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News Release 12-201

Report Details International Mobility Patterns Among Recent Recipients of U.S. Doctorates in Science, Engineering or Health Fields

In general, persons who recently earned a research doctorate from a U.S. university worked or lived in their country of origin in 2008

Photo of three scientists working in a laboratory.

As reported, 97 percent of U.S.-citizen graduates worked or lived in the U.S. upon graduation.

October 18, 2012

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

Among persons who earned a research doctorate in science, engineering or health in the United States during the last four years, nearly 40 percent were foreign nationals. A new report from the National Science Foundation's National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics details where this group of graduates lives and works after graduation.

Overall, 20 percent of foreign-citizen graduates reported working or living in their country of origin in 2008, whereas 97 percent of U.S.-citizen graduates reported working or living in the United States. Among foreign graduates who did not return to their country of origin, the United States was by far the most popular destination, followed by the European Union, Asia and Canada.

Most doctorate recipients found employment in academe after graduation, regardless of citizenship status or place of residence. Foreign citizens in the United States were the one exception: they reported working in private, for-profit industry and in academe in equally high proportions. In fact, foreign citizens working in the United States were more likely than any of the other analyzed groups to report working in the private, for-profit sector.

For more information on this report, please contact Wan-Ying Chang or Lynn M. Milan.

Please visit the NSF's National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) for more reports and other products.


Media Contacts
Deborah Wing, NSF, (703) 292-5344, email:

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2021 budget of $8.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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