Number of doctorates awarded by US institutions in 2016 close to all-time high

April 6, 2018, National Science Foundation
Number of doctorates awarded by US institutions in 2016 close to all-time high
The Survey of Earned Doctorates provides data on the US system of doctoral education. Credit: NSF: Adrian Apodaca

U.S. institutions awarded 54,904 research doctorate degrees in 2016, only five fewer than the previous year's record high, according to the Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED), a federally sponsored annual census of research degree recipients.

SED provides data for Doctorate Recipients from U.S. Universities, a report published by the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) within the National Science Foundation (NSF) that supplies data and analysis of the American system of doctoral education, a vital U.S. economic interest.

Since the SED began collecting data in 1957, the number of research doctorates awarded in science and engineering (S&E) fields has exceeded the number of non-S&E doctorates, and the gap is widening. In 1957, S&E doctorates made up 65 percent of all doctorates awarded. In 2016, S&E doctorates made up 75 percent.

The most recent SED includes the following findings:

  • The largest share of doctorates awarded in 2016 was in the life sciences (nearly 23 percent), followed by engineering (17 percent), and psychology and the social sciences (16.5 percent). All fields of humanities and arts made up 10 percent of doctorates awarded.
  • The time between students entering graduate school and receiving doctorates has fallen in all fields of study over the past 20 years, but, on average, it still takes years longer to earn a doctorate in non-S&E fields than in S&E fields.
  • The number of S&E doctorates awarded to U.S. citizens and permanent residents grew 2 percent since 2015 and 39 percent since 2006. The number of doctorates in S&E fields awarded to temporary visa holders grew 2 percent since 2015 and 20 percent since 2006.
  • The number of doctoral awards to temporary visa holders is highly concentrated—10 countries accounted for 71 percent of the doctorates awarded to temporary visa holders from 2006 to 2016. The top three countries—China, India and South Korea—accounted for 54 percent of the doctorates awarded to temporary visa holders.
  • Women have earned a slight majority of all doctorates awarded to U.S. citizen and permanent residents each year since 2002, and women have earned more than 30 percent of all doctorates awarded to temporary holders over that period.
  • From 1996 to 2016, the number of women earning degrees in S&E fields increased by 84 percent.
  • The of doctorates awarded to blacks or African Americans who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents increased by 32 percent from 2006 to 2016. For the same period, the proportion of doctorates earned by Hispanics or Latinos increased by 67 percent.

For more information—including how much education-related debt incur, what kind of employment they find and how much they earn—view the report.

NCSES is the nation's leading provider of statistical data on the U.S. and engineering enterprise.

Explore further: More women, more foreigners, more minorities earned doctorates in 2013

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rrwillsj
1 / 5 (1) Apr 06, 2018
Yes, another proud achievement of President Obama's administration.
Eikka
not rated yet Apr 07, 2018
With the dissapearance of the manufacturing and production industries, the emphasis on higher education has created a perverse situation where many of the highly educated people are employed in education to meet the demand to educate the previously blue-collar workers for white collar jobs they will not get because of a lack of demand.

So you got people educating people to educate people to end up working outside of their fields because the industry just doesn't need more engineers or researchers - they just want more graduates to push the wages down.

All this costs a heck of a lot of money, with so many people spending decades doing nothing useful or value-adding, which drives up the real prices and makes everyone poorer - but hey, at least everyone's employed!
rrwillsj
1 / 5 (1) Apr 07, 2018
So E, please correct me if I misunderstood your comment.

Ordinary People. "The Little People" should be satisfied with being farm hands and widget assemblers and coal miners and telephone exchange operators and mimeograph crankers and steampipe fitters and ditchdiggers? Because? It conveniences your smug sense of superiority?

You are demanding that the tide of time and history to stop. Stop rising and falling, stop ebbing and flowing?

That all the clocks should cease and desist from marking time? That what other people want is not near as important as your wants?

What it comes down to, is if Humanity has a future? It is not mass production of rubberstamp products. But rather, onsite fabrication of products to meet local, immediate demand. That value is not in the machines but in the knowledge of how to create using the machines.

The World moves on from industry to exotic, expert arts and crafts. Don't worry humans will remain the same cranky apes.
ugosugo
not rated yet Apr 08, 2018
Considering that every time I apply for a job i have to compete with dozens, if not hundreds, of other PhDs, I would say that the field is already pretty f@&%!ng crowded!

Or

Even more unemployed PhDs on the horizon
That's what we need

PS: an HIH postdoc salary is on par with what school teachers earn. You know, the ones striking for increasing their wages. And that is on a 1-2 years contracts and not real careers perspectives
ugosugo
not rated yet Apr 08, 2018
Considering that every time I apply for a job i have to compete with dozens, if not hundreds, of other PhDs, I would say that the field is already pretty f@&%!ng crowded!

Or

Even more unemployed PhDs on the horizon
That's what we need

PS: an NIH postdoc salary is on par with what school teachers earn. You know, the ones striking for increasing their wages. And that is on a 1-2 years contracts and not real careers perspectives

Mark Thomas
not rated yet Apr 08, 2018
ugosugo, no magic bullets here, but have you fully considered U.S. government service? Lots of agencies hire Ph.D candidates besides the NIH. https://www.usajobs.gov/

ugosugo
not rated yet Apr 08, 2018
mine is a general consideration. If for every job posted there are 30-50-100 candidates, it means there are many fewer jobs than the number of PhDs on the market. Reinforced by finding often specified in ads that the position is not for overqualified PhDs. Meaning, companies are overwhelmed by applications from desperate PhDs willing to work in positions below their skills level. In addition, companies these days, label everyone a "scientist" even though you have just a bachelor degree + experience. Like if achieving a PhD was just a matter of number of years spent sitting in a lab.

PhDs are created just because they are cheap labor in academic institutions
rrwillsj
3 / 5 (2) Apr 08, 2018
ugosugo, I can sympathize with your perspective. What I would suggest for you? Is that you turn that POV of yours around and consider it from the viewpoint of possible employers.

Who ask the question "What can you contribute to their bottom line?"

Do you have any patents or royalties? In other words, do you have any physical symbol of profitable productivity? Creative ideas, running a small side business. Even professional awards for extra effort?

If all you have to offer is that you managed to graduate university? Well fella, like you said, so did thousands of other professional students.

In between filling out job applications? Start hustling introductions to people who know people who know the people looking to hire.

Write a White Paper or a book? Volunteer for civic events or start a business. Even explore setting up a crowdsource project.

Loafing around playing video games and grousing ain't going to get you nowhere, slowly.
TheGhostofOtto1923
not rated yet Apr 08, 2018
have you fully considered U.S. government service? Lots of agencies hire Ph.D candidates besides the NIH
No doubt the reqts for many of those positions are as overinflated as the salaries.

"In 2014, the average federal employee salary was $84,153, approximately 50% more than the average private sector worker earned. This discrepancy increases to 78% when benefits are included. The average federal worker costs the government (aka taxpayers) $119,934."

-Thanks for the waste obama. But it helps to pay off the student loans no? The undefaulted ones at any rate-

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