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National Science Foundation National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics
Contents

General Notes

Data Tables

Appendix A. Technical Notes

Appendix B. Classification of Programs

Suggested Citation, Acknowledgments



Mark K. Fiegener,
Project Officer
(703) 292-4622
Human Resources Statistics Program

NCSES Home
Science and Engineering Degrees, by Race/Ethnicity: 1997–2006

 


Appendix A. Technical Notes

 

This report is based on final data from two federal surveys. The first is the U.S. Department of Education's Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) Completions Survey, conducted annually by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). The second is the Survey of Earned Doctorates, conducted annually for the National Science Foundation (NSF) and other federal agencies (five between 1997 and 2006). Each source is described in more detail in the following sections.

Data from the IPEDS Completions Survey were used to report the number of bachelor's and master's degrees and the number of doctoral degrees in engineering technologies. In 2003, these data became available by 6-digit Classification of Program (CIP) codes for race/ethnicity categories. The CIP 2000 codes are now used when mapping data to field of degree for all years that data were collected by CIP codes. Data collected before 2003 used 1985 and 1990 CIP codes; a crosswalk was performed to map these data to the 2000 CIP codes. If a corresponding 2000 CIP code did not exist, the 1990 CIP code was retained. The broad field of non-science and engineering can now be reported using subfields (education, humanities, health, and other/professional), providing another level of detail for this report.

Data on doctoral degrees in all fields except engineering technologies were derived from the Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED), which surveys all individuals earning research doctorates, rather than from the IPEDS Completions Survey, which surveys the institutions awarding the doctorates. SED data were preferred because the data provided by individuals are more specific with respect to the field of specialization and are less likely to contain errors in data reporting and data entry than are the aggregate data provided by institutions. Furthermore, doctorate data provide almost complete coverage for data by field and sex of individual recipients, whereas institutional data are subject to imputation for nonresponse. The number of doctoral degrees collected by the IPEDS Completions Survey is slightly higher than the number collected by the SED. This is primarily because the IPEDS Completions Survey collects data on both nonresearch and research doctorates, whereas the SED is limited to research doctorates (doctorates that require original research). The nonresearch doctorates excluded from the SED are mostly in the fields of theology and education, two nonscience fields of study, so the difference has minimal effect on the reporting of science and engineering degrees.

Bachelor's and Master's Degree Data

Bachelor's and master's degree data presented in this report were derived from The IPEDS Completions Survey. Surveys were mailed to all accredited universities and colleges in the United States, including the U.S. territories, for completion by the institution. Data were requested by sex and field of study of recipient for each degree level.

Follow-up for nonresponse and editing was conducted by letter and telephone. The overall response rate for institutions of higher education ranged from 91% to 99% between 1997 and 2006. Detailed national data were not released by NCES for the academic year ending 1999.

The manner of collecting racial and ethnic data is left to the discretion of the institutions, provided that the system results in reasonably accurate data. The information is gathered by NCES for the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights, in compliance with title I of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

The following five racial/ethnic categories were the standard in NCES surveys of education institutions in the reporting period 1997–2006:

Black, non-Hispanic—A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa (except those of Hispanic origin).

American Indian or Alaska Native, non-Hispanic—A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North America and who maintains cultural identification through tribal affiliation or community recognition.

Asian or Pacific Islander, non-Hispanic—A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent, or the Pacific Islands. These areas include, for example, China, Japan, Korea, the Philippine Islands, and Samoa.

Hispanic—A person of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race.

White, non-HispanicA person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, North Africa, or the Middle East (except those of Hispanic origin).

Persons who are U.S. citizens or foreign citizens admitted for permanent residence are classified into the above categories. The ethnic category "Hispanic" took precedence over the racial categories in the data collection. In addition, nonresident aliens, i.e., those admitted to the United States for temporary residence, are separately identified as a sixth category in the survey. Nonresident aliens are not reported in the aforementioned racial/ethnic groups. The definition used in the survey for this category is provided below.

Nonresident alien—A person who is not a citizen or national of the United States and who is in this country on a temporary basis and does not have the right to remain indefinitely. Resident aliens who are not citizens of the United States and who have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence (and who hold alien registration receipt cards—Form I‑551/155) are to be reported in the appropriate racial/ethnic categories along with U.S. citizens.

