nsf.gov - NCSES Graduate Students and Postdoctorates in Science and Engineering: Fall 2007 - US National Science Foundation (NSF)
Untitled Document text-only page produced automatically by LIFT Text
Transcoder Skip all navigation and go to page contentSkip top navigation and go to directorate navigationSkip top navigation and go to page navigation
National Science Foundation National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics
Contents

General Notes

Data Tables

Appendix A. Technical Notes

Appendix B. Survey Materials

Suggested Citation, Acknowledgments



Susan T. Hill,
Project Officer
(703) 292-7790
Human Resources Statistics Program

NCSES Home
Graduate Students and Postdoctorates in Science and Engineering: Fall 2007

 


Appendix A. Technical Notes

 

Survey Universe

The Survey of Graduate Students and Postdoctorates in Science and Engineering (GSS) is an annual census of all known academic institutions in the United States that grant master's degrees or research doctorates, make postdoctoral appointments, or employ doctorate-holding nonfaculty researchers in science, engineering, and selected health fields.[1] The data collected in the 2007 GSS represent national estimates of graduate student enrollment and postdoctoral employment as of fall 2007.

In 2007 the survey universe consisted of 700 schools at 582 academic institutions: 493 schools at 375 doctorate-granting institutions and 207 schools at 207 master's-granting institutions.[2] Data collected included demographic and funding information for graduate students and postdoctoral appointees, and counts of doctorate-holding nonfaculty researchers.

In the 2007 GSS survey cycle new procedures were introduced to address suspected undercoverage of GSS-eligible units, and the list of GSS-eligible fields was revised. As a result, the survey universe for 2007 is different from that in prior years (see "Survey Instrument and Procedures").

Table A-1 shows the number of institutions, schools, and organizational units (i.e., departments, degree-granting programs, research centers, and health facilities) by degree level covered by the GSS, and shows estimated total enrollment annually between 1966 and 2007. Changes in the survey that affect comparability of these data are as follows:

  • 2007: Three newly eligible fields were added to the survey, some degree-granting programs became ineligible, and others were reclassified. 2007 data collected under this methodology are not directly comparable with data from prior years. The 2007 data tables include an estimate of 2007 data under the 2006 methodology ("2007old") for trend analyses.
  • 1975–2006: The data are intended to represent consistent coverage of S&E and selected health fields. In 1989 NSF revised the coverage of S&E fields in the survey. Some fields were excluded, and the data for 1975–88 subsequently were revised to reflect this change. Since 1988 the survey has attempted to cover all academic institutions that grant masters' or doctoral degrees, make postdoctoral appointments, or employ doctorate-holding nonfaculty researchers in S&E or selected health fields.
  • 1984–87: Data on master's-granting institutions were collected on a sample basis. Enrollment data for this period have been adjusted to account for the sampling and reflect estimated universe totals.
  • 1972–74: Eligibility definitions changed, affecting both S&E fields and types of institutions surveyed. These data are not comparable to data collected before 1972 or after 1974.
  • 1966–71: Totals are for the NSF Graduate Traineeship program only and are not comparable with data from 1972 through 2007.

Tables A-2-4 show the response rates for different categories and tables A5-12 show imputations rates for different categories.

Top of page. Back to Top

Survey Instrument and Procedures

The GSS is undergoing a redesign effort that began implementation with the 2007 data collection. Changes to the survey instrument are described below.

Data on graduate student enrollment are collected by field of study from administrative records. A Web survey system is the primary mode of data submission. The survey cycle was launched in October and concluded in June.

The 2007 GSS Web survey consisted of two parts. Part 1 (formerly Form 811) required the identification of "units," a new term that refers to GSS-eligible departments, degree-granting programs, research centers, or health facilities within the reporting school. Beginning with the 2007 data collection, Part 1 could only be completed in the Web survey system.

Part 2 (formerly Form 812) collected counts of graduate students, postdoctoral appointees, and doctorate-holding nonfaculty researchers. A paper worksheet was provided for preparing figures to later be entered in Part 2 of the Web survey. To assist with the transfer of information, the content and table format of the paper worksheet were identical to Part 2 of the Web survey. A small number of school coordinators chose to submit Part 2 data using the paper worksheet.

