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II-27c: Median Number of Years Spent by Ph.D. Recipients in Their Doctoral Programs, by Field and Phase of Program, Graduation Years 2004–2012*

* Estimates include years in master’s degree program if part of the doctoral program. Respondents were directed to report years taking courses or preparing for exams as whole, rounded years.

Source: National Science Foundation, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED; a custom tabulation of SED data was prepared for the Humanities Indicators by NORC at the University of Chicago).

This indicator is based on data yielded by a question asked as part of the annual Survey of Earned Doctorates (see item A12 on the 2012–2013 questionnaire). The question consists of two parts, asking “How many years were you: a. taking courses or preparing for exams for this doctoral degree (including a master’s degree, if that was part of your doctoral program)?” and “b. working on your dissertation after coursework and exams (non-course-related preparation and research, writing and defense)?” The responses were given in whole, rounded years. Life sciences includes agricultural sciences and natural resources; biological, biomedical sciences; and health sciences. Physical sciences includes mathematics and computer and information sciences. Social sciences includes psychology.

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