Doctoral Degrees Conferred in the Humanities, by Discipline, 1988–2020Back to table of contents
Doctoral Degrees Conferred in the Humanities, by Discipline, 1988–2020
Similar to master’s degrees, six disciplines (English language and literature, communication, history, languages and literatures other than English, philosophy, and study of the arts) accounted for most of the doctoral degrees awarded annually in the field from 1988 to 2020, representing 78% of humanities degrees in 2020.
In recent years, the number of PhDs awarded declined among all the large disciplines except communication (where it rose by 5% from 2012 to 2020), but the declines were considerably smaller than for master’s degrees. Programs in history and philosophy experienced the largest declines from 2012 to 2020 (falling 12% and 10% respectively). Despite the recent declines, the number of PhDs awarded in every discipline except area studies and religion was larger in 2020 than the number awarded in 2008—a year that will be relevant for later discussion about the academic job market (see Academic Job Openings Listed with Scholarly Societies in the Humanities, by Discipline, 2002–2020).4