Institutions select a coordinator for each school that grants a graduate degree in an eligible field. School coordinators for the GSS are responsible for the following:

  • Identifying all eligible units (departments, degree-granting programs, research centers, and health facilities)
  • Reporting GSS data or delegating reporting to unit respondents or personnel in nonacademic departments, such as the financial aid office or the registrar's office
  • Submitting the data for all units to the survey contractor

Revisions Affecting Survey Universe

Units. The Web survey was redesigned in 2007 in an effort to avoid exclusion of eligible degree-granting units and other GSS relevant entities, such as research centers and hospitals affiliated with universities and that employ postdoctoral appointees, nonfaculty researchers, or both. In 2007 an exhaustive list of GSS-eligible degree-granting programs, corresponding GSS-field, and GSS field code was provided to the school coordinator in the survey materials. In previous years this list showed only representative degree-granting programs, GSS fields, and codes. School coordinators use the list to identify units within the scope of the GSS and assign the appropriate GSS field code to those units. School coordinators were instructed to update their unit list with both teaching units and research units. To submit Part 1, the school coordinator was required to confirm that the unit list was complete and that appropriate GSS field codes had been assigned to each unit.

Until 2007 school coordinators were unable to reassign the GSS field for a given unit without deleting the existing unit and replacing it with a new unit with a new field code. Once done, the unit was no longer linked to its prior-year data. In 2007 school coordinators were able to change the field code by selecting a more appropriate field from a list. Consequently, school coordinators may have been more likely to change a unit to its appropriate field.

Fields of study and degree-granting programs. A comprehensive review of GSS-eligible fields led to several changes to the classification scheme, and GSS-eligible degree-granting programs were updated from the 1990 to the 2000 Classification of Instructional Programming (CIP) taxonomy of the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Degree-granting programs that had previously been represented by a four-digit CIP code are now represented at the six-digit level of specificity.

  • The science fields "communication," "family and consumer science/human science," and "multidisciplinary/interdisciplinary studies" were newly eligible. Some students, postdocs, and nonfaculty researchers reported in these fields in 2007 had been reported under other GSS fields in previous years.
  • Architecture, previously classified in civil engineering, was reclassified as its own engineering field.
  • Neuroscience, previously classified in the health field neurology, was reclassified as a separate science field.
  • Degree-granting programs leading to a master's degree in 24 fields (mostly in health) were ineligible for the 2007 GSS because they were determined to provide practitioner degrees rather than research-oriented degrees (exhibit 1). Doctoral degrees in these fields remained eligible.
  • Thirty-four previously eligible degree-granting programs were determined to be ineligible because they provide professional degrees or were in fields that did not meet GSS criteria for science and engineering (exhibit 2).
  • Thirteen degree-granting programs that were listed in 2006 were mapped to different GSS fields and codes in 2007 (see exhibit 3). Five of these were mapped to the new field "multidisciplinary/interdisciplinary studies."

Due to these adjustments to the taxonomy and other methodological changes introduced in 2007, data for 2007 are not directly comparable with data from previous years. For trend analyses, the data tables provide estimates of the counts that would have been collected in 2007 had the 2006 methodology been used (see "Bridge-Year Calculation and Display," below).

EXHIBIT 1. Degree-granting programs leading to a master's degree excluded from 2007 GSS.

EXHIBIT 2. Degree-granting programs newly ineligible to the GSS.

EXHIBIT 3. Degree-granting programs mapped to different GSS fields in 2007 survey cycle.

Revisions to Instructions and Definitions

In 2007 all survey instructions, including definitions, were reviewed and revised to streamline instructions and clarify descriptions of eligibility and definitions of items to be reported. For the Web instrument, this included enhanced help-system capabilities, such as topic searches and navigation.

Top of page. Back to Top

Bridge-Year Data Calculation and Display

Due to the methodological changes introduced in 2007, including modifications to the set of GSS-eligible fields, most data tables provide data for 2007 in two ways: "2007old" and "2007new." Data shown under 2007old provide estimates of the counts that would have been collected in 2007 had the 2006 methodology been used. Counts reported under 2007new were collected using the methodology introduced in 2007.

