Graduate Enrollments and Degrees, 1998-2008
CWS Summary of Data from CGS/GRE Survey of Graduate Enrollment and Degrees
October 2009—Conducted annually since 1986, the recent CGS/GRE Survey of Graduate Enrollment and Degrees was sent to 782 colleges and universities and enjoyed a 90% response rate. The full report is available at the Council of Graduate Schools website in print and pdf formats. Other data are also available on the CGS website and warrant review. CGS staff kindly provided a special analysis for APA on the gender, race/ethnicity and citizenship of first-time graduate students and total graduate enrollment. The results of these analyses specific to psychology as well as a summary of the results from the larger national study are reported here.
Summary of CGS Data on Graduate Enrollments and Degrees Nationally
There were over a million and a half graduate applications in 2008. Almost 65% went to master's programs, with 35% going to doctoral programs. The largest increases in graduate applications between 2007and 2008 were in were in the health sciences and business, while the smallest were in education and arts and humanities, where applications actually declined from 2007. The largest increases in the last decade were in the physical sciences, engineering and health sciences; and public administration and services and education witnessed the smallest growth.
Application acceptance rates were higher at the master's than at the doctoral level and they were lowest among the doctoral level high Research Universities. Application acceptance rates varied somewhat by broad field and level of degree with the highest found at the master's level in Education in which 3/4s of applicants were accepted in 2008, to arts and humanities where only a little more than a third who applied were accepted. At the doctoral level Education again was highest accepting 45% of applicants while business was lowest at 17%.
Overall first-time graduate enrollment was at 428,000 in 2008, of which psychology represented 3.3%. Across all fields, 59% of enrollees were women, 28% were minorities while 18% were temporary residents. By comparison, in Psychology, women were almost 77%, minorities were at 33% and only 5% were temporary residents. Over all fields, all racial/ethnic groups experienced positive average annual changes in first- time graduate enrollment between 1998 and 2008. Hispanic and African American students were strongest at 8.3% and 7.6% respectively, followed by Asian and Pacific Islander and American Indian/Alaskan Native at 5.6% and 5.2%, each. White students posted an average annual increase of 2.3%. By gender, within each racial/ ethnic group, women posted larger average annual percent changes in first -time graduate enrollment than did men.
In general about two thirds of first- time enrollees were attending school full time while around one third were part time. This varied widely by field such that only 42% of education students were full time while 84% of those in the biological and agricultural sciences were full time. As one of the behavioral and social sciences, psychology was likely around 3/4 full time. Over all fields, between 2007-2008, the growth in part-time enrollment surpassed that in full-time enrollment (7% vs. almost 3%). This varied from the average annual growth across the entire decade in which full time outpaced part time in terms of average annual growth (4.3% vs. 3.4%). Growth in doctoral versus master's first-time enrollees between 2007-2008 was about the same at just over 4%.
Analyses of gender by broad field among 1st-time enrollees highlight persistent differences across the various fields. The health sciences, public administration and education had the highest proportions of women among enrollees at 79%, 77%, and 75%, respectively. The lowest proportions of women were found in engineering at 22% and physical sciences at 34%. Psychology stood at 77% in 2008.
With the exception of Asians and temporary residents, women were the strong majority in each racial/ ethnic grouping among first-time graduate enrollees. Among Asians, women at 55%, were only 10% points more than were men and among temporary residents, women were 41% of enrollees.
There were differences in the distribution of the various racial/ ethnic groups across the broad subfields. The largest percentages of whites were in education and other fields. For African American students, education and other fields were also most favored. Hispanics followed suit as did American Indian and Alaska natives. Asians on the other hand were found most often in the natural sciences, engineering and business.
First-time Graduate Enrollment in Psychology
The number of graduate students enrolled for the 1st time was at 14, 211 in 2008. This was an increase of 7% from 2007 and represented an average annual percent change of 3.7% in the last decade. Around eighty- four percent of these first-timers were U.S. citizens and permanent residents. Less than 5 percent were temporary residents and just over 11% were other or unknown.
Continuing a long-time trend just over three fourths of these students were women. However, despite the predominance of women, the numbers of men have increased annually on average about 2% in the past decade and between 2007-2008, showed a 4.7% increase. In general across all fields women represented 59% of first-time enrollees.
Among first-time enrollees, White students (at 67%) evinced the smallest average annual change in the past decade at 6%. Black/African American and Hispanic/Latino students represented the largest of the minority groups and increased on average each year by 12.5% and 11.6%, respectively. American Indian and Alaskan Natives increased on average by 5.5%, actually declining between 2007-2008. Students of Asian and Pacific Islander origin grew some 8.4%. With the exception of Asian students the average annual percent change for each race/ethnicity was larger in the last 5 years (2003-2008) than across the entire decade (1998-2008). Among all students, not just psychology, minorities were 23% of the total. In Psychology minorities were just under 33% of first-time enrollees.