In examining data on degrees awarded to minorities, it must be noted that 2%–6% of all science and engineering degrees awarded in 1997–2006 were reported as awarded to individuals whose race/ethnicity was unknown. The "unknown" category could affect trends and observable changes in the number and share of awards received by minority students, particularly if there are shifts from year to year in the number of degree recipients with unknown race/ethnicity. As data tables 1 and 2 indicate, the share of degrees awarded to individuals whose race/ethnicity was unknown varied somewhat by degree level.

This NSF report differs from those published by NCES in that data for the U.S. territories and the commonwealth of Puerto Rico are included, whereas NCES excludes them from most of its published reports. Primarily, data for Hispanics are affected because institutions in Puerto Rico are included.

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Doctoral Degree Data

In the period 1997–2006 the Survey of Earned Doctorates was funded jointly by NSF and five other federal agencies: the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

The survey collects information for the period of 1 July of one year to 30 June of the next from all persons who have fulfilled the requirements for a research doctorate. Survey forms are sent to all accredited doctorate-granting institutions for distribution by the graduate deans to all research doctorate recipients as they complete degree requirements. Information collected in the survey comprises demographic data, such as the student's sex, citizenship, ethnicity, and racial group; education history, including field of degrees; sources of graduate student support; employment status during the year preceding receipt of the doctorate; postgraduation plans; and background on parents' education.

The six racial/ethnic categories used in the reporting period 1997–2006 follow. A change to the format of the race/ethnicity item on the 2001 SED survey has affected the classification of some respondents since that time. Prior to 2001 respondents were instructed to mark one racial category. Beginning in 2001 respondents have been instructed to mark one or more racial categories, and those who choose multiple racial categories are counted within the "Other/unknown race/ethnicity" category.

Black, non-Hispanic—A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa (except those of Hispanic origin).

American Indian or Alaska Native, non-Hispanic—A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North America and who maintains cultural identification through tribal affiliation or community recognition.

Asian, non-Hispanic—A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian Subcontinent. Native Hawaiians or Other Pacific Islanders were included in this category for the period 1997–2000.

Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, non-Hispanic—A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii or the Pacific Islands. Before 2001 this group was included in the category "Asian, non-Hispanic"; for the period 2001–06 this group is included in the category "Other/unknown race/ethnicity."

Hispanic—A person of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race.

White, non-HispanicA person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, North Africa, or the Middle East (except those of Hispanic origin).

The ethnic category "Hispanic" took precedence over the racial categories in the data collection. Doctorate recipients who reported Hispanic heritage, regardless of racial designation, are counted as Hispanic. The remaining survey respondents are then counted in their respective racial groups or as "Other/unknown race/ethnicity." This category includes those who did not indicate a racial group, and, for 2001–06, those reporting "Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander" and those choosing more than one race.

Persons who are U.S. citizens and foreign citizens admitted to the United States for permanent residence are classified into the above categories. Foreign citizens admitted to the United States for temporary residence are also classified into the above categories on the survey, but their data are reported as a separate category, "Temporary visa holder," in the tables. This category is equivalent to the "Nonresident alien" category for bachelor's and master's degree data collected by the IPEDS Completions Survey.

Approximately 92% of doctorate recipients complete and return the SED questionnaire. For nonrespondents, commencement programs, graduation lists, and other similar public records allow construction of partial records, limited to field of study, year of doctorate, doctoral institution, and sex, which are added to the data file. Nonresponse for race/ethnicity is not imputed for individuals, but the percentage unknown has been low (1%–3% of those with known citizenship; citizenship was unknown for 2%–7% of degree recipients). Data from any completed survey forms submitted belatedly by previous nonrespondents are added to the data file annually; therefore, data on doctorates are subject to revision and may differ slightly from reports published earlier. For more information on the SED, see http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/doctorates/.

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Data Availability

This report series is available online at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/degreerecipients/; related reports on bachelor's,  master's, and doctoral degrees are available at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/degrees/. Data from the SED and related reports are available at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/srvydoctorates/ and through the Web-Based Computer-Aided Science Policy Analysis and Research (WebCASPAR) database system at http://ncsesdata.nsf.gov/webcaspar/.

 
Science and Engineering Degrees, by Race/Ethnicity: 1997–2006
Detailed Statistical Tables | NSF 10-300 | November 2009