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Careers

Science Doctoral Degrees Trend Up

by Andrea Widener
February 3, 2014 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 92, ISSUE 5

The total number of science and engineering doctoral degrees awarded in the U.S. continues to rise, according to a report from NSF. The report shows that U.S. higher education institutions awarded almost 38,000 doctoral degrees in 2012, up from just more than 36,000 Ph.D.s bestowed in 2011. Doctoral degrees earned in the physical sciences follow this upward trend. Almost 9,000 physical sciences Ph.D.s were awarded in 2012—17.6% of all doctoral degrees—up from 8,000 in 2011. The number of chemistry doctoral degrees rose slightly to 2,400 in 2012, up by about 100 degrees as compared with 2011. Chemical engineering was flat, at a little more than 800 doctoral degrees earned in 2012. Overall, women are earning an increasing proportion of all doctoral degrees, although they are still behind in science and engineering fields. Men received 22,000 science or engineering doctoral degrees in 2012, compared with 16,000 for women.

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