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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:
Overview
Master's degrees
Doctorates
Sources of financial support
Demographic characteristics
Satisfaction with field of doctoral program
Postgraduation plans and postdoctoral fellowships
References
 
Sidebars
Appendix Tables
List of Figures
Presentation Slides

Graduate Degrees

Doctorates

Women
Minorities
Minority women
Students with disabilities

Doctoral degrees in S&E accounted for 63 percent of all research doctoral degrees awarded in 1999. The number of doctoral degrees awarded in S&E rose from 22,868 to 27,309 between 1990 and 1998, but dropped to 25,953 in 1999—the first drop since 1980.[2] (See appendix table 5-6.)

Women  top of page

Both the number of women earning doctoral degrees in, and their percentage of the total awards in, S&E rose steadily through 1998. At the beginning of the decade, women earned 6,370, or 28 percent, of all S&E doctoral degrees awarded in the United States. (See appendix table 5-7.) By 1999, they earned 9,084, or 35 percent. The number of women, as well as of men, earning S&E doctoral degrees dropped between 1998 and 1999. (See appendix table 5-8 and figure 5-4 figure.)

Women earn a smaller proportion of the doctoral degrees in S&E than they do in non-S&E fields. In 1999, women earned 8,409, or 55 percent, of the doctorates awarded in non-S&E fields. (See appendix table 5-7.) More specifically, they earned 64 percent of the doctorates awarded in the health fields and education.

By broad S&E field, women earned relatively high percentages of the doctoral degrees in psychology (67 percent), the biological sciences (43 percent), and the social sciences (42 percent); they earned lower percentages of the doctoral degrees in the physical sciences (23 percent), mathematics and computer science (22 percent), and engineering (15 percent) in 1999. (See appendix table 5-7.) The proportion of doctoral degrees earned by women in each of the major S&E fields and in all of the more detailed fields (e.g., chemical engineering, astronomy, oceanography, economics) increased between 1990 and 1999.

Minorities  top of page

U.S. citizens constituted 61 percent, non-U.S. citizens with temporary visas constituted 28 percent, and non-U.S. citizens with permanent residency constituted 6 percent of S&E doctorate recipients in 1999 (NSF/SRS 2001b). Across all racial/ethnic groups, U.S. citizens were less likely to earn their doctorates in an S&E field than were foreign citizens (either permanent U.S. residents or students on temporary visas). Asians, whether U.S. or non-U.S. citizens, were the most likely of all groups to have earned their doctorate in an S&E field.

Higher percentages of Asian and Hispanic S&E doctorate recipients than of other racial/ethnic groups were foreign citizens. Foreign citizen Asians constituted 84 percent of all Asian S&E doctorate recipients,[3] and foreign citizen Hispanics constituted 46 percent of all Hispanic S&E doctorate recipients in 1999. (See appendix table 5-10.)

Of the 17,428 doctorates in S&E earned by U.S. citizens and permanent residents in 1999,[4] 78 percent were earned by whites, 11 percent by Asians, 4 percent by Hispanics, 4 percent by blacks, and 0.7 percent by American Indians. (See appendix table 5-11.) The numbers of S&E doctoral degrees awarded to Asians, blacks, Hispanics, and American Indians who were U.S. citizens or permanent residents rose between 1990 and 1999. (See appendix table 5-11 and figure 5-5 figure.) The number of doctoral degrees awarded in S&E to whites remained relatively constant, fluctuating only slightly between 13,000 and 14,000 over the 1990–99 period.

Of all doctorates earned by Asians who were U.S. citizens or permanent residents in 1999, more than three-fourths (77 percent) were in S&E. In contrast, whites, Hispanics, and American Indians earned between 53 and 58 percent of their doctorates in S&E. Blacks, at 41 percent, were the least likely of all racial/ethnic groups to have earned their doctorate in an S&E field. (See figure 5-6 figure.) Among Hispanic subgroups, Mexican Americans earned 47 percent of their doctorates in S&E fields, Puerto Ricans 56 percent, and other Hispanics 59 percent.

Asians  top of page

Asians earned 11 percent of the S&E doctorates awarded to U.S. citizens and permanent residents in 1999; this was up from 7 percent in 1990. (See appendix table 5-11.) In 1999, Asians earned only 5 percent of the doctorates awarded in non-S&E fields.

The number of doctoral degrees in S&E earned by U.S. citizen or permanent resident Asians spiked in 1994 and 1995 as a result of changes in U.S. immigration policy. Although the numbers of these doctorate-holders dropped from 1996 through 1999, they were still well above the 1993 total. The increase was caused by the Chinese Student Protection Act of 1992, which made thousands of students from the People's Republic of China who were enrolled in U.S. universities in 1990 at the time of the Tiananmen incident eligible to apply for permanent residency in 1993. The number of these students who had permanent visas at the time of S&E doctorate conferral rose from 162 (or 8 percent of all S&E doctoral recipients from China) in 1992 to 2,169 (79 percent) in 1995. The percentage of doctorate recipients holding permanent visas dropped in 1998 and 1999 as the number of remaining students who had switched to permanent residency under the act declined.

Asians constituted 18 percent of both engineering and computer science, and 15 percent of biological science, doctorate recipients in 1999. They received relatively small proportions of the doctorates awarded in psychology (4 percent) and the social sciences (7 percent). (See appendix table 5-11.)

Blacks  top of page

Unlike other racial/ethnic groups, blacks earned more than half of their doctorates in non-S&E fields, primarily in education. Thirty-eight percent of the doctorates earned by blacks in 1999 were in education, compared with 19 percent earned by all U.S. citizens and permanent residents. (See figure 5-6 figure.) In contrast, while 77 percent of the doctorates earned by Asians were in S&E, only 7 percent of Asian Ph.D. degrees were awarded in education in 1999.

