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National Science Foundation National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics
Science and Engineering Doctorate Awards: 2007–08


General Notes


During the production of this report the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 was signed into law. Section 505 of the bill renames the Division of Science Resources Statistics as the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES). The Center retains its reporting line to the Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences within the National Science Foundation. The new name signals the central role of NCSES in the collection, interpretation, analysis, and dissemination of objective data on the science and engineering enterprise.

The data presented in this report show trends in the numbers of individuals who receive doctorates in science and engineering (S&E) fields. Detailed information is provided by field of doctorate, doctoral institution, and characteristics of the doctorate recipient. The data also show trends in the postgraduation plans of doctorate recipients. Data are from the Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED), a census of individuals receiving research doctoral degrees from accredited U.S. universities and colleges. The SED has been conducted annually since 1957.

Six federal agencies sponsor the SED: the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Endowment for the Humanities, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Data for the SED are collected directly from individual doctorate recipients. The questionnaire is distributed by institutional coordinators in the graduate schools to persons as they are completing their doctorate. The data for a given year include all doctorates awarded in the 12-month period ending June 30 of that year and beginning July 1 of the preceding year.

These tables present detailed data on S&E doctorate recipients; totals are provided for broad non-S&E fields in most tables. Detailed data on all fields of study are published annually in the interagency report Doctorate Recipients from United States Universities. Data are also provided by the other federal agencies that sponsor the SED. The groupings of field specialties into broad fields may differ among the sponsoring agencies, according to their missions.

Ninety-two percent of doctorate recipients in 2007 and 2008 responded to the questionnaire. Over the period 1998–2008, the response rate has varied between 91% and 93%. Most of the numbers presented are actual self-reports, as there are no adjustments for nonresponse. Partial data on nonrespondents for field of study, institution, and sex of recipient are added to the file from public sources, such as commencement programs. In tables that include data subject to nonresponse, small changes in numbers should be interpreted with caution. As numerical trends are affected by fluctuations in response rates, declines and increases may appear greater than they actually are.

This year's edition of the S&E Doctorate Awards report reflects five changes from previous editions. First, data from both the 2007 and 2008 data collections are presented in this report to expedite release of 2 years of data. Previous editions included a set of single-year tables presenting data from the most recent SED data collection and another set of tables presenting 10-year time-series data. This year's edition includes two sets of single-year tables—one each for the 2007 and 2008 SEDs—and one set of 11-year time-series data to report what would have been two sets of overlapping 10-year spans of data. Future editions of the S&E Doctorate Awards report will return to the format used in previous years, with one set of single-year tables for data from the most recent SED data collection and one set of 10-year time-series tables.

Second, three tables have been dropped from the report, and a new table has been added. The tables reporting time series counts of doctorate recipients (one table each for total, men, and women) by race/ethnicity and by major field of degree are no longer included in this report, as these data are available in other SED reports. The new table (table 2) reports counts of doctorates awarded to men by fine field of degree and is identical in format to table 3, which reports counts of doctorates awarded to women by fine field.

Third, a new disclosure protection procedure has been applied to tables 2 and 3, resulting in minor revisions to the field of degree taxonomy used to report the data in these and other tables in the report. See appendix A, "Technical Notes," for a brief discussion of the new disclosure protection procedure.

Fourth, the reporting of citizenship status is changed. In past editions of this report, tables reporting citizenship status have displayed U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and temporary visa holders as separate citizenship categories. Beginning with this year's edition only two citizenship categories will be reported; doctorate recipients with temporary visa status constitute one citizenship category, and the data of U.S. citizen doctorate recipients and permanent resident doctorate recipients are combined to form the second citizenship category.

Lastly, a new race category is reported. Respondents to the SED who indicated more than one race are now reported separately as "two or more races." In previous reports these respondents had been grouped into the "other/unknown" race/ethnicity category.

Further information on the survey methodology and other data on S&E doctorate recipients are available at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/doctorates/.

Science and Engineering Doctorate Awards: 2007–08
Detailed Statistical Tables | NSF 11-321 | August 2011