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November 29, 2011

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Numbers of Doctorates Awarded in the United States Declined in 2010

by Mark K. Fiegener
NSF 12-303
November 2011

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 (see "Data Sources and Limitations" for details). 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.

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