The Gender Gap in Doctoral Degree Awards

nsf1The National Science Foundation recently released its annual report on doctoral degree recipients in the United States. The annual Survey of Earned Doctorates reports that universities in the United States conferred 52,749 doctorates in 2013. Of these, 24,396, or 46.2 percent, were earned by women.

The number of women earning doctoral degrees has increased nearly 32 percent over the past decade. However, the percentage of all doctorates that were earned  by women has increased only slightly over the period. In 2003, women earned 45.4 percent of all doctorates. Thirty years ago in 1983, women earned only a third of all doctorates.

In 2013, there was a wide gender disparity in doctoral awards in specific fields. For example, women earned 68.1 percent of all doctoral degrees awarded in education and 59.3 percent of all doctorates in the social sciences. In contrast, of the 9,287 doctorates awarded in the physical sciences, women received 2,698 doctorates, 29.1 percent of the total. In engineering, women earned 22.9 percent of the 8,961 doctorates awarded in 2013.

Filed Under: Degree AttainmentsGender GapGraduate SchoolsResearch/Study

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