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Press Release 12-226

Characteristics of U.S. Science and Engineering Doctorates Detailed in New Report

New data show recent trends in U.S. doctoral STEM education

Photo of students with PhD caps and gowns


NSF data serves as a leading indicator for knowledge creation and innovation for doctoral education.
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December 6, 2012

The National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) yesterday released a report titled Doctorate Recipients from U.S. Universities: 2011 that unveils important trends in U.S. doctoral education.

The report calls attention to the changing characteristics of U.S. doctorate recipients over time, including the increased representation of women, minorities and foreign nationals; the emergence of new fields of study; the time it takes to complete doctoral study; the expansion of the postdoctoral pool; and employment opportunities after graduation.

Understanding connections among these characteristics is of paramount importance to improving U.S. doctoral education and helping the system maintain its leadership role.

This annual count by the National Science Foundation (NSF) is a direct measure of the human resource pool that is on a path to careers in science, engineering, mathematics and research, and these data can serve as leading indicators of U.S. capacity for knowledge creation and innovation.

Trends in the report can be examined in greater depth through accompanying online resources including an interactive version of the report and 70 detailed data tables available as PDF and Excel files.

For more information on this report, contact Mark K. Fiegener.

Visit NSF's NCSES for access to more reports and other products.

-NSF-

Media Contacts
Deborah Wing, NSF, (703) 292-5344, dwing@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) 2016, its budget is $7.5 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 48,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $626 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

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