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NSF: Dip in Overall Doctorates in 2010, but Biology on the Up

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According to a National Science Foundation National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics Info Brief, the overall number of doctorates awarded in the US declined in 2010 for the first time since 2002. "US academic institutions awarded 48,069 research doctorates in 2010, down from 49,554 awards in 2009," NSF says. The agency adds, though, that the observed decline was magnified "by the recent reclassification of many Doctor of Education degree programs from the research doctorate to the professional doctorate category, and consequently the discontinuation of data collection from the reclassified degree programs by the Survey of Earned Doctorates," from which the data reported was derived. While several disciplines saw a drop in doctorates, according to NSF data, the biological sciences saw an increase during the same period, "growing to 8,052 doctoral awards in 2010, almost one quarter of all S&E [science and engineering] doctorates."

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