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Press Release 09-130
New Data Show Jump in Science and Engineering Graduate Study

Photo of graduate students working at a classroom table.

In 2007, enrollment in U.S. science and engineering graduate programs was up 3.3 percent.
Credit and Larger Version

June 24, 2009

New data show that enrollment in U.S. science and engineering (S&E) graduate programs in 2007 grew 3.3 percent over comparable data for 2006--the highest year-over-year increase since 2002 and nearly double the 1.7 percent increase seen in 2006. Science programs added the most students in absolute numbers, but engineering's percentage growth over 2006, 5.9 percent, was substantially higher than that of science, which grew by 2.4 percent. Enrollment in computer sciences programs was up 2.7 percent, the first increase since 2002.

The proportion of foreign students enrolled in S&E graduate programs in 2007 remained below its 2002 high, despite a total year-over-year increase of 4.6 percent. New full-time enrollments of foreign students were up 8.3 percent over 2006.

The National Science Foundation's Division of Science Resources Statistics (SRS) provide these and other findings today in the first release of data from its 2007 Survey of Graduate Students and Postdoctorates in Science and Engineering. The survey collects data on the numbers and characteristics of students pursuing graduate degrees from U.S. institutions in science, engineering and selected health fields.

"The numbers indicate the potential strength of the future S&E workforce," said project officer Julia Oliver, who managed the survey and oversaw the report for SRS's Human Resources Statistics Program. "The report consistently draws intense interest."

Data from the 2007 survey are also available in newly restructured public use files at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/srvygradpostdoc/pub_data.cfm. The new file organization is easy to use and makes each year's institution, school, and organizational unit data available in a single record. The files also allow researchers to link to other institutional data sources. Public-use data are available in a single cumulative data file and by year, and are available in multiple formats.

-NSF-

Media Contacts
Bobbie Mixon, NSF, (703) 292-8485, bmixon@nsf.gov

Program Contacts
Julia D. Oliver, NSF, (703) 292-7809, joliver@nsf.gov

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2014, its budget is $7.2 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 50,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes about 11,500 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $593 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

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