Facts and Figures
Psychology continues to be one of the science and engineering fields with the highest representation of women among new PhDs, according to the results from the Survey of Earned Doctorates for 1999. The survey is conducted annually for the National Science Foundation.
In 1990, 58 percent of new psychology PhDs went to women. By the end of the decade, just over two-thirds of PhDs were earned by women. The growing proportion of women among new PhDs was particularly striking in clinical psychology (71 percent), but gains also appeared in other subfields, including developmental, experimental and industrial-organizational.
Meanwhile, the percentage of minorities among new psychology PhDs grew from 12 percent to almost 17 percent over the last decade. Asian representation grew the most (143 percent increase), followed by an 89 percent increase among American Indians and Alaskan Natives, an 85 percent increase among Hispanics, and a 50 percent rise in the number of blacks earning PhDs in psychology.
Although these increases are welcome, the numbers on which they are based remain small. In terms of absolute numbers, in 1999, Hispanics comprised the largest minority group earning PhDs in psychology. This is a change from 1990, when blacks earned more PhDs in psychology than any other minority group.
The gender tip toward women among new PhDs is evident across all racial/ethnic groups. In 1999, 63 percent of new American Indian/Alaskan Native PhDs in psychology were women, 73 percent of new Asian/Pacific Islander PhDs in psychology were women, as were 77 percent of new black PhDs, 73 percent of new Hispanic PhDs and 66 percent of new white PhDs.
Postgraduation plans of new psychology PhDs differed only slightly between men and women in 1999. Thirty-nine percent of women and 34 percent of men had plans for postdoctoral study. About one-fifth of both men and women planned to work in academe. Fifteen percent of women and 18 percent of men stated that they were going to work in industry. Just under one-fourth in each group mentioned other employment, which likely includes self-employment and government.
--JESSICA KOHOUT, PHD
DIRECTOR, APA'SRESEARCH OFFICE