To derive counts for 2007old, all units that were reported in the 2006 data collection and retained in 2007 were given the GSS field assigned in 2006. This is consistent with the 2006 GSS coding because the Web survey system before 2007 did not have a direct mechanism for changing GSS codes, and very little recoding was done. Any new unit added in 2007 was given the GSS field code assigned to it, with the following exceptions:

  • Added units coded as "communication," "family and consumer science/human science," or "multidisciplinary/interdisciplinary studies" were not included in 2007old because these codes were newly eligible science fields in 2007 (unavailable in 2006)
  • Added units coded as "architecture" in 2007 were reassigned to "civil engineering" in 2007old because "architecture" was subsumed within "civil engineering" in the 2006 GSS taxonomy
  • Added units coded as "neuroscience" in 2007 were reassigned to "neurology" in 2007old because "neuroscience" was subsumed within "neurology" in the 2006 GSS taxonomy

The 2007old counts are based on a subset of the 2007 data due to the first exception listed above. The 2007 old counts are not entirely comparable to 2006 counts because of exclusion of some formerly-eligible units. Of the 12,629 units collected in the 2007 survey, 380 were excluded from the 2007old counts because they would not have been eligible for the 2006 data collection.

A comparison of 2007old with 2007new data reflects differences due to the addition of the three newly added science fields and recoding of units from their 2006 fields to other fields.

For the tables that present only 2007 data in this report, only data for 2007new are presented. For these tables, additional technical tables are available upon request that present the 2007old data.

Top of page. Back to Top

Response Rates

An interim deadline of November 30 was established for Part 1, the update of the unit list. Schools that missed this Part 1 deadline received special attention from the survey contractor early in the survey cycle. The deadline for submitting data for Part 2 was extended by one month from previous years to the end of February; this extended deadline for Part 2 did not adversely affect response rates or the timely close-out of the survey.

Schools
The method used in 2007 to calculate school response rate was consistent with the approach used from 2004 through 2006. A school was considered a complete respondent if 90% or more of its units provided complete or partial data. A school's response was considered partial if at least 50% but less than 90% of its units provided complete or partial data. Schools for which less than 50% of the units provided data were deemed nonrespondents. Of the 700 eligible schools, 668 (95.4%) were complete respondents, 10 (1.4%) were partial respondents, and 22 (3.1%) were nonrespondents.

Institutions
Institutional response rates were calculated using the same thresholds for unit response used for schools. Of the 582 eligible institutions, 552 (94.9%) were complete respondents, 10 (1.7%) were partial respondents, and 20 (3.4%) were nonrespondents.

Units
The method for calculating the response rate for units was changed in 2007. As in prior years, classification was based on responses to the survey's three data-collection tables (graduate student counts by race/ethnicity; graduate student counts by sources/mechanisms of support; and counts of postdocs and nonfaculty researchers), but the criteria for classifying a unit's response were more stringent:

  • Units that required no imputation for any of the three tables were counted as complete respondents
  • Units that required partial imputation for any of the three tables were considered partial respondents
  • Units that required imputation for all cells were counted as nonrespondents

From 2004 through 2006, a unit was considered a complete respondent if it reported complete row and column totals in the three data-collection tables and a partial respondent if it reported only grand totals for these three tables. As in previous years, data tables in the Web survey were prefilled with zeros. In 2007 a checkbox was added above the data tables on each of these screens. The respondent was required to check this box to acknowledge explicitly that the unit had no individuals to report for that particular table, allowing true zeros to be distinguished from nonresponse for the table. Prefilled zeros were considered legitimate responses if the data table screen was visited and left with all zeros in place. Any unit that did not meet the requirements for complete or partial respondent status was considered a nonrespondent.

In 2007 complete row and column totals for all tables were necessary for complete response status in 2007 as well as all details summing to the totals. Tables with a completed checkbox, indicating no individuals to report, contributed to a complete response for the unit. Tables with unchanged, prefilled zeros and a blank checkbox disqualified the unit from complete response status.

In 2007 units that had only complete row and column totals for all three tables were counted as partial respondents. As in prior years, units that reported only grand totals for all three tables were counted as partial respondents. In 2007 an allowance was made for units that provided complete or partial data for at least one (but not all) of the three tables. These units were counted as partials.

These new response rate calculations adhere to American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) standards for computing response rates.[3]

In 2007, the GSS received complete responses from 11,020 (87.3%) of the 12,629 eligible units. An additional 1,290 units (10.2%) were considered partial respondents. The remaining 319 units (2.5%) were classified as nonrespondents.

Top of page. Back to Top

Coverage

New data collection procedures introduced in the 2007 survey cycle (see "Survey Instrument and Procedures") appear to have greatly improved coverage at the reporting unit level. In the 2007 survey cycle, 1,273 units were added, as compared with 328 units in 2006. The dramatic increase in the number of units added in the 2007 data collection suggests that there was undercoverage of GSS-eligible units in previous survey years.

