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Building a Workforce for the Information Economy
FIGURE 2.18 Bachelor's and associate's degrees awarded in computer science, 1980 to 1996. SOURCE: NRC staff analysis.
and then increased significantly in the next 2 years, to about 5,600 in 1999 (see Table 2.5). Such increased enrollments may indicate additional increases in degree production at those levels in the coming years.
The picture at the Ph.D. level, however, is very different, as indicated by the declining number of doctorates awarded from the mid-1990s to 1999 (see Table 2.5). Total enrollment has also declined over the same period, from about 7,900 full- and part-time students in 1995 to about 7,100 in 1999 and a low point of 6,800 in 1997. Although the disparity between new enrollments and the number of Ph.D. degrees awarded may simply reflect the time required to earn a doctorate, it might also indicate that students are dropping out of Ph.D. programs to take employment in a very good job market.
Across all institutions the number of degrees awarded in the mid-1990s was constant at about 10,000 for master's degrees and 1,100 for doctorates. If the Taulbee data on computer science and engineering enrollments can be extrapolated to enrollments across all institutions, then growth at the master's level to about 12,500 by the end of the 1990s might be anticipated. However, significant increases at the doctoral level in the late 1990s are unlikely, given that the Taulbee and the National Science Foundation data show no increases. It is possible, then, that at the start of the 21st century, the number of trained computer scientists added to the workforce yearly may stand at 36,000 with bachelor's degrees, 12,500 with master's degrees, and 1,100 with doctorates.