GSS Logo Graduate Student Survey


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Assistantship, Research TOP
A research assistantship is a financial award given to a graduate student who is assigned primarily to research assistant activities.

Assistantship, Teaching TOP
A teaching assistantship is a financial award given to a graduate student who is assigned primarily to teaching assistant activities.

Computer-Aided Science Policy Analysis and Research (CASPAR) database system TOP
CASPAR is an easy-to-use tool for retrieval and analysis of statistical data on academic resources. It provides the analyst with an extensive and growing library of multi-year statistics on the state of higher education in general, and academic science and engineering resources specifically. The data library is based on sets of standardized institution and discipline definitions across the multiple sources in the database.

Degree Level TOP
Degree level refers to type of graduate degree granted by each department or program, either Ph.D, Master's, or No Ph.D or Master's Degree Offered (i.e., a no-degree program). Ph.D. equivalent degrees such as Sc.D. and D.Eng. are also included, but Ed.D., M.D., and other professional degrees are not.

Department or Program TOP
Departments or programs are the reporting units within an institution from which the data are collected. To be eligible for the survey, they must be graduate degree-granting departments or programs in science or engineering (S&E) fields.

The Graduate Student Survey Statistical Database Management System consists of a series of screens arranged in a hierarchy. Institutions constitute the hierarchy's highest level and are arranged numerically according to FICE code. The second level consists of schools or reporting units, arranged numerically within an institution according to School Identification Number (SIN). The SIN is a unique 7-digit number formatted as follows: the first six digits represent the institution's FICE code, and the last digit is the school sequence number. The third level consists of departments or programs, arranged within each school in numerical order according to Discipline Identification Number (DIN). The DIN is a unique 5-digit number formatted for each department as follows: the first three digits are the Discipline Code, and the final two digits make up the Department Sequence Number.

Division of Science Resources Studies (SRS) TOP
The Division of Science Resources Studies (SRS), part of the National Science Foundation's Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Science, gathers and analyzes data on science and engineering (S&E) resources in each sector of the economy and at the national and international levels. Decisions by Federal and State agencies, industry, and academic officials on the allocation of resources are often based on data collected by SRS.

Doctorate-Granting Institution TOP
A doctorate-granting institution is a university, its affiliated schools or colleges (medical school, dental school, etc.), or any branch campus that grants science and engineering (S&E) doctorates. This definition differs from that used by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), which considers only those institutions that granted "significant numbers" of doctoral degrees to be doctorate-granting institutions.

Fall 19xx TOP
Institutions record data based on information from the fall semester only.

Federal Interagency Committee on Education (FICE) Code TOP
FICE codes are assigned by the Department of Education and are used as the primary identifier for each academic institution in the Graduate Student Survey. A FICE code consists of an unstructured 6-digit number that is unique for each institution. Institutions included in this survey are arranged in the database in ascending FICE code sequence.

Federal Sources of Support TOP
Federal sources of support include all agencies, offices, and departments of the U.S. Federal Government. This includes the Department of Defense (DOD), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as well as all other Federal entities. Students whose primary source of support is through Federally guaranteed student loans are not considered to be Federally supported but rather are counted as self-supported in this survey.

Fellowship TOP
A fellowship is any competitive award (often from a national competition) made to a student that requires no work of the recipient.

See also Traineeship.

First-Time Graduate Student TOP
A first-time graduate student has enrolled in the program in which he or she is pursuing a degree as of the beginning of the fall term. All other students should be considered to be beyond their first time of enrollment.

Foreign Sources of Support TOP
A foreign source of support is any non-U.S. funding source, such as foreign governments, industrial firms, or specialized agencies of the United Nations.

Foreign Students and U.S. Citizens TOP
For the purposes of the Graduate Student Survey any student holding a temporary visa is counted as "foreign," regardless of his or her race/ethnicity. U.S. citizens and permanent residents are reported according to their racial/ethnic category as defined by the Bureau of the Census. The definition of U.S. citizens and permanent residents includes native residents of a U.S. possession and applicants for U.S. citizenship holding green cards.

See also Race/Ethnicity.

Form 811 (List of Departments or Programs) TOP
The form 811 includes general instructions to all coordinators and a list of departments and programs specific to each school. The instructions explain how to mark the form to reflect any changes in the department list, including merged, split, deleted, or new departments/programs. The list of departments and programs includes the department name, code, degree level, and the number of full-time students, part-time students, and postdoctoral appointees.

Form 812 (Department or Program Data Sheet) TOP
The form 812 is the questionnaire form on which the data for each department or program within an institution are recorded. Respondents use a separate form 812 for each S&E graduate degree-granting department or program. The form 812 also contains definitions, instructions on how to record the data, and information on the person(s) to call for further assistance.

Full-Time Graduate Student TOP
A graduate student is classified as "full-time" according to each individual institution's policy and definition of full-time status. This may include any combination of study, teaching, and research. For example, many institutions base full-time status on the number of credit hours taken; others calculate full-time according to the amount of fees paid by the student.

Graduate Student TOP
A graduate student is a person enrolled for credit in any science and engineering (S&E) master's or Ph.D. degree program in the fall semester. Individuals who already hold graduate or medical degrees and are working on another master's or Ph.D. degree are considered graduate students, as are S&E students performing thesis or dissertation research away from campus (for example, at Government or contractor-owned facilities) in the United States as long as they are enrolled for credit in an advanced-degree program.

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) TOP
Historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) are institutions of higher education that have been historically considered to enroll predominantly black students. An official list of HBCUs is maintained by the Department of Education. This list, which is reviewed annually, serves as the basis by which institutions are considered to have HBCU standing for the Graduate Student Survey.

