Notes on Data Series


International Data

Dr. Morton Brown (retired) of the Division of Statistics of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) provided the National Science Foundation with available data on enrollments and graduates in six fields of science and engineering, by gender, for more than 100 countries for the period 1975-88. The fields of study (i.e., a student's main area of specialization) were as follows: social and behavioral science; natural science; mathematics and computer science; engineering; agricultural science; and medical science (not used in this report).

Dr. Brown provided data in these fields by level of programs. The definitions used for program levels are based on the International Standard Classification of Education. Program level 6 was used for first university degree or equivalent qualification in this report. Programs of this type compose those leading to typical first university degrees, such as a bachelor's degree, or to first professional degrees awarded after completion of studies in medicine, engineering, or law.

Ms. Lilia Campo-Opeña, of UNESCO's Division of Statistics, has provided updates of science and engineering degree data for all European countries.

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Data

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Main Science and Technology Indicators were used for research and development (R&D) expenditures, gross domestic product, and purchasing power parity (PPP) conversions for each country. Current national currencies were converted to constant 1987 national currencies and then converted to 1987 constant PPPs. PPP conversions make real comparisons across countries possible and are preferable to using the official exchange rate to compare R&D across countries because the latter measure is volatile.

OECD's Education at a Glance provided first university degree data for European many countries for the period 1985-91.

Demographic Data

UNESCO's Division of Statistics provided demographic data by age segments for all countries. Dr. My T. Vu, demographer of the World Bank, provided population projections for all European countries.

National Data

French degree data: Total first university degrees in all fields were estimated by adding the following degrees from universities, national polytechnics, engineering schools, and private business schools: maîtrise, diplôme de docteur et capacité en médecine, diplôme d'ingénieur, and diplôme d'écoles supérieures de commerce. Only Group I of private commerce schools are included-those recognized by the state, with a diploma accredited by the Ministry of Education.

The data on the number of social science degrees in France presented in the appendix tables are incomplete. Omitted are degrees in political science and "human sciences." The former are combined with law degrees and the latter with literature degrees in the French detailed statistical tables on university diplomas. In 1992, nearly 20,000 degrees in literature and human sciences were awarded by French universities, some unknown fraction of which should be included in social science degrees.

German degree data: Both Fachochschulen and university degrees are included as first university degrees.

United Kingdom data: Degrees from universities only are included in the 1975-1991 data; degrees from colleges and polytechnics are included with university degrees in 1992 degree data.

Belgian data: Two data series were used: UNESCO for 1975-1985 and OECD's Center for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI) for 1985-1991. Because there was a great deal of difference between the numbers in the two series, only the OECD data from the past 6 years were analyzed. The social science degree data include law degrees, the second most popular major in the university.