This report is based on data from two federal surveys: the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) Completions Survey, from the U.S. Department of Education (ED), and the Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED), from the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES). Bachelor's and master's degree data and data on doctoral degrees in engineering technologies were collected by IPEDS. Data on research doctoral degrees in all fields except engineering technologies were collected by the SED. Each data source is described in more detail in sections that follow.

Bachelor's and Master's Degree Data

Bachelor's and master's degree data presented in this report were derived from the IPEDS Completions Survey, conducted annually by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Data from the IPEDS Completions Survey were used to report the number of bachelor's and master's degrees and the number of doctoral degrees in engineering technologies. Institutional representatives from accredited institutions in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories and outlying areas submit data to the IPEDS online collection system. The survey is mandatory for all institutions that participate in or are applicants for participation in any federal financial assistance program authorized by Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended. For more information on IPEDS, see http://nces.ed.gov/IPEDS/about/.

Each year between 2002 and 2012, institutional response rates to the IPEDS Completions Survey have exceeded 99%. Imputations for nonresponse were based on the previous year's response for an institution. For bachelor's and master's degree data, the percentage of degrees imputed rounds to zero.

Data on bachelor's and master's degrees by field of study were collected according to the NCES Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) (see appendix B). Information on CIP is available at http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/cipcode/default.aspx?y=55.

In 2003, IPEDS data became available by 6-digit CIP codes for race or ethnicity categories. The 2010 CIP codes are now used by IPEDS when mapping data to field of degree for all years that data were collected by CIP codes. Data collected before 2003 used 1985 and 1990 CIP codes; crosswalks were used to map these data to the 2000 CIP codes and then to the 2010 CIP codes. If a corresponding 2000 or 2010 CIP code did not exist, the 1990 CIP code was retained. The broad field of non–science and engineering (non-S&E) can now be reported using subfields (education, humanities, health, and other professional), providing another level of detail for this report.

This NSF report differs from those published by NCES in that data for the U.S. territories and the commonwealth of Puerto Rico are included, whereas NCES excludes such data from most of its published reports. Primarily, data for Hispanics are affected because institutions in Puerto Rico are included.

Through 1995, IPEDS reports were concerned primarily with the subset of postsecondary institutions that were accredited at the college level by an agency recognized by the Secretary of Education, and the S&E Degrees, by Race/Ethnicity of Recipients report presented counts of bachelor's and master's degrees from this same subset of institutions. Beginning with 1996 data, NCES categorized the postsecondary institutional universe on the basis of the degree-granting status as well as eligibility for Title IV federal financial aid (based on a list of eligible institutions maintained by ED's Office of Postsecondary Education), a change that expanded the types of institutions whose data appear in NCES reports to include for-profit and online institutions. The National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics chose to retain the earlier, less inclusive institutional coverage criterion for the data in the S&E Degrees, by Race/Ethnicity of Recipients report. As a result, beginning with the 1996 edition, the counts of bachelor's and master's degrees presented in the S&E Degrees, by Race/Ethnicity of Recipients reports diverged from the degree counts reported by IPEDS. Beginning with the 2002–12 edition, the S&E Degrees, by Race/Ethnicity of Recipients report adopted the more inclusive institutional coverage of the IPEDS reports, and the bachelor's and master's degree counts from 2002 forward are now based on the larger set of institutions. Consequently, the bachelor's and master's degree counts for 2002–06 appearing in the present edition of the S&E Degrees, by Race/Ethnicity of Recipients report differ from the degree counts for those years reported in the 1991–2000, 1992–2001, 1995–2004, and 1997–2006 editions of the S&E Degrees, by Race/Ethnicity of Recipients report.

Top of page. Back to Top

Doctoral Degree Data

Data on doctoral degrees in all fields except engineering technologies were derived from the SED, conducted annually by NSF, NCSES and sponsored jointly by NSF, the National Institutes of Health, ED, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Data on doctoral degrees in engineering technologies came from IPEDS.

