Number of Graduate Students Hit Record in 2019

April 2, 2021

The number of graduate students pursuing degrees in science, engineering and health fields hit a record high in 2019, as did the representation of Latinx Americans among them, while the proportion of women reached its highest level in more than a decade, according to new data from the National Science Foundation.

The foundation's Survey of Graduate Students and Postdoctorates in Science and Engineering: Fall 2019, published this week, showed increases in the number of doctoral students (to 281,899), master's students (to 408,228) and postdoctoral appointees (to 66,247).

The proportion of women in science, engineering and health fields in 2019 was 47.1 percent, having dropped as low as 45.1 percent several years earlier. The increase was driven by sharp upturns in the number of master's students in science fields.

The proportion of U.S. citizens and permanent residents in science, health and engineering fields who were Hispanic rose to 11.9 percent in 2019; it was 7 percent a decade earlier. The proportion who were Black was 8.3 percent, roughly where it has been for most of the last decade, while the proportion of graduate students who were Asian rose to 10.7 percent, up nearly two full percentage points from 2014.

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