NSF Provides Status Report on U.S. Doctorate Education

By John Russell

July 6, 2017

The U.S. remains a potent factory for doctorate degrees according to the most recent National Science Foundation Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED). In 2015 the U.S. awarded 55,006 research doctorate degrees, the most ever recorded in the SED, with lion’s share awarded in science and engineering fields. Math and computer sciences remained the most desirable doctorates in terms of income and immediate job prospects but accounted for a small proportion of all doctorates awarded.

The 2015 SED report, which was posted late last week on the NSF web site, warned continued U.S. preeminence is not a given:

“The American system of doctoral education is widely considered to be among the world’s best, as evidenced by the large and growing number of international students each year—many of them among the top students in their countries—who choose to pursue the doctoral degree at U.S. universities. But the continued preeminence of U.S. doctoral education is not assured. Other nations, recognizing the contributions doctorate recipients make to economies and cultures, are investing heavily in doctoral education. Unless doctoral education in the United States continues to improve, the world’s brightest students, including U.S. citizens, may go elsewhere for the doctoral degree, and they may begin careers elsewhere as well.”

Noteworthy, the study deliberately omits professional degrees such as M.D., J.D., and PsyD which are aimed at professional practices rather than research jobs. Top line trends cited in the latest SED report include:

  • Science and engineering (S&E) degrees continued a 40-year trend of outpacing non-S&E degrees.
  • From 1975 to 2015, the number of S&E degrees more than doubled, with an average annual growth of 1.9 percent.
  • The number of non-S&E degrees awarded in 2015 is virtually identical to the number awarded in 1975. As a result of the different growth rates, the proportion of S&E doctorates climbed from 58 percent in 1975 to 75 percent in 2015.
  • The number of S&E doctorates awarded to temporary visa holders grew to 14,037 in 2015, up 2 percent compared to the previous year and up 30 percent since 2005.
  • The number of S&E doctorates awarded in 2015 to U.S. citizens and permanent residents grew to 24,547 in 2015, up 3 percent from the previous year and 43 percent since 2005.
  • During the 2005 to 2015 period, 10 countries accounted for 71 percent of the doctorates awarded to temporary visa holders. The top three — China, India and South Korea — accounted for more than half of the doctorates awarded to temporary visa holders.
  • “Women earned 46 percent of all doctorates in 2015, continuing a trend of women’s increasing prevalence in the annual total of recipients.

The study is replete with statistics and readily navigable online.” What follows is a very brief sampling of SED findings.

More Doctorates Being Awarded
As shown here, the number of doctorates awarded has risen steadily. Science and engineering degrees, as noted earlier, have grown fastest. That said, the relative number of students pursuing math and computer sciences doctorates hasn’t grown much. It’s now around seven percent of the total science and engineering doctorates awarded and still ranks last among disciplines.

 

Women Still Underrepresented in Sciences
As noted in the report, women’s share of doctorates awarded has grown over the past two decades. In 2015 women earned the majority of doctorates awarded in every broad field of study except physical and earth sciences, mathematics and computer sciences, and engineering. Contrarily, women’s share of math and computer sciences doctorates was nearly static. Indeed attracting women to HPC has long been a challenge and goal at NSF and elsewhere in the HPC community.

“Although women earned only about one-third of the 2015 doctorates awarded in physical and earth sciences and less than one-fourth of the doctorates in engineering, their relative shares of doctorates awarded in those fields has been growing rapidly. From 2005 to 2015, the proportion of doctorates in physical and earth sciences awarded to women increased by 6 percentage points, and the share of women in engineering grew by 5 percentage points. The proportion of female doctorate recipients in mathematics and computer sciences has grown more modestly, by 1 percentage point from 2005 to 2015.”

 

Job Market for Doctorates is Static
Job markets are always subject to generalized economic swings; that said the NSF study reports newly-minted S&E doctorates in 2015 often faced stiff challenges as measured again past trends.

“In every broad science and engineering (S&E) field, the proportion of 2015 doctorate recipients who reported definite commitments for employment or postdoctoral (postdoc) study was at or near the lowest level of the past 15 years, and it was 4 to 13 percentage points below the proportion reported in 2006, the most recent high point in definite commitments for S&E fields.”

 

Foreign Students – Stay or Return?
Given President Trump’s ongoing efforts to tighten visa and immigration regulation, there has been a good deal of discussion around foreign graduate students. This 2015 study doesn’t capture that dynamic but it does present some detail around where doctoral students come from and what their plans are for remaining in the U.S. or not. This section of the report is best read directly.

