The data in this report come from surveys conducted by the National Science Foundation (National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics), the Department of Education (National Center for Education Statistics), the Department of Commerce (Census Bureau), and the Department of Labor (Bureau of Labor Statistics). The technical notes for this report, available online at www.nsf.gov/statistics/2017/nsf17310/technical-notes.cfm, provide information on specific data sources, including the survey target population and data collection procedures.
The degree award data from the Department of Education cover degrees in the following science and engineering fields: astronomy, chemistry, physics, atmospheric sciences, earth sciences, ocean sciences, mathematics and statistics, computer sciences, agricultural sciences, biological sciences, psychology, social sciences, and engineering. To present data in a condensed form for this digest, several fields were aggregated in figures and in text. The biological sciences field includes agricultural sciences, and the physical sciences field includes earth, atmospheric, and ocean sciences, as well as astronomy, chemistry, and physics. Data on degree awards include bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees and do not include professional degrees, such as the MD or JD.
Racial and ethnic categories reported are those mandated by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) effective 1 January 2003. OMB specified the following categories of racial and ethnic groups: black or African American, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, white, Hispanic or Latino regardless of race, and more than one race. In earlier volumes, racial and ethnic groups were identified as white, black, Hispanic, Asian or Pacific Islander, and American Indian or Alaska Native (for more details, see the technical notes for this report). Because of insufficient sample size in some surveys, not all racial or ethnic groups are reported in all tables or figures.
Department of Education enrollment and degree award data by race and ethnicity refer to U.S. citizens and permanent residents only, but the proportions of students by race and ethnicity are calculated based on the total number of students enrolled or earning degrees.
New to this report are pilot data from National Science Foundation's Early Career Doctorates Survey on doctorate recipients who earned this degree within the past 10 years. As with Department of Education data, data by race and ethnicity refer to U.S. citizens and permanent residents only. However, the proportions of early career doctorate holders by race and ethnicity are calculated based on the total number of U.S. citizen or permanent resident early career doctorate holders.