Careers, the Higher Education Reauthorization Act, America COMPETES Act, immigration reform, and workforce development. CGS distributes a government affairs newsletter to its membership during weeks that the U.S. Senate is in session.
CGS hosts meetings and publishes research on global trends in graduate education as well as graduate education in a global context. Examples of its global engagement include the annual Strategic Leaders Global Summit on Graduate Education, traditionally hosted outside the U.S., and the international graduate admissions survey issued annually.
CGS also has an international membership program, whereby interested international universities may apply for membership in CGS.
- “About CGS.” Council of Graduate Schools Webpage. http://cgsnet.org/about-cgs
- Calculated based on information provided from the 2012 Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and the 2012 CGS/GRE Survey of Graduate Enrollment and Degrees.
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- Central European University. “Leaders of Graduate Schools Recommend Active Role in Facing Promises, Challenges of Technology.” Central European University Website. 4 October 2013. http://www.ceu.hu/article/2013-10-04/leaders-graduate-schools-recommend-active-role-facing-promises-challenges