Perhaps not surprisingly, China is the dominant country of origin for doctoral student followed by India and South Korea. Europe, of course, has a well-developed graduate educational infrastructure.

 

Link to NSF summary article: https://nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=242416&org=NSF&from=news

Link to the full NSF 2015 SED report: https://www.nsf.gov/statistics/2017/nsf17306/report/about-this-report.cfm

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

How the United States Invests in Supercomputing

November 14, 2018

The CORAL supercomputers Summit and Sierra are now the world's fastest computers and are already contributing to science with early applications. Ahead of SC18, Maciej Chojnowski with ICM at the University of Warsaw discussed the details of the CORAL project with Dr. Dimitri Kusnezov from the US Department of Energy. Read more…

By Maciej Chojnowski

At SC18: Humanitarianism Amid Boom Times for HPC

November 14, 2018

At SC18 in Dallas, the feeling on the ground is one of forward-looking buoyancy. Like boom times that cycle through the Texas oil fields, the HPC industry is enjoying a prosperity seen only every few decades, one driven Read more…

By Doug Black

Nvidia’s Jensen Huang Delivers Vision for the New HPC

November 14, 2018

For nearly two hours on Monday at SC18, Jensen Huang, CEO of Nvidia, presented his expansive view of the future of HPC (and computing in general) as only he can do. Animated. Backstopped by a stream of data charts, produ Read more…

By John Russell

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

AI Can Be Scary. But Choosing the Wrong Partners Can Be Mortifying!

As you continue to dive deeper into AI, you will discover it is more than just deep learning. AI is an extremely complex set of machine learning, deep learning, reinforcement, and analytics algorithms with varying compute, storage, memory, and communications needs. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

New Data Management Techniques for Intelligent Simulations

The trend in high performance supercomputer design has evolved – from providing maximum compute capability for complex scalable science applications, to capacity computing utilizing efficient, cost-effective computing power for solving a small number of large problems or a large number of small problems. Read more…

New Panasas High Performance Storage Straddles Commercial-Traditional HPC

November 13, 2018

High performance storage vendor Panasas has launched a new version of its ActiveStor product line this morning featuring what the company said is the industry’s first plug-and-play, portable parallel file system that d Read more…

By Doug Black

How the United States Invests in Supercomputing

November 14, 2018

The CORAL supercomputers Summit and Sierra are now the world's fastest computers and are already contributing to science with early applications. Ahead of SC18, Maciej Chojnowski with ICM at the University of Warsaw discussed the details of the CORAL project with Dr. Dimitri Kusnezov from the US Department of Energy. Read more…

By Maciej Chojnowski

At SC18: Humanitarianism Amid Boom Times for HPC

November 14, 2018

At SC18 in Dallas, the feeling on the ground is one of forward-looking buoyancy. Like boom times that cycle through the Texas oil fields, the HPC industry is en Read more…

By Doug Black

Nvidia’s Jensen Huang Delivers Vision for the New HPC

November 14, 2018

For nearly two hours on Monday at SC18, Jensen Huang, CEO of Nvidia, presented his expansive view of the future of HPC (and computing in general) as only he can Read more…

By John Russell

New Panasas High Performance Storage Straddles Commercial-Traditional HPC

November 13, 2018

High performance storage vendor Panasas has launched a new version of its ActiveStor product line this morning featuring what the company said is the industry Read more…

By Doug Black

SC18 Student Cluster Competition – Revealing the Field

November 13, 2018

It’s November again and we’re almost ready for the kick-off of one of the greatest computer sports events in the world – the SC Student Cluster Competitio Read more…

By Dan Olds

US Leads Supercomputing with #1, #2 Systems & Petascale Arm

November 12, 2018

The 31st Supercomputing Conference (SC) - commemorating 30 years since the first Supercomputing in 1988 - kicked off in Dallas yesterday, taking over the Kay Ba Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

OpenACC Talks Up Summit and Community Momentum at SC18

November 12, 2018

OpenACC – the directives-based parallel programing model for optimizing applications on heterogeneous architectures – is showcasing user traction and HPC im Read more…

By John Russell

How ASCI Revolutionized the World of High-Performance Computing and Advanced Modeling and Simulation