Top of page. Back to Top

Retrieval and Editing

Minimal post-data collection editing was required for the 2007 data because the redesigned Web survey system yielded fewer errors in submitted data:

  • Interactive edit checks ensured that counts provided were internally consistent and within an expected range based on the previous year's data. Unit respondents were asked to explain the discrepancy when counts were significantly different from the response provided in 2006.
  • Data fluctuations that were not sufficiently explained during the data collection were flagged for follow-up by telephone call to the school coordinator. Resulting revisions were made directly in the Web survey by project staff, by the school coordinator, or by unit respondents under the direction of the school coordinator.
  • Remaining errors were addressed using imputation techniques implemented post-data collection.

Top of page. Back to Top

Item Nonresponse and Imputation

Of the 201 items collected in the 2007 GSS, the mean nonresponse rate was 6.6%. The item nonresponse rates ranged from 2.7% to 9.8%. All missing data were imputed.

Different imputation techniques were used for units with and without reported data in the last 5 years. For units with at least 1 year of reported data in the last 5 years, a carry-forward imputation method was used. Inflation factors were calculated for four key totals to account for year-to-year change. The previous year's key totals were then multiplied by these inflation factors to calculate the imputed values for the current year's key totals. Finally, all other variables were imputed by distributing the imputed key totals according to the previous year's proportions.

For units with no reported data in the last 5 years, a nearest neighbor imputation method was used. A donor was identified if it was in the same field as the unit for which data were to be imputed and had the closest number of graduate-level completions reported in the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) completions survey. The imputed values were calculated by adjusting the donor's values to account for the difference in the number of graduate-level completions between the two units.

Top of page. Back to Top

Known or Suspected Sources of Nonsampling Error

Cognitive interviews, site visits, and other communications with school coordinators and unit respondents have pointed to a number of possible sources of measurement error. These are discussed below, along with steps taken to minimize their impact on the data.

First, although instructions emphasize that each individual should be enumerated only once, there is anecdotal evidence that some individuals have been counted twice by different school coordinators at the same institution or at institutions offering a joint program. In an attempt to prevent double counting, the Coordinator Contact Information screen in the 2007 Web survey provided names and contact information for all school coordinators at the institution.

Data on the race and ethnicity of graduate students also appears to be subject to some measurement error. The Office of Management and Budget standards treat Hispanics as an ethnic group rather than a racial group. Following these standards, "Hispanic" is not supposed to be counted as a race in GSS. Cognitive interviews with respondents have revealed that this is a source of confusion and may lead to nonsampling error.

Types of support that are not channeled through the institution, such as self-support, may be underreported. Foreign sources of support may not always be known. School coordinators and unit respondents may also have difficulty breaking down financial information by field, such as when a student is enrolled in one unit but receives support from another. Finally, institutions define mechanisms of support differently (e.g., fellowships vs. traineeships) and may report students according to the institution's definition rather than the definition provided by GSS.

In the 2007 survey cycle, some unit respondents provided notes indicating that although their units did have postdocs, they were unable to provide data for them. This reinforced reports from site visits, cognitive interviews, and other correspondence about the difficulty of providing this information.

Top of page. Back to Top

Changes in Eligibility and Degree-Granting Status

Institutions are classified as doctorate-granting if at least one GSS-eligible unit confers doctorate degrees. Sixteen institutions changed GSS degree-granting status in 2007. The status of eight institutions or schools changed from eligible to ineligible, based on criteria for inclusion in the GSS (see "Survey Universe," above).

Status changed to doctorate-granting from master's-granting, 9 institutions:

• Alabama State U. • Manhattan College
• Bradley U. • Texas A&M U. Corpus Christi
• Gannon U. • Russell Sage College
• Grand Valley State U. • U. West Georgia
• Ithaca College  

 

Status changed to master's-granting from doctorate-granting, 7 institutions:

• Charles R. Drew U. Medicine & Science • Pittsburg State U.
• CUNY Herbert H. Lehman College • Slippery Rock U. Pennsylvania
• Kansas City U. Medicine and Biosciences • U. Wisconsin-Stevens Point
• New York Institute of Technology  

 

Status changed from eligible to ineligible, 8 institutions/schools:

• Harvey Mudd College • St. Bonaventure U.
• Indiana Wesleyan U. • West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine
• New York College of Osteopathic Medicine, NY Institute of Technology • Whitworth College
• Pacific Lutheran U. • Wright Institute

 

Institution Name Changes, Mergers, and Joint Programs


A number of institutions reported name changes in 2007.



