National Science Foundation: Changes In Doctorates Awarded From 1990 to 2020
Here's an analysis of the fields of study of all the earned doctorates awarded by U.S. colleges and universities from 1990 to 2020.
Doctoral study increases
The three fields of study with the greatest increase in doctorates were:
* Biological and biomedical sciences
* Heatlh sciences
* Computer and information sciences
The growth in these majors is remarkable. The number of doctorates in biological and biomedical sciences rose from 4,328 in 1990 to 8,418 in 2020. (This includes topics such as anatomy, bacteriology, botany, endocrinology, genetics, genomics, neuroscience, and pharmacology often studied by professors of biology and academic and industrial research scientists.)
Doctoral study decreases
The three fields of study with the greatest decrease in doctorates were:
* Education administration
* Teacher education
* Education research
The decline in these majors is striking. The number of doctorates in education administration fell from 1,664 in 1990 to 927 in 2020. (This includes topics such administration, supervision, and educational leadership often studied by professors of education, higher education leaders, and PK-12 education leaders.)
Identification of possible factors contributing to these changes is left to the reader as an exercise.
National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, National Science Foundation. 2021. Doctorate Recipients from U.S. Universities: 2020. NSF 22-300. Alexandria, VA. Available at https://ncses.nsf.gov/pubs/nsf22300/table/12.