Baccalaureate origins of Women and Racial/Ethnic Groups with Doctorates in S&E

Women and racial/ethnic minority groups have different patterns of baccalaureate origins than other S&E doctorate holders. In general, the research universities play less of a role and the other types of institutions play a greater role in their baccalaureate education.

Baccalaureate Origins of Women S&E Doctorate Recipients

Women—who account for approximately one-third of all recent S&E doctorate holders [11] —were less likely than male S&E doctorate holders to earn their baccalaureates at research universities (table 11). On the other hand, women who earned their science doctorates were more likely than men to have had their undergraduate education in baccalaureate colleges (chart 7).

Women's 25 top-ranked baccalaureate colleges differed somewhat from the 25 institutions cited by all S&E doctorates. Specifically, four of the institutions on the women's list were not found on the general ranking: Brown University, Duke University, Yale University, and University of Colorado at Boulder (table 12).

Baccalaureate-Origins by Racial/Ethnic Group of Recent S&E Doctorate Recipients

Striking differences frequently emerge in the patterns of baccalaureate origins of white S&E doctorate holders compared with their counterparts in other racial/ethnic groups [12](charts 8and 9). For example, Asians were much more likely than whites to have received their undergraduate degrees at research universities, and black S&E doctorate holders were less likely than whites to have attended research universities (table 13).

In terms of the types of institutions providing S&E undergraduate education, the pattern for black and Hispanic doctorate holders differed from that of other racial/ethnic groups. Master's institutions played a much greater role than the other types of institutions in the undergraduate education of blacks and Hispanics in both science and engineering.

In comparing the top 25 baccalaureate institutions cited by all S&E doctorate holders with those cited by S&E doctorate holders from underrepresented racial/ethnic groups, [13] several interesting differences come to light.

The list of the prominent baccalaureate-origin institutions cited by Hispanic S&E doctorate holders differed greatly from the list for all S&E doctorate holders. Many of the Hispanic S&E doctorates received their baccalaureates from four Puerto Rican universities (table 14). Also, significant numbers of institutions cited by the Hispanics were located in California, Florida, New Mexico, and Texas, as would be expected given the geographic concentrations of U.S. Hispanic populations. [14] Tables 14a-c show the baccalaureate-origin institutions of Mexican-Americans, Puerto Ricans, and other Hispanics separately.

Because of the small number of American Indian S&E doctorate holders, the list of their prominent baccalaureate-origin institutions includes the top 20 colleges and universities that produced three or more baccalaureates who went on to earn an S&E doctorate (table 15). Only six of these 20 institutions were also on the list of top baccalaureate-origins of all S&E doctorate holders. The differences in institutions cited by American Indian versus all S&E doctorate holders reflect to a certain extent the geographic concentrations of American Indian populations.

The top 26 baccalaureate-origin institutions for black S&E doctorate holders deviated significantly from the general top 25 list (table 16). Specifically, 12 of the top 26 baccalaureate institutions for black S&E doctorates were historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

Role of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the Baccalaureate Education of Black S&E Doctorate Recipients

The HBCUs were originally established under legal segregation for the purpose of educating blacks. These institutions were significant in the baccalaureate education of black S&E doctorate holders. [15] S&E bachelors degrees are awarded by 81 HBCUs, most of which are classified as master's or baccalaureate institutions. In all, HBCUs accounted for almost 27 percent of the baccalaureate origins of recent black S&E doctorate recipients. HBCUs were of particular significance in providing the baccalaureate origins of black doctorate recipients in natural science fields [16](chart 10).


[11] Susan T. Hill, Selected Data on Science and Engineering Doctorates: 1995 (Arlington, VA.: National Science Foundation, 1996) NSF 96-306, pp. 6-10.

[12] Carol Fuller, Baccalaureate Sources of 1975-1986 Doctorates Earned by American Indian, Asian, Black, Hispanic and White Men and Women Adjusted for Institutional Size (Ann Arbor, MI: Great Lakes Colleges Association, 1989) and Norean Radke Sharpe and Carol H. Fuller, "Baccalaureate Origins of Women Physical Science Doctorates: Relationship to Institutional Gender and Science Discipline," Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering, vol. 2, pp. 1-15, 1995.

[13] The following analysis of underrepresented racial/ethnic groups has been limited to U.S. citizen S&E doctorate holders who were Black, Hispanic, or American Indian.

[14] Daniel Solorzano, "The Baccalaureate Origins of Chicana and Chicano Doctorates in the Physical, Life, and Engineering Sciences: 1980-1990," Journal of Women and Minorities, Vol. 1, No. 4, p. 25.

[15] John T. Hill and Susan T. Hill, "The Role of HBCUs in the Education of Black Scientists and Engineers," paper presented at the 1991 Conference on Blacks in Higher Education (Washington, D. C., 1991).

[16] Cheryl Leggon and Willie Pearson, Jr., "The Baccalaureate Origins of African American Female Ph.D. Scientists," paper presented at the 1993 Conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (Boston, MA, 1993).