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Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, and National Academy of Engineering. 1995. Reshaping the Graduate Education of Scientists and Engineers. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4935.
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Reshaping the Graduate Education of Scientists and Engineers

Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy

National Academy of Sciences
National Academy of Engineering
Institute of Medicine

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, D.C. 1995

Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, and National Academy of Engineering. 1995. Reshaping the Graduate Education of Scientists and Engineers. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4935.
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Page ii

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS   ·   2101 Constitution Ave., N.W.  ·   Washington, D.C. 20418

NOTICE: This volume was produced as part of a project approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. It is a result of work done by the Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy (COSEPUP) as augmented, which has authorized its release to the public. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by COSEPUP and the Report Review Committee.

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Under the authority of the charter granted to it by Congress in 1863, the Academy has a working mandate that calls on it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the NAS.

The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) was established in 1964, under the charter of the NAS, as a parallel organization of distinguished engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of members, sharing with the NAS its responsibilities for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Robert M. White is president of the NAE.

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) was established in 1970 by the NAS to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the NAS in its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, on its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the IOM.

The Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy (COSEPUP) is a joint committee of the NAS, the NAE, and the IOM. It includes members of the councils of all three bodies.

This project was supported by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the Kellogg Endowment Fund of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine.

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 95-69122
International Standard Book Number: 0-309-05285-8

Internet Access: This report is available on the National Academy of Sciences' Internet host. It may be accessed via World Wide Web at http://www.nas.edu, via Gopher at gopher.nas.edu, or via FTP at ftp.nas.edu.

On the Cover: The cover depicts decision trees illustrating the variety of paths scientists and engineers decide to pursue throughout their career.

Available from: National Academy Press, 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Box 285, Washington, D.C. 20055 1-800-624-6242 or 202-334-3313 (in Washington metropolitan area)

Copyright 1995 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. This document may be reproduced solely for educational purposes without the written permission of the National Academy of Sciences.

Printed in the United States of America
First Printing. May 1995
Second Printing. November 1995

Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, and National Academy of Engineering. 1995. Reshaping the Graduate Education of Scientists and Engineers. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4935.
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Page iii

COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE, ENGINEERING, AND PUBLIC POLICY

Study on Graduate Education

PHILLIP A. GRIFFITHS (Chairman), Director, Institute for Advanced Study

ROBERT McCORMICK ADAMS, Secretary Emeritus, Smithsonian Institution

BRUCE M. ALBERTS,* President, National Academy of Sciences

ARDEN L. BEMENT, Basil S. Turner Distinguished Professor of Engineering, Purdue University

ELKAN R. BLOUT, Harkness Professor, Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Harvard Medical School

FELIX E. BROWDER, University Professor, Department of Mathematics, Rutgers University

DAVID R. CHALLONER, Vice President for Health Affairs, University of Florida

ELLIS B. COWLING, University Distinguished Professor At-Large, North Carolina State University

BERNARD N. FIELDS,+ Adele Lehman Professor; Chairman, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Harvard Medical School

ALEXANDER H. FLAX, Senior Fellow, National Academy of Engineering

RALPH E. GOMORY, President, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

THOMAS D. LARSON, Consultant

MARY JANE OSBORN, Head, Department of Microbiology, University of Connecticut Health Center

PHILLIP A. SHARP, Head, Department of Biology, Center for Cancer Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

KENNETH I. SHINE,* President, Institute of Medicine

RALPH SNYDERMAN, Chancellor for Health Affairs; Dean, School of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center

H. GUYFORD STEVER, Trustee and Science Consultant

MORRIS TANENBAUM, Vice President, National Academy of Engineering

ROBERT M. WHITE,* President, National Academy of Engineering

LAWRENCE E. McCRAY, Executive Director

Principal Project Staff
MICHAEL McGEARY, Study Director

DEBORAH D. STINE, Senior Program Officer

ALAN ANDERSON, Consultant/Writer

* Ex officio member.

+ Deceased, February 1, 1995.

Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, and National Academy of Engineering. 1995. Reshaping the Graduate Education of Scientists and Engineers. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4935.
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Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, and National Academy of Engineering. 1995. Reshaping the Graduate Education of Scientists and Engineers. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4935.
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Page v

PREFACE

In 1993, the Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy (COSEPUP) issued a report entitled Science, Technology, and the Federal Government: National Goals for a New Era (the Goals report), which proposed a framework for federal policy to support science and technology. During the preparation of the report, it became apparent that a complete discussion of the science and technology enterprise would require an examination of the process by which scientists and engineers are educated. If scientists and engineers are to contribute effectively to national, scientific, and technological objectives, their educational experience must prepare them to do so. The present report can be considered a companion volume to the Goals report.

Several key questions guided the committee during its initial deliberations:

· What are typical career paths for scientists and engineers, and how have they changed in recent years?

· Given present career paths, what are the most appropriate structures and functions for graduate education?

· How can science and engineering graduate students be prepared for a variety of careers in teaching, industry, government, and other employment sectors, in addition to research?

· Are we producing the right numbers of PhDs?1

· What should be the nation's goals for graduate science and engineering education?

1 Because of the concerns regarding PhD unemployment, the report focuses on the PhD.

Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, and National Academy of Engineering. 1995. Reshaping the Graduate Education of Scientists and Engineers. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4935.
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Page vi

In attempting to answer those questions, we found important gaps in our knowledge of employment rates and patterns. It has proved difficult, for example, to determine where PhDs are and what they are doing in nonacademic positions or to determine accurately either unemployment rates of scientists and engineers or the extent of underemployment, especially among recent graduates, because of the lack of timely data. In fact, we were sufficiently troubled by the lack of generally available information to conclude that students', professors', and mentors' lack of accurate, timely, and accessible data on employment trends, careers, and sources of student support is a serious flaw in our education system.

This deficiency makes it difficult for potential and current graduate students to make well-informed decisions as to whether and where to enter graduate school. It also hampers the faculties at our universities in preparing their students adequately for the full range of professional careers in science and engineering. Therefore, the committee faced a dilemma—whether to make recommendations despite gaps in current understanding or to counsel delay until such understanding is attained. It proceeded to make recommendations now because students, universities and colleges, professors, mentors, funding agencies, employers, and others must make decisions today that will affect the careers of science and engineering students for the rest of their lives.

The recommendations in this report reflect a common theme. Many of the job opportunities of the future will favor students with greater breadth of academic and career skills, so the universities and their partners in the graduate-education enterprise should therefore cooperate to broaden curricular options for graduate students.

We hope this report will be useful not only for university presidents, provosts, deans, and others in the decision-making structure of universities, but also for all institutions and individuals who are part of the graduate-education enterprise: federal and state government,2industry and business, and faculty, mentors, and students at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.

The committee acknowledges the invaluable information and opinions received from a variety of sources. We convened more than a half-dozen panels of experts from academe, government, industry, foundations, and other sectors. The panel members are listed in Appendix E. A call for comments to scientists, engineers, administrators, students, and educators across the country drew more than 100 thoughtful replies, many of them reflecting exceptional care; some correspondents even conducted informal surveys within their own institutions. Those responding to the call for comments are listed in Appendix D and their thoughtful responses are provided in Appendix F. In addition, Appendix G summarizes a survey we sent to graduate students asking what information they need to make decisions. The committee also made use of continuing work by the National Research Council's Office of Scientific and Engineering Personnel.

2 There is a lack of adequate information about educational and funding activities at the state level. The states have supported graduate education for many years, and a number of state governments and agencies have initiated innovative ways to broaden graduate education through interactions with industry, government, and community groups.

Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, and National Academy of Engineering. 1995. Reshaping the Graduate Education of Scientists and Engineers. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4935.
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Page vii

The production of the report was the result of hard work by the committee as a whole and by the extra effort of the Guidance Group (consisting of Arden Bement, Mary J. Osborn, David Challoner, Alexander Flax, and me), which convened between regular committee meetings. The project was aided by the invaluable help of COSEPUP professional staff: Michael McGeary, study director, who provided research and analytical support, as illustrated in Appendixes B and C and Chapter 2, and drafted major portions of Chapters 3 and 4; Deborah Stine, senior program officer, who managed the committee's outreach efforts and contributed in a major way to Chapter 2; Alan Anderson, consultant/writer, who helped draft and revise the text throughout the project; and Lawrence McCray, executive director of COSEPUP, who oversaw the committee's activity. Wise guidance was provided by Philip M. Smith as a consultant. National Research Council staff members Dimitria Satterwhite, Jeffrey Peck, and Patrick Sevcik ably assisted the project. The committee also thanks its diligent editor, Norman Grossblatt.

PHILLIP A. GRIFFITHS
Chair
Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy

Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, and National Academy of Engineering. 1995. Reshaping the Graduate Education of Scientists and Engineers. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4935.
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Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, and National Academy of Engineering. 1995. Reshaping the Graduate Education of Scientists and Engineers. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4935.
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Page ix

CONTENTS

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

1

 

FRAMING THE ISSUE

1

 

A TIME OF CHANGE

2

 

SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS

3

 

MAJOR RELATED ISSUES

8

 

Is There an Oversupply of PhDs?

8

 

Foreign Students

9

1

THE CHANGING CONTEXT OF GRADUATE EDUCATION

11

2

THE EMPLOYMENT OF GRADUATE SCIENTISTS AND ENGINEERS

19

2.1

CURRENT EMPLOYMENT CONDITIONS

19

 

Employment Trends

21

 

Unemployment and Delayed Employment

26

 

Underemployment and Underutilization

28

2.2

EMPLOYMENT TRENDS BY SECTOR

29

 

Education

31

 

Government

34

 

Business and Industry

36

2.3

EMPLOYER PERSPECTIVES

38

2.4

THE CHANGING CONTEXT OF EMPLOYMENT

44

Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, and National Academy of Engineering. 1995. Reshaping the Graduate Education of Scientists and Engineers. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4935.
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Page x

3

THE EDUCATION OF GRADUATE SCIENTISTS AND ENGINEERS

47

3.1

OVERVIEW

47

3.2

THE MASTER'S EXPERIENCE

49

3.3

THE DOCTORAL EXPERIENCE

49

3.4

TIME TO DEGREE

51

3.5

MECHANISMS OF ASSISTANCE FOR GRADUATE EDUCATION

53

3.6

CAREER INFORMATION AND GUIDANCE

59

3.7

THE GRADUATE EDUCATION OF WOMEN AND MINORITY-GROUP STUDENTS

60

3.8

FOREIGN GRADUATE STUDENTS

62

3.9

POSTDOCTORAL EDUCATION

62

4

DISCUSSION OF MAJOR RELATED ISSUES

65

4.1

THE "RIGHT" NUMBER OF SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING PHDS

65

 

The Current Unemployment Situation

66

 

Limitations of Supply-Demand Models for Forecasting Science and Engineering Personnel Needs

67

 

Conclusion

68

4.2

THE ISSUE OF FOREIGN STUDENTS

69

 

Support of Foreign Graduate Students

69

 

Where do Foreign-Citizen PhDs Go?

69

 

What Are the Effects?

70

 

Conclusion

71

4.3

TIME TO EMPLOYMENT

72

4.4

INFORMATION AND ANALYSIS NEEDS

73

5

CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

75

5.1

NATIONAL OPTIONS

76

5.2

TOWARD GREATER VERSATILITY

77

5.3

TOWARD BETTER CAREER INFORMATION AND GUIDANCE

84

5.4

TOWARD IMPLEMENTATION OF A NATIONAL POLICY

89

5.5

CONCLUSION

91

Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, and National Academy of Engineering. 1995. Reshaping the Graduate Education of Scientists and Engineers. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4935.
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Page xi

APPENDIXES

A

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION ON COMMITTEE MEMBERS

93

B

STATISTICS ON GRADUATE EDUCATION OF SCIENTISTS AND ENGINEERS

97

C

EMPLOYMENT TRENDS AMONG SCIENTISTS AND ENGINEERS WITH GRADUATE DEGREES

139

D

RESPONDENTS TO CALL FOR COMMENTS

173

E

PANELISTS

179

F

CALL FOR COMMENTS: SUMMARY OF RESPONSES

183

G

SUMMARY OF RESPONSES TO SURVEY ON INFORMATION NEEDS

197

REFERENCES

203

Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, and National Academy of Engineering. 1995. Reshaping the Graduate Education of Scientists and Engineers. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4935.
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Page xii

