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Minorities

Master's Degrees
Doctorates

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Persons in minority groups who were U.S. citizens or permanent residents earned 11,499 master's degrees in science and engineering in 1991, 12 percent of the total (including awards to foreign citizens). This was an increase from 1981, when 8,485 minority group members earned science and engineering master's degrees, slightly less than 11 percent of the total. The increase was due primarily to substantial growth in the number of awards to Asians receiving science and engineering master's degrees, which was large enough that their numbers nearly doubled. (See text table 7-1 and figure 7-7.) The number and percentage of science and engineering master's degrees earned by underrepresented minorities-blacks, Hispanics, and American Indians-rose by only 13 percent between 1981 and 1991. (See figure 7-8.)

Figure 7-7 Figure 7-8


Among minority groups, gender differences were striking. At the master's level, awards to women increased more in science and engineering than in non-science and engineering fields. (See figure 7-9.) For men, awards in both non-science and engineering and science and engineering fields decreased for several groups. Only for Asian men did an increase in science and engineering awards exceed an increase in non-science and engineering awards.

Figure 7-9

Asians

Between 1981 and 1991, the number of Asians earning master's degrees in science and engineering (including only U.S. citizens and permanent residents) increased from 2,481 to 4,676. (See appendix table 7-9.) As a result of this large increase, by 1991 Asians were earning more science and engineering degrees than either blacks or Hispanics, even though they were a much smaller proportion of the population than either of these groups. By 1991 Asians accounted for 5 percent of all science and engineering master's degrees, up from 3 percent in 1981.
The increases were especially striking in computer science and in engineering. These dramatic increases took place when the number of science master's degrees earned by U.S. citizens and permanent residents overall declined nearly 1 percent and the total number of engineering master's degrees rose significantly.

Blacks

Some progress was made in increasing the representation of blacks in science and engineering at the master's degree level between 1981 and 1991. Blacks earned 3,872 science and engineering master's degrees in 1991, 4 percent of the total earned by all awardees and over 5 percent of those earned by U.S. citizens and permanent residents. (See appendix table 7-9.) This was a slight increase in numbers of science and engineering master's degrees awarded to blacks over the 3,695 they earned a decade earlier. The only recorded gains occurred in awards to women; master's degree awards to black men in science and engineering declined during the decade. The slight progress in science and engineering master's degree awards to blacks-all attributable to women-contrasts with the awards in all fields combined. Both in absolute number and in percentage of the total, master's degrees to blacks decreased. In 1991, blacks earned 15,857 master's degrees in all fields, not quite 6 percent of the master's degrees earned by all U.S. citizens and permanent residents. (See appendix table 7-12.)
Social science accounted for almost 15 percent of all of the master's degrees awarded to blacks (compared with 10 percent of all master's degrees earned by U.S. citizens and permanent residents). Despite generally slow increases during the last decade, some disciplines offered exceptions. The number of blacks awarded master's degrees in engineering grew faster than the annual increase for all U.S. citizens. The biggest gain was in computer science-only 70 blacks earned master's degrees in 1981 compared with 283 a decade later.

Hispanics

The overall trend for Hispanics earning master's degrees in science and engineering was similar to that for blacks, with modest growth over the decade. In contrast to blacks, however, there were gains for both men and women, though the gains for men were smaller than for women. Hispanics earned 2,594 science and engineering master's degrees in 1991, 4 percent of the total earned by U.S. citizens and permanent residents. This was a modest increase in numbers from the 2,052 who earned science and engineering master's degrees a decade earlier; the percentage of the total was up from 3 percent in 1981. In 1991, Hispanics earned almost 10,000 master's degrees in all fields, just over 3 percent of the total earned by U.S. citizens and permanent residents. Again, this was a modest increase from 1981, when Hispanics earned just under 3 percent of the master's degrees awarded to U.S. citizens and permanent residents that year.
The science and engineering field with the largest number of awards at the master's degree level for Hispanics, as for blacks and for whites, was social science. (See figure 7-10.)

Figure 7-10

American Indians

The extremely small number of American Indians earning master's degrees-slightly more than 1,125 in all fields in 1991, less than 0.4 percent of all master's degrees-makes comparisons and generalizations difficult. Fewer than 300 American Indians earned master's degrees in science and engineering in 1991; this figure was up slightly from 1981, though the number of awards to men decreased, while the awards to women rose 52 percent. The most popular fields were social science (13 percent of all master's degrees earned by American Indians), psychology (4 percent), and engineering (4 percent). In each of these fields there was a modest increase from 1981. Awards in social science rose from 142 in 1981 to 148; psychology went from 32 to 49; and engineering went from 31 to 40.

Geographic Distribution

Minorities receiving science and engineering master's degrees were not uniformly distributed across the country. (See figure 7-11 and appendix tables 7-13, 7-14, 7-15, 7-16, 7-17, 7-18, 7-19, 7-20 and 7-21.) As is the case with bachelor's degrees, regional concentrations occurred except in the case of Asians.

Figure 7-11

Doctorates Up arrow

Citizenship

U.S. universities occupy a position of world leadership in science and engineering doctoral education. Consequently, they award degrees to a diverse group of individuals in terms of citizenship as well as race/ethnicity. In addition, the composition of each of the citizenship groups receiving doctorate awards is diverse. (See text table 7-2.) Whites constituted only 21 percent of the doctoral recipients who were non-U.S. citizens on temporary visas, whereas they were 88 percent of the U.S. citizens.
U.S citizens and permanent residents earned 15,706 doctorates in science and engineering fields in 1992, 10 percent more than they had earned a decade earlier. Of this number, 14 percent were earned by minorities, with 6 percent earned by underrepresented minorities. (See text table 7-3.) The increases were largest in percentage terms among Asians; this group registered substantial increases among both men and women in science and engineering as well as non-science and engineering fields.
Gender differences are important within racial/ethnic groups. Most notably, doctorates in science and engineering awarded to white men who were U.S. citizens or permanent residents declined between 1982 and 1992, while awards to white women increased 30 percent. Within underrepresented minorities, awards to both men and women increased in science and engineering for Hispanics and American Indians, while the number for black men decreased slightly. (See figure 7-12.)

