Doctorates Earned in Science and Engineering Fields
by Racial/Ethnic Minorities

Graduate schools in the United States have conferred increasing numbers of doctorates in science and engineering (S&E) fields in the last 20 years. Much of this growth is due to increasing numbers of foreign citizens on temporary visas who come to the United States to earn doctorates in S&E. In 1977, they earned 18 percent of all S&E doctorates and by 1996, they accounted for 30 percent. However, there have also been increases in U.S. citizens and immigrants holding permanent residence visas earning S&E doctorates. Increases among this group have been due to growing numbers of women [1] and racial/ethnic minorities, mostly Asian-Americans.

However, the number of blacks, Hispanics, and American Indians awarded S&E doctorates also increased in the last 20 years, especially in the 5-year period from 1992-96 (Table A). Even with these increases, Blacks, Hispanics, and American Indians remain severely underrepresented among S&E doctorates recipients where they comprised less than 8 percent of the total, compared with 13 percent of S&E bachelor's degrees recipients, for example. [2]

Table B provides the doctoral award data for these groups in broad fields within science and engineering and non-S&E for 5-year periods from 1977-96.


[1] For data on women earning S&E doctorates, see Tables 2, 3, 8 and 9.

[2] See NSF/SRS, Science and Engineering Degrees, by Race/Ethnicity of Recipients: 1989-95 (forthcoming) and 1977-91 (NSF 94-306).