LIST OF FIGURES

1-1:

Number of doctorates awarded by US institutions, by broad field, 1958-1993

14

1-2:

Trends in citizenship of recipients of doctorates from US institutions, 1983-1993

15

2-1:

Growth in employment of doctoral scientists and engineers in the United States, 1973-1991

20

2-2:

Scientists and engineers with US PhDs, by employment sector, 1973-1991

22

2-3:

Primary work activity of scientists and engineers with PhDs from US universities, 1973-1991

24

2-4:

Change in employment sector of scientists and engineers 5-8 years after receipt of US doctorates, 1977 and 1991

25

2-5:

Unemployment rates among different occupational and educational groups in the civilian noninstitutional labor force, 1985-1993

27

2-6:

Employment sectors of scientists and engineers with US PhDs, by broad field, 1991

30

3-1:

Science and engineering graduate student enrollment, by broad field, 1982-1992

48

3-2:

Median years to degree for doctorate recipients, by broad field, 1993

52

3-3:

Incidence of research assistantships and teaching assistantships among US PhDs, by broad field, 1993

56

3-4:

Types of support for academic R&D, 1966-1992

57

3-5:

Mix of federal support for academic scientists and engineers, 1966-1992

58

LIST OF TABLES

2-1:

Changes in Percentages of Scientists and Engineers Employed in Academe 5-8 Years after Receiving US PhD, by Broad Field, 1977 and 1991

32

2-2:

Changes in Percentages of Scientists and Engineers Who Are Civilian Employees of the Federal Government 5-8 Years after Receiving US PhD, by Broad Field, 1977 and 1991

35

2-3:

Changes in Percentages of Scientists and Engineers Employed in Business/Industry 5-8 Years after Receiving US PhD, by Broad Field, 1977-1991

37

3-1:

Source of Graduate-School Support for Doctorate Recipients, by Broad Field, 1993

54

Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, and National Academy of Engineering. 1995. Reshaping the Graduate Education of Scientists and Engineers. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4935.
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Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, and National Academy of Engineering. 1995. Reshaping the Graduate Education of Scientists and Engineers. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4935.
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Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, and National Academy of Engineering. 1995. Reshaping the Graduate Education of Scientists and Engineers. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4935.
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Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, and National Academy of Engineering. 1995. Reshaping the Graduate Education of Scientists and Engineers. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4935.
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Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, and National Academy of Engineering. 1995. Reshaping the Graduate Education of Scientists and Engineers. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4935.
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Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, and National Academy of Engineering. 1995. Reshaping the Graduate Education of Scientists and Engineers. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4935.
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Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, and National Academy of Engineering. 1995. Reshaping the Graduate Education of Scientists and Engineers. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4935.
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Page R7
Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, and National Academy of Engineering. 1995. Reshaping the Graduate Education of Scientists and Engineers. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4935.
×
Page R8
Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, and National Academy of Engineering. 1995. Reshaping the Graduate Education of Scientists and Engineers. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4935.
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Page R9
Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, and National Academy of Engineering. 1995. Reshaping the Graduate Education of Scientists and Engineers. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4935.
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Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, and National Academy of Engineering. 1995. Reshaping the Graduate Education of Scientists and Engineers. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4935.
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Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, and National Academy of Engineering. 1995. Reshaping the Graduate Education of Scientists and Engineers. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4935.
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Are we producing too many PhDs? Does the current graduate education system adequately prepare science and engineering students for today's marketplace? How do foreign students enter the picture? What should be the PhD of the future? These and other questions are addressed in this book by a blue-ribbon panel of scientists and engineers. Recommendations are aimed at creating a new PhD that would retain the existing strengths of the current system while substantially increasing the information available, the potential versatility of students, and the career options afforded to them by their PhD education.

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