Advertisment

The Rise of Doctoral Degrees: Record-breaking Achievements, Changing Demographics, and the Shift Towards Industry Jobs

author-image
Ayanna Amadi
New Update
NULL

The Rise of Doctoral Degrees: Record-breaking Achievements, Changing Demographics, and the Shift Towards Industry Jobs

Advertisment

The U.S. academic landscape is witnessing significant changes. The number of research doctorates awarded by U.S. colleges and universities reached an all-time high in 2022, with 57,596 research doctoral degrees conferred. This marks the largest 1-year growth since 1970, reflecting a commendable rebound from the previous year. The Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED) has revealed several noteworthy trends in this context, which offer a comprehensive overview of the current state of doctoral education in the U.S.

Advertisment

Growth of Science and Engineering Doctorates

One of the significant trends is the surge in science and engineering (S&E) doctorate recipients. The past two decades have seen a staggering growth of 74% in S&E doctorates, from 2002 to 2022. This increase speaks volumes about the expanding influence of these fields and the increasing interest among students to explore and contribute to these domains.

Changing Demographics of Doctoral Degree Recipients

Advertisment

The demography of doctoral degree recipients has also undergone a noticeable shift. An intriguing aspect of this transformation is the decline in academic employment commitments and a shift towards business and industry jobs. This indicates a diversifying career landscape for doctorate holders, with non-academic sectors offering compelling opportunities. Furthermore, the median time to complete an earned doctorate has decreased from 8.6 years in 2002 to 7.2 years in 2022, although the completion times vary across different fields.

Promotion of Academic Achievement and Diversity

Another shining example in this context is Jackson State University, which ranks third among the top 20 doctorate-granting institutions for producing minority doctorate recipients, holding the No. 1 spot for public institutions. The university awarded 160 doctorates to Black scholars between 2018 and 2022, securing the third spot in these elite rankings. According to an NSF report, nearly 22,000 Black students earned doctorates from U.S. institutions between 2010 and 2020, highlighting the enduring commitment to promoting academic achievement and diversity in higher education.

Advertisment

Rising Research Awards and the Push for Innovation

The University of Cincinnati too, has achieved a record 314 million in research awards in 2023, nearly doubling since fiscal year 2018. This growth is attributed to investments in people and infrastructure as part of its strategic direction called 'Next Lives Here' and its 'Research 2030' initiative. The university is leading public urban universities into a new era of innovation and impact, striving for a healthier future through cancer research and clinical trials, semiconductor research, and manufacturing.

Impact of Covid-19 on Doctoral Studies and Future Perspectives

The Covid-19 pandemic has undeniably impacted doctoral studies, presenting unique challenges and opportunities. The SED survey delves into this aspect as well, examining its influence on financial support, parental educational attainment, graduate debt, and median salaries of doctoral degree recipients. As we adapt to the 'new normal,' it will be interesting to see how these trends evolve and shape the future of doctoral education in the U.S.

Advertisment
Chat with Dr. Medriva !