U.S. academic institutions awarded 48,069 research doctorates in 2010, down from 49,554 awards in 2009 and the first decline in doctorates awarded since 2002. The 2010 decline was magnified by the recent reclassification of many Doctor of Education (EdD) degree programs from the research doctorate to the professional doctorate category, and consequently the discontinuation of data collection from the reclassified degree programs by the Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED). The reclassification resulted in a substantially lower number of doctorates awarded in education than would have been the case had the graduates of the reclassified EdD degree programs participated in the 2010 SED. The total number of doctorates awarded in fields other than education also declined from 2009 to 2010, but by a much smaller amount than the decline in number of education doctorates.
The number of doctorates awarded in science and engineering (S&E) fields of study dipped slightly from 2009 after 7 consecutive years of growth. In total, 33,141 S&E doctorates were awarded in 2010 (68.9% of all doctorates), 1.0% fewer than in 2009 but an increase of 27.6% since 2000. Doctoral awards were down from 2009 in five of the eight major science fields of study, with agricultural sciences showing the largest decrease (15.7%) and much smaller decreases (none greater than 2%) in physical sciences; psychology; social sciences; and earth, atmospheric, and ocean sciences. Computer sciences posted the largest gain (3.5%) over 2009.
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