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Frontiers
Non-U.S. Citizens Earn 40% of S&E Doctorates in 1995

January 1997

Non-U.S. citizens earned 40% of the science and engineering (S&E) doctorates awarded by U.S. universities in 1995. This is a 13 percentage point increase since 1985, according to a recent data brief released by NSF's Science Resources Studies (SRS) division.

"However," writes Resources Analyst Susan Hill, "the number of non-U.S. citizens who earned a doctorate in S&E fields remained stable in 1994 and 1995 after continuous increases since the 1950s."

Most of the 10,493 non-U.S.-citizen degree recipients were from Asian countries. The top four countries were: China (2,751), Taiwan (1,239), India (1,204) and Korea (1,004).

Canadian and Mexican students earned 274 and 129 doctorates respectively.

One-third of non-U.S.-citizen degree recipients concentrated in engineering, compared with 15% of U.S. citizens. Only 16% of non-U.S. citizens studied social sciences, while 35% of U.S. citizens chose that specialty. Natural sciences were studied almost equally by both groups: 51% of non-U.S. citizens and 50% of U.S. citizens.

At the point of graduation in 1995, many non-U.S.-citizen doctoral recipients had plans to remain in the United States after graduation, Hill reports. One-third of these graduates held visas that granted them permanent residency in the United States, and 92% of those students planned to stay. Of the other two-thirds studying on a temporary visa, over half (57%) planned to remain in the States.

Of those who planned to stay, most (56%) were expecting to continue their studies with a postdoctoral position. Other plans included: industrial employment (26%), academic employment (13%) and other employment (5%).

"It is difficult to estimate what portion of non-U.S.-citizen S&E doctoral recipients remain in the U.S. labor pool years later," Hill writes. "One study shows that 42% of those on temporary visas when they earned their doctorate in 1984 were working in the United States eight years later."

The data used in Hill's brief were collected from the Survey of Earned Doctorates. More detailed data are available in the SRS report, Selected Data on Science and Engineering Doctorate Awards: 1995.

For a copy of this data brief, call SRS at (703) 292-8774 , or send e-mail to srsweb@nsf.gov. SRS documents are also available via NSF's Web site: http://www.nsf.gov/statistics.

 


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