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Chart of the Week: Number of Awarded Doctorates 2000-10

Posted on December 16th, 2011, by Leave a comment

Data published by the National Science Foundation (NSF) indicate that “U.S. academic institutions awarded 48,069 research doctorates in 2010, down from 49,554 awards in 2009.” As Doug Lederman noted in his reporting on these data, 2010 was the first year since 2002 when the total output of these degrees fell from the previous year.  The NSF points out that part of the decline from 2009 to 2010 is explainable by the fact that some degrees were recently reclassified as “professional doctorates” rather than “research doctorates.”

The broadest categorization which NSF reports for research doctorates is “science and engineering” degrees versus “non-science and engineering degrees.” The NSF data show that, as shown in the chart below, that from 2000-10, the total number of “science and engineering” research doctorates awarded increased by 28% (from just under 26,000 in 2000 to more than 33,000 in 2010). In contrast, over the same period, the number of “non-science and engineering” research doctorates awarded fell by 3% (from 15,400 to 14,900).

Source: National Science Foundation