National Science Foundation Reports a Slight Drop in Doctoral Degree Attainments by Women

The National Science Foundation recently released its annual data on doctoral degree recipients in the United States. Data for the annual Survey of Earned Doctorates shows that universities in the United States conferred 55,693 doctorates in 2019. Of these, 25,420, or 45.9 percent, were earned by women. This is down from 46.8 percent a decade ago.

If we restrict the data to U.S. citizens and permanent residents of this country we find that 17,994 women earned doctorates in 2019. This is nearly 51 percent of all doctoral recipients among U.S. citizens and permanent residents. From 2016 to 2018, more than 18,000 American women earned doctorates each year.

The number of American women earning doctoral degrees has increased 10.2 percent since 2010. For men in the United States, the number of doctoral degree earners has increased by 13.1 percent since 2010.

In 2019, there was a wide gender disparity in doctoral awards in specific disciplines. For example, women earned 69.3 percent of all doctoral degrees awarded in education and 59.5 percent of all doctorates in psychology and the social sciences. In contrast, women earned only a third of the doctorates in the physical sciences. In engineering, women earned 24 percent of the doctorates awarded in 2019. In mathematics and computer science, women earned just over a quarter of all doctorates awarded in 2019

Women have made substantial progress in doctoral degree awards in the life sciences. Two decades ago, women earned 41.8 percent of all doctoral degrees in the life sciences. In 2019, the figure was 54.5 percent.

Filed Under: Degree AttainmentsGender GapResearch/Study

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