The number of S&E doctorates awarded to blacks rose in the 1990s, reaching 715 in 1999. (See appendix table 5-11.) Blacks accounted for 4 percent of all S&E doctorate recipients in that year, up from 2 percent in 1990. They received 8 percent of the doctorates awarded in non-S&E fields in 1999.

More than half (52 percent) of the S&E doctorates earned by blacks in 1999 were in psychology and the social sciences, compared with 35 percent of those earned by all U.S. citizens and permanent residents. (See appendix table 5-11.)

Hispanics  top of page

Hispanics earned 468 of the S&E doctoral degrees awarded in 1990 and 688 of those awarded in 1999. (See appendix table 5-11.) They comprised 4 percent of the S&E doctorate recipients in 1999, up from 3 percent in 1990. Hispanics also accounted for 4 percent of the doctorate recipients in non-S&E fields in 1999.

About one-fourth (24 percent) of the S&E doctorates earned by Hispanics in 1999 were awarded to Puerto Ricans; approximately another fourth (24 percent) went to Mexican Americans. (See appendix table 5-11.)

Fifty-five percent of all doctorates earned by Hispanics in 1999 were in S&E fields. Twenty-nine percent of the S&E doctorates earned by Hispanics were in psychology; in contrast, 19 percent of the S&E doctorates earned by all U.S. citizens and permanent residents were in this field.

American Indians  top of page

The number of S&E doctorates earned by American Indians more than doubled between 1990 and 1999, rising from 43 to 117. (See appendix table 5-11.) American Indians earned 0.7 percent of the S&E doctorates awarded to U.S. citizens and permanent residents in 1999, up from 0.3 percent in 1990. They earned 0.8 percent of non-S&E doctorates in 1999.

Fifty-six percent of the S&E doctorates earned by American Indians in 1999 were in psychology and the social sciences, compared with 35 percent of those earned by all U.S. citizens and permanent residents.

Minority women  top of page

As with master's degrees, the numbers of doctoral degrees in S&E awarded to men and women of all racial/ethnic groups increased from 1990 to 1999, with the single exception of white men. (See appendix table 5-16.) The numbers of doctorates granted to women more than doubled in some racial/ethnic groups, increasing from 252 to 728 for Asian women, 149 to 366 for black women, 178 to 344 for Hispanic women, 18 to 56 for American Indian women, and 4,522 to 5,421 for white women from 1990 to 1999.

The percentages of doctoral degrees granted in S&E to women in each racial/ethnic group also increased over the period. Asian, black, Hispanic, and American Indian women together accounted for less than 4 percent of U.S. citizen and permanent resident doctorate recipients in 1990. By 1999, Asian women alone received 4 percent, black women 2 percent, Hispanic women 2 percent, and American Indian women 0.3 percent of S&E doctoral degrees.

In 1999, black women earned more than half, and Hispanic women earned half, of the S&E doctorates awarded to their respective racial/ethnic groups. Women earned 48 percent of the S&E doctorates among American Indians, 40 percent among whites, and 37 percent among Asians. Among Hispanics, women earned 52 percent of the S&E doctorates awarded to both Puerto Ricans and other Hispanics and 45 percent of the doctorates awarded to Mexican Americans. (See appendix table 5-16.)

The field distributions of female S&E doctorate recipients were similar among minorities, with the exception of Asians and Puerto Ricans. Both Asian and Puerto Rican women were more likely than their counterparts in other racial/ethnic groups to receive doctorates in engineering and chemistry; they were less likely to receive doctorates in the social sciences. Asian women were also more likely than those in other groups to receive doctorates in the biological sciences and less likely in psychology. (See appendix table 5-17.)

The field distributions of male S&E doctorate recipients varied by race/ethnicity. Asian men were more likely than men of other racial/ethnic groups to be in engineering, especially electrical engineering, and less likely than men of other racial/ethnic groups to be in psychology or the social sciences. Black and American Indian men were more likely than men of other racial/ethnic groups to be in the social sciences and less likely than men of other racial/ethnic groups to be in the biological sciences. Higher percentages of Hispanic and American Indian men were in psychology, and a lower percentage of Mexican American men were in engineering, than was the case among men of other racial/ethnic groups. (See appendix table 5-17.)

Students with disabilities  top of page

The number of S&E doctorates earned by persons with disabilities was 332 in 1999, or about 1 percent of the total number of such degree awards. The number and percentage of S&E doctorate recipients with disabilities have not changed appreciably since 1993. (See appendix table 5-18.) The number of S&E doctorate recipients with orthopedic impairments increased since 1993, whereas the number with visual impairments decreased. (See appendix table 5-18.) Orthopedic impairments and multiple disabilities are the most prevalent types of disability reported by S&E doctorate recipients with disabilities. (See figure 5-8 figure.)

Higher percentages of doctoral recipients with disabilities than of those without earned their doctorates in 1999 in psychology, particularly clinical psychology—24 versus 14 percent; lower percentages earned their doctorates in the physical sciences and engineering. (See appendix table 5-20.)














Footnotes

[2]  See NSF (2001a) for data on doctoral degrees prior to 1990.

[3]  More than half (54 percent) of these individuals were from China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Another 15 percent were from India; 13 percent were from South Korea.

[4]  The data in the remainder of this section refer to U.S. citizens and permanent residents only. Permanent residents are included with U.S. citizens because almost all (94 percent) doctorate recipients in 1999 with permanent residency intended to remain in the United States. Approximately one-fourth of those with temporary visas intended to leave the United States.

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