US PhD conferral drops by 5.4% in 2021

October 21, 2022
New data from the US-based National Science Foundation (NSF) shows that the number of doctorates awarded by American universities fell by 5.4% in 2021, which is reportedly the steepest decline the NSF has recorded in its 65-year history. The study found that the decline was greatest for US students, was felt across almost all institution types and across all disciplines, was seen across nearly all racial and ethnic groups, and was steeper for men than for women. Colleen Flaherty from Inside Higher Ed says that new data suggests that the pandemic’s first year had a negative impact on PhD students’ abilities to finish their programs. Flaherty also discusses how the inability to conduct in-person research may have delayed doctoral students in completing their research and graduating. Chronicle of Higher Ed (Acct. Req.) | Inside Higher Ed (Acct. Req.) (Editorial)