Figure 7-12

Disaggregating doctoral degree recipients between U.S. citizens and non-U.S. citizens on permanent visas reveals that among the minority group members receiving doctorates in science and engineering, more than half of the Asians were on permanent visas, a much higher proportion than for other minority groups. Among U.S. citizens, steady increases among Asians and Hispanics contrast with much smaller increases for blacks. (See figure 7-13.)

Figure 7-13

In 1992, U.S. citizens earned 25,759 doctorates in all fields, an increase from the 24,391 reported in 1982. (See figures 7-14 and 7-15.) Minority citizens of the United States earned 10 percent of the total doctorates awarded to U.S. citizens, up from about 9 percent of the total in 1982.

Figure 7-14
Figure 7-15

As was the case with master's degrees, much of the increase in science and engineering doctorates was accounted for by Asians and whites. There was a much more modest growth in the number of Hispanic and American Indian science and engineering doctorate recipients, and the number of black science and engineering doctorate recipients stayed virtually level. For all of the underrepresented minorities the numbers of science and engineering doctorate recipients in 1992 were very small: 306 blacks, 416 Hispanics, and 69 American Indians.

Asians

Between 1982 and 1992, Asians who were U.S. citizens increased their representation in doctorates in all fields, earning 828 degrees in 1992, over 3 percent of the total to U.S. citizens. The number of Asian U.S. citizens who earned doctorates in science and engineering increased also, to 636 in 1992-4 percent of all science and engineering doctorates awarded to U.S. citizens. The increases were especially large in engineering.
The distribution of awards between men and women who were Asian U.S. citizens generally paralleled that of awards to U.S. citizens overall, with respect to both increases and distributions across fields. Women had their lowest representation in computer and information sciences, their highest in psychology. Women earned 30 percent of the doctorates awarded to Asian U.S. citizens in science and engineering in 1992.

Blacks

In 1992, both the number and the percentage of black U.S. citizens earning doctorates were lower than in 1982. While there was some fluctuation during the decade, the number never reached the figure for 1982, when blacks had earned 1,047 doctorates in all fields, over 4 percent of the total earned by all U.S. citizens. In 1992, blacks earned 951 doctorates, less than 4 percent of the doctorates earned by U.S. citizens.
In science and engineering, blacks earned 306 doctorates in 1992, just over 2 percent of the total doctorates in those fields earned by U.S. citizens. This was an increase from the 300 who earned science and engineering doctorates a decade earlier. The science and engineering doctorate awards to men fluctuated during the decade. The doctorate awards to women rose 15 percent over the decade to 151.
Blacks earning science and engineering doctorate degrees in 1992 were less likely to earn them in engineering (10 percent) than were U.S. citizens as a whole (15 percent), and one-third as likely to earn them in computer science (1 percent compared with 3 percent). The most popular science and engineering field by far for black U.S. citizens at the doctorate level was psychology, which accounted for almost one-third of all of the science and engineering doctorates awarded. (See figure 7-16.)

Figure 7-16

A notable feature of science and engineering doctorates awarded to blacks was the effect of increases for women and decreases for men: In 1992, black women earned 49 percent of the science and engineering doctorates awarded to black U.S. citizens, the highest percentage of awards to women for any racial/ethnic group.

Hispanics

In 1992, Hispanic U.S. citizens earned 755 doctorates in all fields, just under 3 percent of the doctorates earned by all U.S. citizens. This was a numeric increase from 1982, when Hispanic U.S. citizens earned 535 doctorates in all fields, 2 percent of the doctorates awarded to all U.S. citizens that year.
There was an 81 percent increase in the number of science and engineering doctorates earned by Hispanics over the decade, though, as in the case of blacks, the numbers were quite small. In science and engineering, Hispanics who were U.S. citizens earned 416 doctorates in 1992, 3 percent of the total science and engineering doctorates earned by U.S. citizens. This was an increase in numbers from the 230 who earned science and engineering doctorates a decade earlier, and the percentage of the total was up slightly from 2 percent in 1982.
The most popular science and engineering field at the doctorate level for Hispanics was psychology, the field chosen by 26 percent of Hispanics earning science and engineering doctorates.
Doctorate awards to both male and female Hispanic U.S. citizens increased, though the proportionate increase was larger for women (140 percent, compared with 56 percent for men). Hispanic women earned 19 percent of the doctorates in engineering awarded to U.S. citizen Hispanics, a proportion equal to that for black women and higher than that for white women (13 percent).

American Indians

Fewer than 150 American Indians earned doctorates in all fields in 1992, about 0.6 percent of the total. Only 69 Americans Indians earned doctorates in science and engineering in 1992. The most popular field was psychology (22 percent of all science and engineering doctorates).

Geographic Distribution

While doctoral education in the United States is considered a national resource, operating to some extent in a national market, awards of science and engineering doctorates to U.S. citizens show regional variations by race/ethnicity. (See text table 7-4 and appendix tables 7-25, 7-26, 7-27, 7-28 and 7-29.)
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