Graduate enrollment in science and engineering programs was up 4.2 percent in 2003, to 474,203, according to a report issued by the National Science Foundation, but the increase was uneven among demographic and disciplinary groups.
Enrollment increases for women outpaced those for men (5.0 percent to 3.7 percent), and the female proportion of total graduate enrollment in science and engineering reached 42 percent in 2003 -- up from 36 percent a decade earlier.
Among U.S. citizens and permanent residents, increases for men exceeded those for women (6.1 to 5.6 percent) and the female gains over all came from foreign enrollments. Male enrollments from outside the United States fell by 0.2 percent while female enrollments increased by 3.2 percent.
Total foreign enrollments in science and engineering graduate programs were up by 0.9 percent in 2003, to 146,871. But that modest increase was largely because of an increase in those who had already started their programs. First-time enrollment in this category fell by 8.1 percent, to 29,574.
The data contained good news for those concerned about the diversity of graduate programs. Among U.S. citizens and permanent residents, members of all racial and ethnic groups showed increases, and the enrollment of all minority groups increased at a faster rate than that of whites. The largest percentage increase -- mirroring a trend among undergraduates -- came in those whose race was unknown or in the "other" category.
Graduate Science and Engineering Enrollments, by Race, of U.S. Citizens in 2003
|Other or unknown||25,494||12.2%|
Among disciplines, only computer science showed a decrease. But within various categories, increases were not uniform. The increase in biomedical engineering enrollments (22.1 percent) far outpaced engineering over all (6.4 percent). Astronomy was a leader in the physical sciences. Details are in the following table:
Graduate Science and Engineering Enrollments, by Field of Study, 2003
|Field of Study||Enrollment||1-Year Change|
|Earth, atmospheric and ocean sciences||14,655||+2.9%|
|Other earth sciences||3,921||+1.2%|
|Other physical sciences||614||+1.5%|
|History and philosophy of science||677||+2.1%|
|Other social sciences||17,303||+8.0%|