2006 name 2007 name
• Central Missouri State U. • U. Central Missouri
• Graduate College of Union U. • Union Graduate College
• Saint Martin's College • Saint Martin's U.
• State U. West Georgia • U. West Georgia
• U. Missouri-Rolla • Missouri U. Science & Technology
• Walla Walla College • Walla Walla U.

 

The Medical College of Ohio merged on 1 July 2006 with the University of Toledo. Units previously reported for the Medical College of Ohio are now reported under the University of Toledo.

In 2007 it was discovered that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution had both previously reported on graduate students in a joint degree-granting program. Personnel at the institutions agreed that only MIT would report on these students in 2007 and in the future.

Top of page. Back to Top

Data Revisions

With the 2007 DSTs, the GSS discontinued the practice of revising previous years' data based on changes in units' eligibility and institutions' doctorate-granting status in the current survey cycle. Previously, reported counts for a given year fluctuated with each annual report because the current year's eligibility and doctorate-granting status were applied retrospectively to all years in the tables. Except in table 68, counts in the data tables for 2001–06 reflect eligibility and doctorate-granting status as of fall 2006; they have not been adjusted to reflect changes in status that occurred between fall 2006 and fall 2007.

Table 68 historically has listed and ranked each institution that was doctorate-granting in the current survey cycle regardless of doctoral-degree-granting status or eligibility in previous years. Institutions that became ineligible were unranked at the end of the table, and eligible master's-granting institutions were not displayed. These rules have been continued in 2007. Thus, in table 68, data in years 2001–06 are counts of graduate students in those institutions that were doctorate-granting in 2007, and totals for 2001–06 in this table differ from totals for 2001–06 in other tables for doctorate-granting institutions in this report.

When requested by the institution, GSS will replace imputed estimates with actual data, but only for the prior survey cycle. During the 2007 GSS survey cycle, one academic institution requested that counts of postdocs and nonfaculty researchers that had been imputed in 2006 be replaced with actual data that had become available. These revisions account for differences between the 2006 and 2007 data tables of reported counts of 2006 postdocs and nonfaculty researchers.

Top of page. Back to Top

Definitions

Data collected in 2007 included demographic and funding information for graduate students, postdoctoral appointees, and doctorate-holding nonfaculty researchers. Definitions of key terms follow.

Enrollment Status
Full-time and part-time—Respondents were instructed to use their institution's definition.

First-time—First-time graduate students are those who have enrolled for graduate credit at the institution at which they are pursuing a degree for the first time in the fall 2007 term.

Race/ethnicity
The GSS uses definitions of race/ethnicity that are based on the Office of Management and Budget's "Standards for the Classification of Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity":

American Indian or Alaska Native—A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America) and who maintains tribal affiliation or community attachment.

Asian—A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent, including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Black or African American—A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa.

Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander—A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific islands.

White—A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa.

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

Graduate Student Mechanisms of Support
Graduate fellowship—Any competitive award (often from a national competition) given to a student that requires no work of the recipient.

Graduate traineeship—An educational award given to a student selected by the institution.

Graduate research assistantship—An assistantship where most of the student's responsibilities are devoted to research.

Graduate teaching assistantship—An assistantship where most of the student's responsibilities are devoted to teaching.

Other types of support—All other mechanisms of support for full-time students, including self-supported students and members of the armed forces whose tuition is paid by the U.S. Department of Defense.

Postdoctoral Appointees (postdocs)
Postdoc—An individual who meets both of the following qualifications:

(1) Holds a recent doctoral degree, generally awarded within the last 5 years, such as

  • PhD or equivalent (e.g., ScD or DEng)
  • First-professional degree in a medical or related field (MD, DDS, DO, DVM)
  • Foreign equivalent to a U.S. doctoral degree

(2) Has a limited-term appointment, generally from 5 to 7 years

  • Primarily for training in research or scholarship
  • Working under the supervision of a senior scholar in a unit affiliated with the institution

Postdoctoral mechanisms of support:
Federal fellowship—Any competitive award from the U.S. government (often from a national competition) that requires no work of the recipient.

Federal traineeship—An educational award from the U.S. government given to a postdoc selected by the institution.

Federal research grant—A type of financial assistance award from the U.S. government to an organization or individual to conduct specific research activities.

Nonfederal support—Support from state and local government; the academic institution; foreign sources (e.g., foreign governments, foreign firms, and agencies of the United Nations); and other U.S. sources, such as support from nonprofit institutions, private industry, and all other nonfederal U.S. sources.

