While the total number of graduate students enrolled in biomedical, behavioral, social, and clinical sciences has leveled off in the past few years, Sally Rockey, deputy director for extramural research at the US National Institutes of Health, points out at her Rock Talk blog that the number of graduate students in the biomedical sciences continues to increase.
She pulls from data from the National Science Foundation-NIH Survey of Graduate Students and Postdoctorates in Science and Engineering that is conducted every year by NSF's National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics.
A decline, she adds, has been seen in the behavioral and clinical sciences
Separately, Rockey zooms in on specialties that NIH-supported researchers are focusing on. Within the biomedical sciences, the number of PhD recipients studying biochemistry and molecular biology has flattened off, while other fields like neuroscience appear to be taking off. Other sub-fields, including immunology and engineering, continue to increase but at a more modest pace.