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women and minorities
Introduction Chapter 1: Precollege Education Chapter 2: Undergraduate Enrollment Chapter 3: Undergraduate Degrees Chapter 4: Graduate Enrollment Chapter 5: Graduate Degrees Chapter 6: Employment Technical Notes Appendix Tables
Chapter Contents:
Transition to graduate school
Enrollment trends
Fields of study
Enrollment status
Sources of financial support
Debt at graduation
Appendix Tables
List of Figures
Presentation Slides

Graduate Enrollment

Fields of Study
Students with disabilities

Women  top of page

Women account for more than half of all graduate students in some science fields: in 1999, for example, 72 percent of the graduate students in psychology were female, as were 53 percent in the biological sciences and in the social sciences. (See figure 4-2 figure and appendix tables 4-1 and 4-2.) Roughly 30 to 40 percent of the graduate students in most other science fields—the physical sciences; the earth, atmospheric, and ocean sciences; mathematics; computer science; and the agricultural sciences—were female. In contrast, women only accounted for 21 percent of all graduate students in engineering.

Minorities  top of page

Among U.S. citizens and permanent residents,[6] the field distributions of S&E graduate students for the various racial/ethnic groups are quite different. Larger percentages of black, Hispanic, and American Indian S&E graduate students, as well as of white students, were in the social and behavioral sciences compared to Asian students in 1999. Specifically, more than half of black, Hispanic, and American Indian S&E graduate students and 39 percent of white S&E graduate students were in psychology or the social sciences compared with 20 percent for Asians. On the other hand, larger percentages of Asian S&E graduate students than of other groups were in engineering and computer science. (See figure 4-4 figure.) These differences in field distribution by race/ethnicity hold for both men and women. (See appendix tables 4-8 and 4-9.)

Students with disabilities  top of page

There are substantial variations in graduate field choice based on disability status. Smaller percentages of graduate students with disabilities than of those without disabilities were in the life and physical sciences and in engineering, computer science, and mathematics in 1996. Roughly the same proportions of all graduate students with and without disabilities were in the social and behavioral sciences and in many non-S&E fields. On the other hand, a much higher percentage of students with disabilities (29 percent) than of those without (12 percent) were enrolled in graduate health programs. (See figure 4-5 figure and appendix table 4-13.)


[6]  Data refer to U.S. citizens and permanent residents only.

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