officials alike, of the changing way that graduate education in science and engineering contributes to the wide array of national needs. For many of these needs, it is a career in professional service, applied research, development, or consulting that graduates will find open to them.
The committee concludes that improvement of three kinds is needed. First, graduate programs should add emphasis on versatility; we need to make our students more adaptable to changing conditions. This is mainly a matter of local initiative by the universities themselves, but there is a supporting role for government, too. Second, much better information should be routinely provided to students and their advisers so that students can make more realistic career decisions than is now practical. Third, there needs to be a deliberate national reconsideration of graduate education so that the open policy questions, the current information gaps, and the contemporary stresses are systematically addressed by a suitable blend of university, industry, professional society, and government. Those improvements can be made without disruption of the traditional commitment to excellence in basic research that has been, and must continue to be, a hallmark of the US system of graduate education.
Although the universities are primarily responsible for implementing those changes, national and state government, industry, business, and others can help by providing opportunities to gain experience and exposure to a variety of occupations via internships, alternative certification programs, etc. We do not minimize the difficulty of effecting reform in a system as complex and diffuse as that of US universities. But we already have many relevant examples of the application of local imagination and initiative. We believe that most university leaders will find it in their own interest to reshape graduate education to meet students' career needs better and to ensure universities' vital role in the nation's steady progress toward a knowledge-based society.
The committee arrived at its preferred national strategyemphasizing versatility and informationafter considering alternative approaches.
For example, it might seem tempting to remove any apparent imbalance between supply and demand by adjusting student enrollment. The reasons not to move toward anything like national enrollment quotas have been presented above (see Section 4.1). We found these arguments as persuasive when applied to discipline or fields as would be implied in suggestions to cut physics enrollments by X% or to increase the numbers of master's degrees in microbiology by Y%. Identifying the ''right" number of graduates is chancy, to say nothing of administering nationwide compliance.
Another version of this suggestion is that we should set out to adjust the mix of master's degrees and PhD degrees that are awarded. Some question, for example, whether PhD-holders are not overeducated for the positions they fillespecially for nonresearch jobsand whether a master's degree would suffice. But can one actually conclude that the PhD experience is