The SED is a voluntary survey that collects information annually for the period from 1 July through 30 June of the following year from all persons who have fulfilled the requirements for a research doctorate at an accredited U.S. institution. A research doctorate is a doctoral degree that (1) requires the completion of an original intellectual contribution in the form of a dissertation or an equivalent project of work (e.g., musical composition), and (2) is not primarily intended for the practice of a profession. Doctoral degrees, such as the PhD, DSc, and research EdD, are included in this survey; professional doctoral degrees, such as the MD, JD, DDS, PsyD, and DMin, are not. The IPEDS Completions Survey collects data on professional doctoral degrees (called "doctorate degree-professional practice") as well as research doctoral degrees. The Completions Survey reported that nearly 108,000 professional doctoral degrees were awarded in 2012, of which only 1,455 were awarded in S&E fields.

SED data were preferred over IPEDS Completions Survey data for doctoral degrees because the self-reported data provided by individual doctorate recipients are more specific with respect to the field of specialization. SED field-of-study data are not collected using the CIP field classification scheme. See appendix B for a crosswalk between the CIP codes used to classify bachelor's and master's degree fields and the corresponding SED field codes used by SED respondents to self-report their doctoral degree field.

The SED survey forms are sent to all accredited U.S. research doctorate–granting institutions for distribution by the graduate deans to all research doctorate recipients as they complete degree requirements. The survey collects demographic data, such as the student's sex, citizenship, and racial or ethnic group; educational history, including field of degree; sources of graduate student support; employment status during the year preceding receipt of the doctorate; postgraduation plans; and background on parents' education.

Approximately 92% of doctorate recipients complete the SED survey each year. For nonrespondents, commencement programs, graduation lists, and other similar public records allow construction of partial records, limited to field of study, year of doctorate, doctoral institution, and sex, which are added to the data file. Consequently, for the variables used in this report, there is complete coverage of doctoral field of study, and almost complete coverage of sex (item response rates annually exceed 99%). Nonresponse for race or ethnicity is not imputed for individuals, but the percentage unknown has been low (1% of those with known citizenship; citizenship was unknown for 5%–7% of degree recipients). Data are updated annually from completed survey forms submitted after the completion of the survey round; therefore, data on doctorates are subject to revision and may differ slightly from reports published earlier. For more information on the SED, see http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/doctorates/.

Top of page. Back to Top

Racial and Ethnic Categories

IPEDS

The manner of collecting racial or ethnic data is left to the discretion of the reporting institution, provided that the system produces reasonably accurate data that conform to the accepted racial or ethnic categories (see below). The information is gathered by NCES for ED's Office of Civil Rights, in compliance with Title I of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. The following five racial or ethnic categories were the standard in NCES surveys of education institutions in the reporting period 2002–12: (1) Hispanic or Latino, (2) American Indian or Alaska Native, not Hispanic, (3) Asian or Pacific Islander, not Hispanic, (4) black, not Hispanic, and (5) white, not Hispanic.

Persons who are U.S. citizens or foreign citizens admitted for permanent residence are classified into the above categories. The ethnic category "Hispanic or Latino" took precedence over the racial categories in the data collection; reports of Hispanic heritage, regardless of racial designation, are counted as Hispanic. In addition, nonresident aliens (i.e., those admitted to the United States for temporary residence) are separately identified as a sixth category in the survey and are not reported in the aforementioned racial or ethnic groups.

In examining data on degrees awarded to minorities, it must be noted that 3%–8% of all S&E bachelor's degrees awarded in 2002–12, and 5%–9% of all S&E master's degrees awarded in that period, were reported as awarded to individuals whose race or ethnicity was not specified and, thus, categorized as unknown. The unknown category could affect trends and observable changes in the number and share of awards received by minority students, particularly if there are shifts from year to year in the number of degree recipients with unknown race or ethnicity.

SED

The seven racial or ethnic categories used in the reporting period 2002–12 include the following: (1) Hispanic or Latino, (2) American Indian or Alaska Native, not Hispanic, (3) Asian, not Hispanic, (4) black, not Hispanic, (5) Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, not Hispanic, (6) white, not Hispanic, and (7) more than one race, not Hispanic.