Doctorate-Holding Nonfaculty Researchers
Doctorate-Holding Nonfaculty Researchers—All doctorate-holding researchers who (a) are not considered either postdoctoral researchers or members of the faculty and (b) are involved principally in science and engineering or health research activities.

Top of page. Back to Top

Historical Changes

Changes have been made to the coverage and content of GSS to keep it relevant to the needs of data users. Such changes prevent precise maintenance of trend data; therefore, some data items are not available for all institutions in all years. Major changes in the data collected (with the year in which changes became effective) include the following.

Data Revisions

1988–2006 Retrospective revisions of estimates based on changes in unit eligibility began in 1988 and continued through 2006. Data for units no longer eligible were removed from the counts that were originally published from 1975 through 1988, and revised estimates were produced. These changes resulted in a reduction in total enrollments and social science enrollments for all years.
1992–2006 In 1992 the previous-year data of an institution began being reclassified to reflect the institution's degree-granting status (master's or doctorate) in the current survey cycle. Over the years, a number of master's-granting institutions became doctorate-granting institutions, and their enrollment data were reclassified from master's to doctorate status. This shifted numerous institutions (and students) from master's-granting to doctorate-granting categories for years before 1992. This practice was discontinued in 2007.

Demographic Characteristics

Sex
1976–77 Master's-granting institutions were requested to provide data on all graduate students, by sex.
1978 Doctorate-granting institutions received a short form of GSS that collected selected data items; the short form did not request any information on sex; 1978 figures in the tables represent estimates based on 1977 and 1979 data. Master's-granting institutions were not surveyed.
1979 Data on sex were requested for all graduate students at all institutions.
1993 GSS began collecting race/ethnicity data, by sex.

Race/ethnicity
1979 GSS began collecting race/ethnicity data as an optional data item; collection of this information became an official part of GSS in 1980.
1993 GSS began collecting race/ethnicity data, by sex.
1999 GSS presented respondents with new race/ethnicity categories. The "Asian/Pacific Islander" category used in previous years'surveys became two categories: "Asian" and "Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander." In addition, the survey included two new categories: "more than one race Hispanic/Latino" and "more than one race non-Hispanic/Latino." The 1999 survey excluded the "other" category that had been included in previous years' surveys.

A small percentage of departments have reported data in the "Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander" and the "more than one race" categories. As in the previous 7 years, data reported in the new categories were combined into previous survey categories as follows: the "Asian" and "Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander" categories form the "Asian/Pacific Islander" category; the "one race only Hispanic/Latino" and "more than one race Hispanic/Latino" categories form the "Hispanic" category; and the "more than one race non-Hispanic/Latino" and "unknown or did not state" categories form the "other or unknown" category.
Citizenship
1972–77 GSS collected citizenship data for graduate students enrolled full-time in doctorate-granting institutions.
1975–77 Citizenship data for full-time and part-time students were not collected from institutions granting only master's degrees in GSS-eligible fields.
1978 Doctorate-granting institutions received a short form of GSS that did not collect any citizenship data; 1978 figures in the tables represent estimates based on 1977 and 1979 data. Master's-granting institutions were not surveyed.
1979 GSS began collecting citizenship data for all full-time graduate students.
1983 GSS began collecting citizenship data for graduate students enrolled part-time.
1992 GSS changed the definitions of foreign students and U.S. citizens to match those used by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Starting in 1992 it began including permanent residents with the count of U.S. citizens.

Enrollment Status

1975 Graduate institutions that granted only master's degrees were asked to provide estimates for the number of full- and part-time students and the number of postdocs or research associates.
1999 GSS began collecting data on first-time, full-time enrollment, by race/ethnicity, but data collected by the 2000 survey were the first of these data released.

Graduate Student Support

1978 GSS did not collect data on mechanisms of support but did collect sources of support for full-time students. Because actual mechanisms of support were unknown, data were reported only as "other." Master's-granting institutions were not surveyed.
1979 GSS began collecting separate data on mechanisms of support for fellowships and traineeships. (Prior years had combined these mechanisms.) It also started to collect information on other nonfaculty research staff with doctorates, along with the information collected on postdoctoral appointees.
1985 GSS began collecting separate data on students receiving their primary support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
1996 GSS began collecting separate data on students receiving their primary support from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
1999 GSS began collecting separate data on students receiving their primary support from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Instrument

1976–77 Data for masters' institutions were collected on an abbreviated form of the survey (short form) that did not collect citizenship status of graduate students.
1978 Doctorate-granting institutions received a short form of the survey collecting selected data items; master's-granting institutions were not surveyed. Figures for 1978 for total enrollment and full-time enrollment in for master's-granting institutions are estimates based on 1977 and 1979 data.
1979 All graduate institutions were surveyed using the same form; the full-scale survey was resumed.
1998 GSS made a Web-based reporting system available to school coordinators and departmental respondents.

