Science and Engineering Doctorate Awards: 2002

General Notes

The data presented in this report show trends in doctorate awards by science and engineering (S&E) field and recipient characteristics, institutions awarding doctorates, and postgraduation plans of recipients. The source of the data is the Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED). The data were developed as part of the Doctorate Data Project. The Doctorate Data Project consists of the Survey of Earned Doctorates (a census of research doctorate recipients) and the Survey of Doctorate Recipients (a biennial survey of the employment of doctoral scientists and engineers).

The SED has been conducted annually for the National Science Foundation (NSF) and five other Federal agencies. Information from this survey becomes part of the Doctorate Records File, which is a census of recipients of research doctorates awarded since 1920 by regionally accredited universities and colleges in the United States. Doctoral degrees such as the Ph.D. or D.Sc. are included in these surveys, but first professional degrees such as the J.D. or M.D. are not.

Data for the SED are collected directly from the individual doctorate recipients. The questionnaire is distributed through the cooperation of the graduate deans to persons as they are completing their doctorates. The data for a given year include all doctorates awarded in the 12-month period ending on June 30.

These tables present detailed data on science and engineering (S&E) doctorate recipients, with some totals provided for broad non-S&E fields in most tables. Detailed data on all fields of study are published annually in the interagency report Doctorate Recipients from United States Universities: Summary Report 2002. Data are also released by the other Federal agencies that sponsor the Survey of Earned Doctorates; the groupings of field specialties into broad fields may differ among the sponsoring agencies according to their missions.

In 2002, 91 percent of the doctorate recipients responded to the questionnaire. Over the period 1993–2002, the response rate varied between 91 and 95 percent. Note that most of the numbers presented are actual self-reports, as there are no adjustments for nonresponse. For the nonrespondents, partial data from public sources are added to the file; therefore, more complete counts are presented for conferred doctorates by field of study and sex of recipient. Because some tables present data subject to nonresponse, these summaries represent the conservative known responses for any data item. Therefore, small changes in numbers should be interpreted with caution, as numerical trends are affected by fluctuations in response rates; declines and increases may appear greater than they may be in reality.

For further information on the survey methodology or the availability of data on S&E doctorate recipients, please go to

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