Doctoral Degrees to Women Reached an All-Time High in 2012

nsf1The National Science Foundation reports that universities in the United States awarded 51,008 doctoral degree in 2012. Of the 51,008 doctoral degrees awarded, 23,562 degrees were awarded to women. Thus, women earned 46.2 percent of all doctoral degrees awarded by U.S. universities in 2012. The number of women earning doctoral degrees in 2012 was an all-time record.

Over the past decade, the number of doctoral recipients in the U.S. has increased 27.4 percent. For women, the increase has been slightly larger.

Of the 23,562 doctorates awarded to women, 6,698 were in the life sciences, with nearly 4,500 of these in biology or biomedical science. There were 4,861 women awarded doctorates in the social sciences, including 2,556 in psychology.

Women have shown impressive gains in engineering doctorates. In 2012, they earned 1,883 doctoral degrees in engineering. This is a 110.6 percent increase from a decade ago. Yet, women only earned 22.3 percent of all engineering doctorates in 2012. A decade ago, women earned 17.6 percent of all engineering doctorates. Women have also made impressive gains over the past decade in doctoral degree attainments in STEM fields such as computer and information science (up 127.5%), physics and astronomy (up 120.7%), and mathematics (up 81.5%).

In contrast, the number of women earning doctoral degrees in education decreased by more than 23 percent over the past decade.

Filed Under: Degree AttainmentsNewsSTEM Fields


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