Examining Employment Data Is Useful In Assessing Biomedical Ph.D. Training

Are we overproducing Ph.D.'s in biomedical sciences? If so, should we regulate future Ph.D. production? To address these questions, we need to examine the data. Biomedical Ph.D. production has increased dramatically. In 1995, United States institutions awarded 5,878 new Ph.D.'s in biomedical sciences, a 55 percent increase over the 3,791 degrees in 1985 (Washington, D.C., National Research Council, Survey of Earned Doctorates, unpublished survey). What forces drove this increase? The number

Howard Garrison
Mar 29, 1998
Are we overproducing Ph.D.'s in biomedical sciences? If so, should we regulate future Ph.D. production? To address these questions, we need to examine the data.

Biomedical Ph.D. production has increased dramatically. In 1995, United States institutions awarded 5,878 new Ph.D.'s in biomedical sciences, a 55 percent increase over the 3,791 degrees in 1985 (Washington, D.C., National Research Council, Survey of Earned Doctorates, unpublished survey). What forces drove this increase? The number of biology graduate students with research assistantships doubled from 1977 to 1985, while other forms of student aid remained level or declined. This suggests that the demand for research assistants was associated with increased production of new Ph.D.'s.

The growing demand for graduate students has been met by an increase in the number of non-U.S. citizens in U.S. graduate programs. Doctorates awarded to non-U.S. citizens rose from 587 in 1985 to 2,031 in 1995, while the number of Ph.D.'s...

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