Brain drain

Smartest students shunning science careers, except biology, researchers conclude.

Charles Choi(cqchoi@nasw.org)
Jan 9, 2003

A new report finds that the United States' top college graduates are increasingly rejecting careers in science and engineering in general, however the life sciences remain a notable exception, with growing numbers of the country's best and brightest steering towards biology.

The authors suggest that the long time it takes to get a doctorate coupled with few job opportunities afterwards may be driving elite students towards programs with relatively short training periods, such as physical therapy or Masters degrees in business administration. While graduate programs in biology are still booming, that too could change.

"I suspect the intrinsic interest of life sciences makes them attractive. There's so much going on that's so widely publicized," said the study's author William Zumeta, professor and associate dean at the University of Washington's Evans School of Public Affairs and its College of Education. "But at some point I think these students will make...