The number of people who earned a science and engineering doctorate in the US in 2011 who had a job or postdoc lined up for when they finished their degree declined as compared to previous year, reports Inside Higher Ed. Data recently released by the US National Science Foundation show that 62.5 percent of life science PhD had secured a job or postdoc for after graduation in 2011 as compared to 65.9 percent in 2010 and 73.9 percent in 2001. "In every broad S&E field, the proportion of 2011 doctorate recipients who reported definite commitments for employment or postdoc study was at or near its lowest level of the past 10 years, 3 to 10 percentage points lower than the proportion of 2001 doctorate recipients reporting such commitments," the NSF report says.
The report also notes that the number of people pursuing doctorates in science and engineering has increased, Inside Higher Ed adds. In 2011, 36,264 doctorates were awarded in science and engineering while 12,741 were awarded in other fields while, in 2010, there were 34,887 science and engineering doctorates awarded and 13,147 in other fields. "Almost three-fourths of all research doctorates awarded in 2011 were in science and engineering fields," Inside Higher Ed says. "This reflects a steady increase in the share of doctorates awarded in those areas."
In many fields, Inside Higher Ed adds that there has been a slight decline in the number of years it takes to earn a doctorate. For the life sciences, it shows a median time to degree of 6.9 years in 2011 versus 7 years in 2006.
HT: Bill Hooker