Skip Navigation
Status and Trends in the Education of American Indians and Alaska Natives
Indicator 7.5: Degrees Conferred by Degree-Granting Institutions

Figure 7.5. Number of degrees awarded to American Indian/Alaska Native students, by level of degree: 1976-77 to 2002-03
Number of degrees awarded to American Indian/Alaska Native students, by level of degree: 1976-77 to 2002-03
1 A degree that signifies both completion of the academic requirements for beginning practice in a given profession and a level of professional skill beyond that normally required for a bachelor's degree. This degree usually is based on a program requiring at least 2 academic years of work prior to entrance and a total of at least 6 academic years of work to complete the degree program, including both prior required college workand the professional program itself. First-professional degrees are awarded in the fields of dentistry, medicine, optometry, osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, podiatric medicine, veterinary medicine, chiropractic, law, and theological professions.
NOTE: For years 1984-85 to 2002-03, reported racial/ethnic distributions of students by level of degree, field of degree, and sex were used to impute race/ethnicity for students whose race/ethnicity was not reported. Data for 1998-99 were imputed using alternative procedures. Some data may have been revised from previously published figures.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Higher Education General Information Survey (HEGIS), "Degrees and Other Formal Awards Conferred" surveys, 1976-77 through 1985-86; and Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), "Completions Survey," (IPEDS-C:87-99), 1986-87 through 1998-99, and Fall 2000 through 2003.

The number of American Indian/Alaska Native students earning degrees has more than doubled for each level of degree since 1976.

Between the 1976-77 and 2002-03 school years, the number of degrees awarded by colleges and universities to American Indians/Alaska Natives more than doubled for each level of degree. In 1976-77, 2,498 associate's degrees were conferred to American Indians/Alaska Natives. The number steadily increased to 3,871 by 1990-91. After 1990-91, the rate dramatically increased and 7,470 associate's degrees were awarded to American Indian/Alaska Native students in 2002-03. This was also the pattern for the number of bachelor's degrees earned by American Indian/Alaska Native students. In 1976-77, 3,326 bachelor's degrees were awarded; by 1990-91, the number increased to 4,583, and in 2002-03, 9,803 bachelor's degrees were awarded to American Indian/Alaska Native students (appendix table A-7.5).

The number of post-baccalaureate degrees awarded to American Indians/Alaska Natives also increased between 1976-77 and 2002-03: 967 to 2,841 for master's degrees, 95 to 192 for doctoral degrees, and 196 to 586 for first-professional degrees (appendix table A-7.5).

During the same period, American Indians/Alaska Natives earned a slightly increasing share of the degrees at every level. In 1976-77, American Indian/Alaska Native students received 0.6 percent of all the associate's degrees awarded, 0.4 percent of all bachelor's degrees, and 0.3 percent each of all master's, doctoral, and first-professional degrees. These percentages increased to 1.2 percent for associate's degrees, 0.8 percent for bachelor's degrees, 0.6 percent for master's degrees, 0.6 percent for doctoral degrees, and 0.7 percent for first-professional degrees awarded in 2002-03 (appendix table A-7.5).

In the 2002-03 academic year, American Indians/Alaska Natives earned more bachelor's degrees than associate's degrees. American Indian/Alaska Native males earned 3,858 bachelor's degrees and 2,624 associate's degrees, while females earned 5,945 bachelor's degrees and 4,846 associate's degrees. American Indian/Alaska Native females earned more associate's, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees than American Indian/Alaska Native males. American Indian/Alaska Native males and females earned the same number of first-professional degrees, each with 293.

View Table View Table 7.5