|Posted on April 3, 2016 at 8:55 PM|
The NSF today released a report on the numbers of graduate students in science and engineering and changes in those numbers since 2009. The talking points are that, while these numbers have risen over 7%, to almost 602,000 students in science and engineering graduate program, there are gender and ethnic differences, and a dramatic change in the way that graduate students are funded.
Between 2009-2014, there were 10% more male graduate students in science and engineering, but only 4.4% more women. There was a large rise in the number of Hispanic (+21%) and multiracial (+297%) students, but a small loss in black and African-American students (-1%).
There was a large increase (13%) in foreign graduate students in science and engineering, and a decline (-2.3%) in US citizens and permanent resident grad students. The decline in US grad students is more dramatic when you look at the raw numbers: almost 7,900 fewer students in 2014 than one year earlier (2013). These trends also affect (worsen) the number of women enrolled in S&E grad programs: Two-thirds of foreign matriculated students are male, whereas just over half of US citizens and PRs are men.
The way that we fund graduate students has also changed quite markedly: The number of grad students funded by Federal funds dropped over 8% (6,500 fewer federally-funded students), while the number of self-funded students increased by over 27%. Institutional funding for graduate students rose almost 12%. This transition is not much of a surprize to those of us watching the rise of self-funded MS programs and the low funding probabilities of federal proposals.
Engineering programs enrollment between 2009 and 2014 showed a 12% rise in numbers. But the results are highly major-specific: Computer science enrollment rose the most (+35%), materials science rose 27%, with strong (~20%) growth in chemical, biomedical, mechanical, and electrical engineering. Last year (2013-2014), the strongest rises were in computer sciences (+34%) and electrical engineering (+13%).
- Written by Paulette Clancy
(Photo credit: Used with permission, credit to: Cornell University Photography).