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Minorities

Enrollment Composition
Field Choices
Geographic Distribution

Enrollment Composition Up arrow

Of the 322,449 U.S. citizens enrolled in graduate science and engineering programs in 1992 (both full-time and part-time), 50,833, or 16 percent, were minorities, excluding those for whom racial/ethnic data were not provided. [2] Blacks, Hispanics, and American Indians continued to be seriously underrepresented, with only 9 percent of the total number enrolled in graduate science and engineering programs. Improved reporting of race/ethnicity, evidenced by declines in the numbers of students of "unknown race/ethnicity," could account for significant portions of the reported increases among underrepresented minorities. (See figure 6-9.) Hence, the slight increases in the proportions of enrollments reported for minorities are as likely to reflect improvements in statistical quality as they are to be actual increases. For blacks, the reported increase in graduate science and engineering enrollment from 1985 to 1992 was from 4 to 5 percent; for Hispanics, from 3 to 4 percent. The proportion for American Indians remained at less than 1 percent and whites remained at 79 percent of the total enrollment. (See figure 6-10.) The drop in the share of students of unknown race/ethnicity was from 9 to 5 percent.

Figure 6-9 Figure 6-10

Field Choices Up arrow

Students of different racial/ethnic groups varied widely in their choice of fields of study. (See appendix tables 6-14, 6-15, 6-16, 6-17 and 6-18.) For example, 39 percent of Asian science and engineering graduate students were enrolled in engineering fields, compared with 23 percent of whites, 20 percent of Hispanics, 14 percent of American Indians, and 15 percent of blacks. (See figure 6-11.) The 3,800 Asians enrolled in electrical engineering-more than one-tenth of all graduate students in this field-largely accounted for the heavy concentration of Asians in engineering.

Figure 6-11

Conversely, 38 percent of all black graduate students in science and engineering were in social science fields, compared with 32 percent of American Indians and 29 percent of Hispanics, but only 12 percent of Asians. Similarly, only 6 percent of the Asian students were enrolled in psychology, whereas students in psychology represented 17 percent to 23 percent of the total number of science and engineering graduate students from all other racial/ethnic groups.

Geographic Distribution Up arrow

The population of minority racial/ethnic groups is differentially distributed around the country. (See figures 1-2a and 1-2b.) Similarly, the graduate student population reflects regional concentrations of minority groups. Puerto Rico, with an almost entirely Hispanic population, had the highest percentage of minority graduates enrolled in science and engineering, 91 percent, virtually all Hispanic. (See figure 6-12.) Asians made up significant proportions of the totals in Guam and Hawaii (48 percent and 27 percent, respectively), where they are highly represented in the general population, though in neither case were they a majority. Minorities also made up more than one-fifth of total graduate science and engineering enrollment in Mississippi, California, the District of Columbia, Georgia, and Louisiana.

Figure 6-12

The highest proportions of black graduate students in science and engineering were in the southern States. (See appendix tables 6-19, 6-20 and 6-21.) American Indians tended to be more heavily represented in the West. Aside from their concentration in their high-population areas of Hawaii, California, and Guam, Asians showed little discernable pattern in their choice of graduate schools. In addition to their majority status in Puerto Rico, Hispanic graduate science and engineering students were most heavily concentrated in the Southwest and in Florida.
Minority science and engineering graduate students are enrolled in just over 80 percent of the institutions offering graduate programs, 539 out of 665. The top 10 institutions enrolled 15 percent of all minority graduate science and engineering students; the top 20 enrolled 24 percent. (See figure 6-13.) Of the 10 institutions with the largest proportions of black science and engineering graduate students, 4 were Historically Black Colleges and Universities. (See appendix table 6-22.) The 10 institutions with the highest black enrollment accounted for 14 percent of all black graduate students in science and engineering fields. The 10 institutions with the highest Hispanic enrollment accounted for 23 percent of all Hispanic graduate students in science and engineering in the United States. (See appendix table 6-23.) Almost one-fifth of American Indian graduate students in science and engineering were enrolled in the 10 institutions with the highest American Indian enrollment. (See appendix table 6-25.) Twenty-two percent of all Asian science and engineering graduate students were enrolled in the 10 leading institutions. (See appendix table 6-24.)

Figure 6-13


2. Data on race/ethnicity for science and engineering graduate students are available only for U.S. citizens, whereas data on sex have been collected for all students. Up arrow
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