• Join your peers at SSTI's 2024 Annual Conference!

    Join us December 10-12 in Arizona to connect with and learn from your peers working around the country to strengthen their regional innovation economies. Visit ssticonference.org for more information and to register today.

  • Become an SSTI Member

    As the most comprehensive resource available for those involved in technology-based economic development, SSTI offers the services that are needed to help build tech-based economies.  Learn more about membership...

  • Subscribe to the SSTI Weekly Digest

    Each week, the SSTI Weekly Digest delivers the latest breaking news and expert analysis of critical issues affecting the tech-based economic development community. Subscribe today!

Number of Science and Engineering Doctorates at All-Time High

November 27, 2006

The number of doctorates awarded in the U.S. within science and engineering (S&E) fields reached an all-time high in 2005, according to a recent National Science Foundation (NSF) issue brief. After the previous high of 27,273 S&E doctorates awarded in 1998, the number decreased for four years until 2002, and has steadily increased the past three years to the 2005 number of 27,974 Ph.D. graduates.


NSF’s Division of Science Resources Statistics reports that several groups, including women and non-U.S. citizens, also received a record number of S&E doctorates in 2005. In fact, from 2001 to 2005, S&E doctorates awarded to non-citizens increased by 25 percent, which accounted for almost all of the recent growth in the number of total doctorates awarded. The issue brief indicates there is little evidence of a decline of non-citizen S&E doctorate attainment since the terrorist attacks in September 2001.


Specific academic disciplines also recorded all-time highs for doctorates awarded in 2005, including the biological sciences, engineering, mathematics and computer science. The percentage of Ph.D.s awarded to women increased from 1996 to 2005 in the fields of computer science (15 percent to 20 percent), engineering (12 percent to 18 percent) and physics (13 percent to 15 percent). The fields with the highest concentration of women Ph.D. awardees are psychology (68 percent), biological sciences (49 percent), and social sciences (45 percent). The percentage of Ph.D. degrees awarded to women in science and engineering as a whole increased from 32 percent in 1996 to 38 percent in 2005.


The NSF issue brief is available at: http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/infbrief/nsf07301/