A change to the format of the race or ethnicity item on the 2001 SED survey has affected the self-report of some respondents since that time. Prior to 2001, respondents were instructed to mark one racial category. Beginning in 2001, respondents have been instructed to mark "one or more" of the racial or ethnic categories.

Persons who are U.S. citizens and foreign citizens admitted to the United States for permanent residence are classified into the above categories. Foreign citizens admitted to the United States for temporary residence are also classified into the above categories on the survey, but their data are reported as a separate category, "Temporary visa holder," in the tables. The Temporary visa holder category is equivalent to the "Nonresident alien" category for bachelor's and master's degree data collected by the IPEDS Completions Survey. Throughout this report, the term "permanent residents" will be used in place of "resident aliens," and the term "temporary visa holders" will be used in place of "nonresident aliens."

Definitions of Categories

Hispanic or Latino—A person of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race.

American Indian or Alaska Native, not Hispanic—A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North America and who maintains cultural identification through tribal affiliation or community recognition (except those of Hispanic origin).

Asian or Pacific Islander, not Hispanic—A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent, or the Pacific Islands. These areas include, for example, China, Japan, Korea, the Philippine Islands, the Hawaiian Islands, and Samoa (except those of Hispanic origin).

Asian, not Hispanic—A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian Subcontinent (except those of Hispanic origin). Native Hawaiians or Other Pacific Islanders were included in this category for the period 1997–2000.

Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, not Hispanic—A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii or the Pacific Islands (except those of Hispanic origin). Before 2001, this group was included in the category "Asian, non-Hispanic"; for the period 2001–12, this group is included in the category "Other/unknown race/ethnicity."

Black, not Hispanic—A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa (except those of Hispanic origin).

White, not Hispanic—A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, North Africa, or the Middle East (except those of Hispanic origin).

More than one race, not Hispanic—A person having origins in more than one of the above racial categories (except those of Hispanic origin). These data were not collected until the 2001 SED. From 2001–06, data about this group were reported in the category "Other/unknown race/ethnicity" in published reports of SED data, including S&E Degrees, by Race/Ethnicity of Recipients reports. Beginning in 2007, the "more than one race" data (back to 2001) are reported in a separate category in publications of SED data.

Permanent resident—A person who is not a citizen of the United States who has been lawfully admitted for permanent residence (and who hold alien registration receipt cards—Form I-551/155). These persons are to be reported in the appropriate racial or ethnic categories along with U.S. citizens. This citizenship category is labeled "resident alien" in published reports using IPEDS data.

Temporary visa holder—A person who is not a citizen or national of the United States and who is in this country on a temporary basis and does not have the right to remain indefinitely. This citizenship category is labeled "nonresident alien" in published reports using IPEDS data.

Top of page. Back to Top

Data Comparability

The data in this report are grouped into the S&E categories used by NSF. Data on engineering technology degrees and degrees in health/medical fields are not included in the S&E totals here. Therefore, data in this report may differ from those in reports published by ED. However, separate tables for engineering technology and for health/medical fields, as well as for first professional degrees, are included in this report.

Beginning with the 2002–12 edition of the S&E Degrees, by Race/Ethnicity of Recipients report, the constituent fields of study reported in six engineering field categories were changed. Consequently, the counts of engineering degrees in several tables (tables 4–26) differ from the counts reported in associated tables in earlier editions of this report in the following way. Before the 2002–12 editions of this report, counts of degrees in each of the following five engineering field categories included degrees in multiple subfields of engineering: chemical engineering, civil engineering, electrical engineering, materials science engineering, and mechanical engineering. Beginning with the 2002–12 edition, counts of degrees in these five engineering field categories reflect only single engineering subfields, and the remaining degrees from the subfields formerly included in these five engineering field categories are counted within the "other engineering" field category. These adjustments were applied to all data tables that report counts or proportions of degrees awarded in the engineering field categories (tables 4–26) and to all years from 2002 forward.

Top of page. Back to Top