November 9, 2018

The 1993 Supercomputing Conference was held in Portland, Oregon. That conference and it’s show floor provided a good snapshot of the uncertainty that U.S. supercomputing was facing in the early 1990s. Many of the companies exhibiting that year would soon be gone, either bankrupt or acquired by somebody else. Read more…

By Alex R. Larzelere

Cray Unveils Shasta, Lands NERSC-9 Contract

October 30, 2018

Cray revealed today the details of its next-gen supercomputing architecture, Shasta, selected to be the next flagship system at NERSC. We've known of the code-name "Shasta" since the Argonne slice of the CORAL project was announced in 2015 and although the details of that plan have changed considerably, Cray didn't slow down its timeline for Shasta. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

TACC Wins Next NSF-funded Major Supercomputer

July 30, 2018

The Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) has won the next NSF-funded big supercomputer beating out rivals including the National Center for Supercomputing Ap Read more…

By John Russell

IBM at Hot Chips: What’s Next for Power

August 23, 2018

With processor, memory and networking technologies all racing to fill in for an ailing Moore’s law, the era of the heterogeneous datacenter is well underway, Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Requiem for a Phi: Knights Landing Discontinued

July 25, 2018

On Monday, Intel made public its end of life strategy for the Knights Landing "KNL" Phi product set. The announcement makes official what has already been wide Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

House Passes $1.275B National Quantum Initiative

September 17, 2018

Last Thursday the U.S. House of Representatives passed the National Quantum Initiative Act (NQIA) intended to accelerate quantum computing research and developm Read more…

By John Russell

CERN Project Sees Orders-of-Magnitude Speedup with AI Approach

August 14, 2018

An award-winning effort at CERN has demonstrated potential to significantly change how the physics based modeling and simulation communities view machine learni Read more…

By Rob Farber

Summit Supercomputer is Already Making its Mark on Science

September 20, 2018

Summit, now the fastest supercomputer in the world, is quickly making its mark in science – five of the six finalists just announced for the prestigious 2018 Read more…

By John Russell

New Deep Learning Algorithm Solves Rubik’s Cube

July 25, 2018

Solving (and attempting to solve) Rubik’s Cube has delighted millions of puzzle lovers since 1974 when the cube was invented by Hungarian sculptor and archite Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

US Leads Supercomputing with #1, #2 Systems & Petascale Arm

November 12, 2018

The 31st Supercomputing Conference (SC) - commemorating 30 years since the first Supercomputing in 1988 - kicked off in Dallas yesterday, taking over the Kay Ba Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

TACC’s ‘Frontera’ Supercomputer Expands Horizon for Extreme-Scale Science

August 29, 2018

The National Science Foundation and the Texas Advanced Computing Center announced today that a new system, called Frontera, will overtake Stampede 2 as the fast Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE No. 1, IBM Surges, in ‘Bucking Bronco’ High Performance Server Market

September 27, 2018

Riding healthy U.S. and global economies, strong demand for AI-capable hardware and other tailwind trends, the high performance computing server market jumped 28 percent in the second quarter 2018 to $3.7 billion, up from $2.9 billion for the same period last year, according to industry analyst firm Hyperion Research. Read more…

By Doug Black

Intel Announces Cooper Lake, Advances AI Strategy

August 9, 2018

Intel's chief datacenter exec Navin Shenoy kicked off the company's Data-Centric Innovation Summit Wednesday, the day-long program devoted to Intel's datacenter Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Germany Celebrates Launch of Two Fastest Supercomputers

September 26, 2018

The new high-performance computer SuperMUC-NG at the Leibniz Supercomputing Center (LRZ) in Garching is the fastest computer in Germany and one of the fastest i Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Houston to Field Massive, ‘Geophysically Configured’ Cloud Supercomputer

October 11, 2018

Based on some news stories out today, one might get the impression that the next system to crack number one on the Top500 would be an industrial oil and gas mon Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

MLPerf – Will New Machine Learning Benchmark Help Propel AI Forward?

May 2, 2018

Let the AI benchmarking wars begin. Today, a diverse group from academia and industry – Google, Baidu, Intel, AMD, Harvard, and Stanford among them – releas Read more…

By John Russell

Google Releases Machine Learning “What-If” Analysis Tool

September 12, 2018

Training machine learning models has long been time-consuming process. Yesterday, Google released a “What-If Tool” for probing how data point changes affect a model’s prediction. The new tool is being launched as a new feature of the open source TensorBoard web application... Read more…

By John Russell

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
Share This