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Projections of Education Statistics to 2016
NCES 2008-060
December 2007

Section 4. Degrees Conferred: Degrees, by Level of Degree and Sex of Recipient

Between 1991–92 and 2004–05, the number and proportion of degrees awarded to women rose at all levels. In 2004–05, women earned the majority of associate's, bachelor's, and master's degrees; 49 percent of doctor's degrees; and slightly less than 50 percent of first-professional degrees. Between 2004–05 and 2016–17, continued increases are expected in the number of degrees awarded to women at all levels (figure G; reference figures 24–28 and tables 27–31).

Figure G. Actual and middle alternative projected numbers for degrees conferred, by level and sex of recipient: Selected years, 1991–92 to 2016–17

Figure G. Actual and middle alternative projected numbers for degrees conferred, by level and sex of recipient: Selected years, 1991–92 to 2016–17

NOTE: Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding.
SOURCE: U.S. Dept. of Education, NCES, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), "Completions Survey," various years; and Degrees Conferred Model. (See reference tables 27 through 31.)

Associate's degrees

Between 2004–05 and 2016–17, in the middle alternative projections, the number of associate's degrees is projected to

  • increase 9 percent overall;
  • increase 2 percent for men; and
  • increase 14 percent for women.

Bachelor's degrees

Between 2004–05 and 2016–17, in the middle alternative projections, the number of bachelor's degrees is projected to

  • increase 26 percent overall;
  • increase 16 percent for men; and
  • increase 33 percent for women.

Master's degrees

Between 2004–05 and 2016–17, in the middle alternative projections, the number of master's degrees is projected to

  • increase 35 percent overall;
  • increase 24 percent for men; and
  • increase 43 percent for women.

Doctor's degrees

Between 2004–05 and 2016–17, in the middle alternative projections, the number of doctor's degrees is projected to

  • increase 32 percent overall;
  • increase 10 percent for men; and
  • increase 54 percent for women.

Beginning in 2005–06, women are projected to receive more doctor's degrees than men in each set of alternative projections.

First-professional degrees

Between 2004–05 and 2016–17, in the middle alternative projections, the number of first-professional degrees is projected to

  • increase 30 percent overall;
  • increase 11 percent for men; and
  • increase 49 percent for women.

Beginning in 2005–06, women are projected to receive more first professional degrees than men in each set of alternative projections.

Definition

A first-professional degree is one that signifies both completion of the academic requirements for beginning practice in a given profession and a level of professional skill beyond that required for a bachelor's degree. A first-professional degree is based on a program requiring at least 2 academic years of work beyond the bachelor's degree. Degree fields include dentistry, medicine, law, and theological professions.

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