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Doctorate Recipients from U.S. Universities 2012

National Science Foundation. Doctorate Recipients from U.S. Universities 2012. 2014. Pages: 18.

Based on data by the Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED), the report released by the National Science Foundation (NSF) earlier this month unveils interesting figures on PhD students who have received their degree in 2012 at a university in the United States. The report is divided into five parts and looks into the profile of PhD students, the fields of study, factors which had influenced the choice of pursuing a PhD, the financial situation as well as postgraduate trends.

The amount of international PhD students, i.e. visa holders, amounts to 36 % out of which more than a half comes from China, India and South Korea. Life science studies are the most frequently field of choice with 23.6 % followed by physical science with 17.6 %, social science with 16.4 %, engineering with 16.5 %, humanities with 10.8 %, education with 9.4 % and 5.7 % for other fields of study. The report has found that the vast majority of PhD students have a family background with at least one parent with an advanced degree (42.5 %) or bachelor’s degree (25.6 %). Only 12.4 % have a at least one parent with some college experience, while 18.9 % have parents with no higher degree of educational attainment than high school education. Overall, PhD students finance their studies by means of research assistantship (31.6 %), fellowships or other forms of grants (27.6 %) or teaching assistantship (20.5 %). A smaller share of 16 % has to rely on own resources and further 4.3 % have other means of financing their PhD degree. It is noteworthy that PhD students within social science, education, humanities and other fields of studies have the highest share among the groups of self-funding students and students with a teaching assistantship but the lowest share within students with a research assistantship. At the same time, they represent the biggest group of PhD students with a debt rate of USD 30 000 (EUR 22 000) or more.

For more information on the report and other relevant data, please follow the links below.

NSF - Press release

NSF - Report

NSF - Interactive report and data tables