With funding opportunities dwindling in an unpredictable economic climate, graduate students planning to earn their Ph.D.'s in the next two years face a host of uncertainties, according to Betty Vetter, director of the Washington, D.C.-based Commission on Professionals in Science and Technology. Although the National Science Foundation and other agencies are anticipating a shortage of Ph.D. scientists beginning in the mid-1990s, students who will earn their doctorates before then are bracing themselves for competition in a tough job market.

The commission predicts that in 1993, approximately 7,300 U.S. citizens will complete Ph.D.'s in the natural sciences. This figure includes approximately 4,500 Ph.D.'s in the life sciences, 1,200 in chemistry, and 675 in astronomy and physics. These predictions, Vetter says, are based on similar figures compiled in recent years: "The numbers have been very steady for the last 10 years, and we don't see any significant change coming soon."

Sandra J....

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