Postocs and Doctorate-Holding Nonfaculty Researchers

1972 GSS began collecting sources and mechanisms of support for postdoctorals and/or research associates.
1977 GSS began collecting information on citizenship for postdoctorals and/or research associates.
1979 GSS changed "research associates" to "nonfaculty research staff with doctorates" and began collecting separate data on postdoctorate staff and nonfaculty research staff. It also began collecting information on women. At this time, the variable "sources of support, by mechanism of support" was collected only for postdoctorates; it was not collected for other nonfaculty research staff with doctorates.
1982 GSS began collecting information on medical degree status.

Survey Universe

Institutions Surveyed
1966–71 Data were collected from a limited number of doctorate-granting institutions through the NSF Graduate Traineeship Program. Data are not comparable with data from 1972 through 2007.
1972–74 Beginning with the 1972 survey, NSF assigned this data collection effort to the Universities and Nonprofit Institutions Studies Group and gradually expanded the effort during the period 1972–75 to include all institutions known to have programs leading to a doctorate or master's degree. These data are not comparable to data collected before 1972 or after 1974. NSF has made no attempt to inflate the data for 1966–74 to reflect universe totals.
1975 Graduate institutions that granted only master's degrees in science, engineering, and health fields were asked to provide estimates for the number of full- and part-time students and the number of postdocs or research associates.
1976–77 Data for master's-granting institutions were collected on an abbreviated form of the survey (short form) that did not collect data on the citizenship status of graduate students.
1978 Doctorate-granting institutions received a short form of the survey collecting selected data items; master's-granting institutions were not surveyed. Figures for 1978 for total enrollment and full-time enrollment in for master's-granting institutions are estimates based on 1977 and 1979 data.
1979 All graduate institutions were surveyed using the same form; the full-scale survey was resumed.
1984–87 The survey design was changed to a stratified random sample with a certainty stratum that included all doctorate-granting institutions; all master's-granting, historically black colleges and universities; and all land-grant institutions. The remaining master's-granting institutions were divided into two sample strata, based on enrollment size. Enrollment data for 1984–87 have been adjusted to reflect universe totals.
1988 Surveying the entire eligible survey population was resumed for the first time since 1983. Since 1988, GSS has attempted to cover all institutions with doctorate- or master's-granting programs in S&E or selected health fields and has excluded institutions that do not have any such graduate programs.
1992 NSF revised the definition of medical schools to include only those institutional components that are members of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). Before 1992, tables that reported on medical schools included schools of dentistry, nursing, public health, veterinary medicine, and certain other health-related disciplines. Beginning with 1992 data, the term "medical schools" means only AAMC members. All tables with historical data on medical schools for 1991 and earlier were revised to include data based on AAMC membership criteria. Consequently, data on medical schools in reports starting in 1992 do not match the originally published data from reports in earlier years.
2005 Due to Hurricane Katrina, data for Tulane University and Loyola University New Orleans were not included, and Louisiana State University (LSU) data are for the Graduate School (Baton Rouge) and Health Sciences Center (Shreveport) only; the two New Orleans campuses of LSU were closed. Data from these schools were not available and were not imputed.

GSS-Eligible Fields
1966–71 Data were collected only for S&E fields supported by NSF from a limited number of doctorate-granting institutions through the NSF Graduate Traineeship Program. NSF has made no attempt to inflate the data for 1966–71 to reflect universe totals.
1972–74 Beginning with the 1972 survey, NSF assigned this data collection effort to the Universities and Nonprofit Institutions Studies Group and gradually expanded the effort during the period 1972–75 to include additional S&E fields and selected health fields. Due to this expansion, data for 1974 and earlier years are not strictly comparable with data from 1975 and later. NSF has made no attempt to inflate the data for 1972–74 to reflect universe totals.
1988 NSF tightened the criteria for including departments in the survey universe and reviewed all departments surveyed. NSF considered those departments that were not primarily oriented toward granting research degrees as no longer meeting the definition of S&E. As a result of this review, NSF determined that a number of departments, especially in the field of "social sciences, not elsewhere classified," were engaged in training primarily teachers, practitioners, administrators, or managers rather than researchers; consequently NSF deleted these departments from the database. NSF continued this process during the survey cycles from 1989 through 2006 and expanded it to ensure trend consistency for the entire period from 1975 through 2006. As a result, these changes reduced total enrollments and social science enrollments for all years.
2007 The 2007 review of fields was parallel to the 1988 review. The 2007 review is discussed in the earlier section on Revisions Affecting Survey Universe.

