Two all-time highs for US physics departments

21 October 2013

PhDs awardedMore physics bachelor's and more physics PhDs were conferred in the class of 2012 than in any other year in US history. The nearly 6,800 physics bachelor's degrees conferred represent an 8% increase from the previous year and an 86% increase from a recent low in 1999. The 1,762 physics PhDs in the class of 2012 is up 4% from the previous year and 62% from a recent low in 2004. For the second year in a row, the majority of the physics PhDs were awarded to US citizens.

These are findings from the Enrollments & Degrees Survey which the Statistical Research Center (SRC) conducts each fall of all degree-granting physics and astronomy departments in the United States. There are currently 790 such departments and the survey typically achieves a 95% response rate. This annual survey provides the physics and astronomy community accurate and detailed data on enrollment and degree trends. Many of the reports that the SRC publishes are possible because of the data collected in this annual survey.

The SRC has recently published two reports: Roster of Physics Departments with Enrollments and Degree Data, 2012 and Roster of Astronomy Departments with Enrollments and Degree Data, 2012. These reports provide a detailed, department-by-department listing of Fall 2012 enrollment and 2011-12 degree data for degree-granting physics and astronomy departments in the United States.