Indicator

Humanities’ Share of All Advanced Degrees Conferred

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While the number of advanced humanities degrees substantially recovered from the declines of the 1970s and early 1980s (even taking into account recent declines in the number of master’s degrees), the field’s share of all degrees completed at the master’s and doctoral levels has fallen to historic lows in recent years.

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* Including professional practice doctorates (JD, MD, DVM, etc.).

** English language and literature, history, languages and literatures other than English (including linguistics and classics), and philosophy. Please see the Note on the Data Used to Calculate Humanities Degree Counts and Shares for an explanation of the differences between the two sets of degree counts.

Source: Office of Education/U.S. Department of Education, Survey of Earned Degrees, Higher Education General Information System, and Integrated Postsecondary Data System. Data analyzed and presented by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Humanities Indicators (www.humanitiesindicators.org).

All data for years 1987 and later have been tabulated using the Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP). For an explanation of the advantages of using the CIP to tally humanities degree completions, see the Note on the Data Used to Calculate Humanities Degree Counts and Shares.

For an inventory of the specific degree programs that together constitute the academic humanities as they are conceptualized by the Humanities Indicators, see the Degree Program Code Catalog.

See also the Note on the Definition of Advanced Degrees.

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* Excluding professional practice doctorates (JD, MD, DVM, etc.).
** English language and literature, history, languages and literatures other than English (including linguistics and classics), and philosophy. Please see the Note on the Data Used to Calculate Humanities Degree Counts and Shares for an explanation of the differences between the two sets of degree counts.

Source: Office of Education/U.S. Department of Education, Survey of Earned Degrees, Higher Education General Information System, and Integrated Postsecondary Data System. Data analyzed and presented by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Humanities Indicators (www.humanitiesindicators.org).

All data for years 1987 and later have been tabulated using the Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP). For an explanation of the advantages of using the CIP to tally humanities degree completions, see the Note on the Data Used to Calculate Humanities Degree Counts and Shares.

For an inventory of the specific degree programs that together constitute the academic humanities as they are conceptualized by the Humanities Indicators, see the Degree Program Code Catalog.

See also the Note on the Definition of Advanced Degrees.

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* Including professional practice doctorates (MD, DVM, etc.). See “About the Data” for important information about a shift in 2010 in the way the National Center for Education Statistics, the collector of these data, classifies advanced degrees in health/medical sciences.

Source: Office of Education/U.S. Department of Education, Survey of Earned Degrees, Higher Education General Information System, and Integrated Postsecondary Data System. Data analyzed and presented by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Humanities Indicators (www.humanitiesindicators.org).

See the Note on the Data Used to Calculate Humanities Degree Counts and Shares and the Note on the Definition of Advanced Degrees.

Through 2009, many advanced degrees in the health/medical sciences were classified by awarding institutions not as “first professional” degrees (the way in which the National Center for Education Statistics [NCES] required M.D.’s be classified) but as doctorates. With the elimination by NCES of the generic doctoral degree category in 2010, institutions began classifying such degrees as “professional practice” doctoral degrees, which the Humanities Indicators includes in its master’s degree and professional degree counts. This change in the classification of health sciences doctorates is partly responsible for the observed increase after 2009 in the medical and health sciences’ share of master’s and professional degrees.

For an inventory of the specific degree programs that together constitute each of the academic fields as they are conceptualized by the Humanities Indicators, see the Degree Program Code Catalog.

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* Excluding professional practice doctorates (MD, DVM, etc.). The appearance of a dramatic shrinkage in 2010 in the share of all doctorates that went to students in the health and medical sciences is attributable to a change made by the National Center for Education Statistics in the way it asks institutions to classify doctorates. Please see the “About the Data” information associated with this indicator for details. (See also the Note on the Definition of Advanced Degrees for a description of this shift and the steps the Humanities Indicators has taken to help ensure comparability of the advanced degree counts it provides for different years.)

Source: Office of Education/U.S. Department of Education, Survey of Earned Degrees, Higher Education General Information System, and Integrated Postsecondary Data System. Data analyzed and presented by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Humanities Indicators (www.humanitiesindicators.org).

See the Note on the Data Used to Calculate Humanities Degree Counts and Shares and the Note on the Definition of Advanced Degrees.

Through 2009, many advanced degrees in the health sciences were classified by awarding institutions not as “first professional” degrees (the way in which the National Center for Education Statistics [NCES] requires M.D.’s be classified) but as doctorates. With the elimination by NCES of the generic doctoral degree category in 2010, institutions began classifying such degrees as “professional practice” doctoral degrees, which the Humanities Indicators includes in its master’s degree and professional degree counts. This change in the classification of health sciences doctorates, in combination with the relatively small number of doctoral degrees completed each year, creates the false impression that the health and medical sciences field experienced a profound loss of doctorate “market share.”

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