Top of page. Back to Top

Data Availability

NSF releases the data from this survey annually in Graduate Students and Postdoctorates in Science and Engineering and includes information from this survey in the Division of Science Resources Statistics (SRS) publications Science and Engineering Indicators and Women, Minorities, and Persons With Disabilities in Science and Engineering. NSF includes selected data items from this survey for individual doctorate-granting institutions in SRS's Academic Institutional Profiles series (http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/profiles/).

Data from this survey are available through the WebCASPAR data system. Public use data files in Excel, SAS, and SPSS formats are available for the years 1972–2007 at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/srvygradpostdoc/pub_data.cfm. The guide to public use data files is available at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/srvygradpostdoc/data07/guide2007.doc.

The GSS 2007 public use data structure was modified as compared with the GSS 2006 public use data structure. Significant changes include dropping the multi-record structure at the organizational unit level and combining all information associated with the organizational unit into a single-record-per-unit structure. Another notable addition is the inclusion of the IPEDS UNITID to facilitate linkages to other data files. For more information, see the guide to public use data files available at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/srvygradpostdoc/data07/guide2007.doc.

Top of page. Back to Top



Notes

[1] The research doctorate is a research degree that (1) requires an original contribution of knowledge to a field (typically, but not always, in the form of a written dissertation), and (2) is not primarily intended for the practice of a profession. For additional survey information and available data related to graduate student enrollment and postdoctoral appointees in S&E, see http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/srvygradpostdoc/.

[2] In this report, the term "school" refers to a graduate school, medical school, dental school, nursing school, or school of public health; an affiliated research center; a branch campus; or any other organizational component within an academic institution that grants an S&E or selected health degree, appoints postdocs, or employs doctorate-holding nonfaculty researchers.

[3] See response rate 3 calculation, page 35, in American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR). 2008. Standard Definitions: Final Dispositions of Case Codes and Outcome Rates for Surveys. 5th ed. Lenexa, KS: AAPOR.

Top of page. Back to Top

Technical Tables


Table Table Title Excel PDF
A-1 The NSF data collection series: 1966–2007 view Excel. view PDF.
A-2 Science, engineering, and health organizational units in doctorate-granting institutions, by detailed field: 2001–07 view Excel. view PDF.
A-3 Science, engineering, and health organizational units in master's-granting institutions, by detailed field: 2001–07 view Excel. view PDF.
A-4 Response rates for science, engineering, and health organizational units: 1975–2007 view Excel. view PDF.
A-5 Imputation for nonresponse in doctorate-granting institutions, by field and graduate enrollment or postdoctoral status: 2005–07 view Excel. view PDF.
A-6 Imputation for nonresponse in master's-granting institutions, by field and graduate enrollment or postdoctoral status: 2005–07 view Excel. view PDF.
A-7 Imputation rates of full-time graduate students in science, engineering, and health fields, by source and mechanism of support: 2007 view Excel. view PDF.
A-8 Imputed full-time graduate students in science, engineering, and health fields, by source and mechanism of support: 2007 view Excel. view PDF.
A-9 Imputation rates of graduate students in science, engineering, and health fields, by citizenship, race/ethnicity, enrollment status, and sex: 2007 view Excel. view PDF.
A-10 Imputed graduate students in science, engineering, and health fields, by citizenship, race/ethnicity, enrollment status, and sex: 2007 view Excel. view PDF.
A-11 Imputation rates of postdoctorates in science, engineering, and health fields, by source of support, and imputation rates of nonfaculty research staff with doctorates: 2007 view Excel. view PDF.
A-12 Imputed postdoctorates in science, engineering, and health fields, by source of support, and imputed nonfaculty research staff with doctorates: 2007 view Excel. view PDF.
 
Graduate Students and Postdoctorates in Science and Engineering: Fall 2007
Detailed Statistical Tables | NSF 10-307 | June 2010