Applications to U.S. graduate schools jumped almost 5 percent between 2007 and 2008, slightly more than the average annual increase over the last decade, according to a recent report by the Council of Graduate Schools.
The social and behavioral sciences—the category that includes psychology—were among the top three fields to attract graduate applicants. The field tied with business for the lowest acceptance rates of doctoral candidates. The field also had the third-highest number of doctoral degrees awarded in 2007–08, accounting for more than 14 percent of the total.
The report reveals several other trends in graduate education:
Women are pulling ahead. The average annual growth rate in the number of doctorates awarded to women over the last decade was almost triple that of men. In the social and behavioral sciences, gender differences are also pronounced. In 2008, 64 percent of first-time grad school enrollees were women.
Minority enrollment is on the rise. Minority enrollment has increased an average of 4.5 percent annually over the last decade, while white students' enrollment has grown by 1.5 percent a year.
International student enrollment is lagging. First-time enrollment grew faster for U.S. students than for international ones, increasing almost 5 percent from 2007 to 2008. That's a change from past trends: Over the last decade, the average growth rate in first-time enrollment of domestic students has always been lower than that of international students. In the social and behavioral sciences, 14 percent of grad students in 2008 were temporary residents—significantly lower than in such fields as engineering and the physical sciences.
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