TABLE 2-2 Master’s Degrees Conferred, by Field, 2004-2005

Field

Number

Percentage

Education

167,490

29

Business, management, marketing, and personal and culinary services

142,617

25

Health professions and related clinical sciences

46,703

8

Engineering and engineering technologies

35,133

6

Public administration and social service professions

29,552

5

Psychology

18,830

3

Computer and information sciences and support services

18,416

3

Biological sciences, physical sciences, and mathematics

18,354

3

Social sciences, psychology, and history

16,952

3

Other

80,571

14

Total

574,618

100

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2004-05 Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), Fall 2005. (See Digest of Education Statistics, 2006, Table 258, http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d06/tables/dt06_258.asp, accessed October 22, 2007.)

signifying its location following the baccalaureate and preceding the doctorate, as a ‘predoctoral’ or ‘intermediate’ year of graduate school or stepping-stone to the doctorate.”2 Indeed, graduate education that prepares students for the doctorate and professional education that prepares students for practice in law and medicine took divergent paths in the first half of the 20th century. The award of a master’s degree in the context of doctoral education signified either a “stepping-stone” en route to the doctorate or a “consolation prize” for those who were not admitted to candidacy or who dropped out. Professional degrees, by contrast, served as credentials for practice.

The surge in the number of master’s degrees awarded in the second half of the 20th century was generated by increases in education, business, and other professionally oriented fields. Indeed, one important thrust of

2

Judith Glazer-Raymo, Professionalizing Graduate Education: The Master’s Degree in the Marketplace (ASHE Higher Education Report, Vol. 31, No. 4, 2005), 1.



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