Imputation TOP
Imputation, as defined by NSF, denotes a computerized process that estimates data for fully or partially nonrespondent institutions based on their own data from earlier years, if available, or data from peer institutions. Data can be imputed for an entire institution, a department, or individual data cells within a department for which actual data could not be provided. The imputation procedures are described in more detail in the Methodology Report.

Inflator/Deflator Factors TOP
The imputation process involves calculating inflator/deflator factors which reflect national growth/decline for key variable data. The key variables come from fully responding departments in both the current and previous year's surveys for each combination of degree level and discipline. For a partially nonresponding department, after the key variables are calculated, they are distributed among the various subtotal and detail fields by using the same relative percentages last reported for that department. For a totally nonrespondent department, the inflator/deflator factors are applied to the previous year's key variable values for the department to derive a current year estimate.

Institutional Profiles TOP
Selected data items for individual doctorate-granting, master's-granting, and historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) are available on computer-generated institutional profiles. The profiles consist of data for the Graduate Student Survey, NSF/SRS R&D Expenditures Survey, and the NSF/SRS Survey of Federal Support to Universities, Colleges, and Nonprofit Institutions. Institutional profiles for a single institution, or limited group of institutions, may be requested by contacting Mr. Richard J. Bennof of SRS at (703) 306-1772;

Institutional Support TOP
Students with institutional support receive their largest source of financial support through institutional funds. This category includes students receiving tuition waivers. State and local government support are also reported as institutional support.

Key Variables TOP
Key variables are four specific data items from the NSF form 812: total full-time students; total part-time students; total postdoctoral appointees; and total non-faculty doctoral researchers. The imputation process uses the key variables to estimate data for fully or partially nonresponding institutions. Just before closeout, all schools declining to participate are contacted a final time in order to obtain key variables necessary for imputing data.

Medical School TOP
Data reported by medical schools are tabulated and analyzed separately from those of graduate schools. Student counts exclude M.D., D.V.M., D.D.S., and D.O. candidates, interns and residents unless they are concurrently working for a master's or Ph.D in a science or engineering field or are enrolled in a joint M.D./Ph.D. program.

No-Degree Program TOP
For the purposes of this survey, departments or programs that do not offer graduate degrees (Ph.D. or master's) are considered as "no-degree" programs, even if they grant a first professional doctorate. Such "no-degree" programs should not report students, postdoctoral appointees, or anyone else in items 5, 6, and 7 of the form 812. Individuals in a "no-degree" program are included only in Item 8, and only if they qualify as postdoctoral appointees or other non-faculty research staff.

Other Nonfaculty Research Staff with Doctorates TOP
Located in item 8 of the form 812, Other Nonfaculty Research Staff with Doctorates includes all doctorate-holding scientists and engineers who are involved principally in research activities but are not considered either postdoctoral appointees or members of the regular faculty.

Other U.S. Sources of Support TOP
The category Other U.S. Sources of Support includes students supported by industrial firms, nonprofit institutions (independent research institutes, professional societies, philanthropic foundations, etc.), and all other sources of support originating within the United States. However, Other U.S. Sources of Support does not include loans, family money, or personal savings used by students supporting themselves, nor does it include Federal or institutional sources of support. Students supported primarily by foreign industrial firms, as well as by foreign governments, are reported under "foreign sources."

Part-Time Graduate Student TOP
Part-time graduate students pursue a science and engineering (S&E) graduate degree, but not on a full-time schedule, as defined by the institution. They are reported as part-time based on each individual institution's definition of part-time status.

Postdoctorate TOP
Postdoctorates have science and engineering (S&E) Ph.D.'s, M.D.'s, D.D.S.'s or D.V.M.'s (including foreign degrees equivalent to U.S. doctorates) and devote their primary effort to their own research training through research activities or study in the department under temporary appointments carrying no academic rank. These individuals may contribute to the academic program through seminars, lectures, or working with graduate students. They are not themselves graduate students.

Primary Source of Support TOP
Students are reported only once by their largest, or primary source of support for the fall semester. If a student is supported by multiple sources, he or she would not be counted separately for each source, but instead would be counted only once by the largest source of support.

Race/Ethnicity TOP
The Bureau of the Census definitions of race/ethnicity used in this survey are as follows:

See also Foreign Students and U.S. Citizens.

Sample Population TOP
From 1984 to 1987, the Graduate Student Survey was conducted as a sample consisting of three strata: a certainty stratum that included all doctorate-granting institutions and all historically black colleges and universities; a probability stratum that included a sample of large master's-granting institutions; and a probability stratum that included a random sample of small master's-granting institutions. The complete survey universe has been surveyed since fall 1988.

Science and Engineering (S&E) TOP
Science and Engineering (S&E) refers to disciplines in the fields of Engineering, Physical Sciences, Mathematical Sciences, Computer Sciences, Life Sciences, Psychology, and Social Sciences. A more complete list of S&E disciplines is available.

Self-Supported Student TOP
Self-supported students are those whose largest source of support comes from any loans (including Federal loans) or from personal or family financial contributions.

Survey Universe TOP
Survey Universe includes all the institutions in the survey population in any given year. Since the survey was first conducted in 1972, the survey universe has been expanded in three ways: first, by including all medical schools with graduate programs; second, by broadening the scope to include additional doctorate-granting institutions and a wider range of academic departments; and third, by including all science and engineering departments in institutions that grant a master's as the highest degree in the sciences and engineering. In its present form, the survey provides national estimates of graduate enrollment and postdoctoral appointment in all U.S. academic institutions that grant doctoral or master's degrees or have postdoctoral programs in any science and engineering (S&E) field.

Traineeship TOP
A traineeship is an educational award given to a student selected by the institution.

See also Fellowship.