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 53,906 doctorates in 2014. Of these, 24,857, or 46.1 percent, were earned by women.

The number of women earning doctoral degrees has increased 29.8 percent over the past decade. However, the percentage of all doctorates that were earned by women has increased only slightly over the period. In 2004, women earned 45.4 percent of all doctorates. Longer term, the progress has been more significant. Thirty years ago in 1984, women earned only 34 percent of all doctorates.

In 2014, there was a wide gender disparity in doctoral awards in specific fields. For example, women earned 69.3 percent of all doctoral degrees awarded in education and 59.7 percent of all doctorates in the social sciences. In contrast, of the 9,824 doctorates awarded in the physical sciences, women received 2,820 doctorates, 28.7 percent of the total. In engineering, women earned 22.9 percent of the 9,528 doctorates awarded in 2014.

Women have made substantial progress in doctoral degree awards in the life sciences. Twenty years ago in 1994, women earned 41.8 percent of all doctoral degrees in the life sciences. In 2014, the figure was 56.1 percent.

Filed Under: Degree AttainmentsNews

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