State of the Humanities 2022: From Graduate Education to the Workforce
Graduate Degrees Conferred in the Humanities, by Degree Level, 1988–2020Back to table of contents
Graduate Degrees Conferred in the Humanities, by Degree Level, 1988–2020
The number of graduate-level degrees awarded annually in the humanities trended upward from the late 1980s into the early 2010s, but the number of master’s degrees peaked in 2012 (at 32,584), and the number of doctoral degrees peaked three years later (at 6,010). As of 2020 the number of master’s degrees had fallen by 18.5% from that peak, while doctoral degrees fell by a more modest 8.8% from their peak in 2015.1 But—and this is an important caveat—the number of degrees conferred is but one indicator of the comparative health of graduate education in the humanities.
- 1U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Data System (IPEDS). The master’s degree count for some recent years includes a handful of what are categorized by the conferring institution as professional-practice doctorates (see below).