CGS reported total national graduate enrollment at nearly 1.75 million students in the Fall of 2008. Fifty-five percent were full time, 59% were women, and 16% were temporary residents. Minorities accounted for 29% of US citizens and permanent residents enrolled at the graduate level. Three fourths were enrolled in master's or certificate (non- doctoral) programs. Although most students in most fields were enrolled full time, it is the case that substantial proportions attend on a part-time basis. This situation is not expected to change. Education and a catch all field called "other" were the only two fields where a majority of enrollees were part time (61% and 51%, respectively).
In 2008, women were the majority of those enrolled in all fields except physical sciences, engineering and business (33%, 22% and 46%). Temporary residents constituted the minority in most fields, however, their presence in the physical sciences at 43% pushed that limit, as it did for engineering at 50%. As noted earlier, the single largest percentages of Whites, Hispanics/Latinos, Blacks, and American Indians were enrolled in the broad field of Education, Asians on the other hand were most often enrolled in the natural sciences and engineering and in business.
Trends in graduate enrollments reported by CGS pointed to greater average annual percent changes over the past decade for Blacks (8.8%) and Hispanics (6.4%) than for the other groups. American Indian and Alaska Natives were at 6.5%, Asians were at 4.5% and whites were 1.5%.
Men were the majority (59%) among temporary residents enrolled at the graduate level, while women were more numerous than men within each racial/ethnic group among US citizen enrollees. Average annual percent changes in graduate enrollments for women in each of the racial/ethnic groups surpassed those for men across all subfields in the past ten years.
A look at total graduate enrollment by broad field revealed some differences across fields. Health sciences and business experienced the greatest percent change (increase) across all fields between 2007-2008 (5% and 5.7%, respectively) as well the greatest average annual percent change in the past decade (4.8% and 4%, respectively). Engineering and biological and agricultural sciences were next in terms of change (increases) in graduate enrollments followed by social and behavioral, and physical sciences, public administration and education with the smallest increases and change.
Total Graduate Enrollment for Psychology
Total graduate enrollment for psychology totaled to 62,052 in 2008. The first year enrollments were almost 23% of this number.
This was an increase of 2.5% from 2007 and represented an average annual percent change of 4.1 % in the last decade. Around eighty- three percent were U.S. citizens and permanent residents. Less than 5 percent were temporary residents and just over 11% were other or unknown.
Continuing a long-time trend, 77% of these students were women. However, despite the predominance of women, the numbers of men have increased annually on average about 1% in the past decade and between 2003 -2008 showed a 3.8 % average annual increase.
White students (at 68%) evinced the smallest average annual change in the past decade at 2.3%. Black/African American and Hispanic/Latino students represented the largest of the minority groups and increased on average each year by 14.2% and 9.5%, respectively. American Indian and Alaskan Natives increased on average by 6.4%, while students of Asian and Pacific Islander origin grew some 7.3%. With the exception of Asian students the average annual percent change for each race/ethnicity was larger in the last 5 years (2003-2008) than across the entire decade (1998-2008).
CGS reported out data on graduate certificates and degrees. Overall, 55,962 doctoral degrees, 488,133 master's degrees, and 17, 369 certificates were awarded in 2007-2008. Women earned 65% of the certificates, 60% of the master's degrees and 49% of the doctorates. These percentages were higher for psychology in 2006 when women earned 76% of doctorate degrees and almost 79% of master's degrees (US National Science Foundation Science Resources Statistics).
In 2007-2008 women earned the majority of the master's degrees awarded in social and behavioral sciences, public administration, health sciences, education, biological and agricultural sciences, and the arts and humanities. Men earned the majority of master's awarded in physical sciences, engineering and business. Over the past decade, although all the fields have shown positive average annual change in master's degrees awarded, there were differences among them. Business led with a 5% average annual percent change while the social and behavioral sciences were second at 3.5%. Public administration was last at less than a one percent change.
At the doctoral level, women earned the majority of the degrees awarded in social and behavioral sciences, public administration, health sciences, education, and the arts and humanities. Men were the distinct majority in the physical sciences, engineering, and business and carried a slight lead in the biological and agricultural sciences. Among doctoral degrees granted in the past decade, health sciences displayed the largest average annual percent change at 9%, followed by engineering at 7%. The social and behavioral sciences were at .5%, while the arts and humanities averaged a minus .1 % over the decade.
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