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Doctoral seesaw

Throughout most of the 1990s, the number of doctoral degrees that U.S. universities awarded in science and engineering climbed steadily, according to a new national survey. By 1998, the class of newly minted Ph.D.s peaked at an all-time high of 27,300, after which new doctoral awards started falling.

By 2001, the most recent year for which data are available, U.S. institutions awarded just 25,500 science and engineering Ph.D.s–the lowest number since 1993. Over the same period, Ph.D.s in health, the humanities, education, and other fields remained fairly constant, according to data compiled by the National Science Foundation (NSF) in Arlington, Va.

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