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Educational Outcomes


College Degrees

Between 1998–99 and 2008–09, the number of people earning associate's degrees increased by 41 percent; the number earning bachelor's degrees, by 33 percent; the number earning master's degrees, by 49 percent; the number earning first-professional degrees, by 17 percent; and the number earning doctor's degrees, by 54 percent. Also, the number of degrees of all types conferred to females increased at a faster rate than the number conferred to males between 1998–99 and 2008–09 (see Digest of Education Statistics, 2010, table 279). Between 1998–99 and 2008–09, the number of bachelor's degrees awarded to males increased by 32 percent, while the number awarded to females increased by 34 percent.

In 2008–09, colleges and universities awarded 787,000 associate's degrees; 1,601,000 bachelor's degrees; 657,000 master's degrees; 92,000 first-professional degrees; and 68,000 doctor's degrees. In 2008–09, females earned the majority of degrees at the associate's, bachelor's, master's, and doctor's degree levels.

Of the 1,601,000 bachelor's degrees conferred in 2008–09, the largest numbers of degrees were conferred in the fields of business (348,000), social sciences and history (169,000), health professions and related clinical sciences (120,000), and education (102,000) (see Digest of Education Statistics, 2010, tables 282, 283, and 284). At the master's degree level, the largest numbers of degrees were in the fields of education (179,000) and business (168,000). The fields with the largest number of degrees at the doctor's degree level were health professions and related clinical sciences (12,100), education (9,000), engineering and engineering technologies (8,000), biological and biomedical sciences (7,000), psychology (5,500), and physical sciences and science technologies (5,000).


Table 28. Associate's and bachelor's degrees conferred and percentage of bachelor's degrees awarded to females by degree-granting institutions: Selected years, 1969–70 through 2008–09
 
Year Associate's
degrees
Bachelor's
degrees
Percent of
bachelor's
degrees
awarded
to females
1969–70 206,023 792,316 43.1
1979–80 400,910 929,417 49.0
1984–85 454,712 979,477 50.7
1989–90 455,102 1,051,344 53.2
1991–92 504,231 1,136,553 54.2
1992–93 514,756 1,165,178 54.3
1993–94 530,632 1,169,275 54.5
1994–95 539,691 1,160,134 54.6
1995–96 555,216 1,164,792 55.1
1996–97 571,226 1,172,879 55.6
1997–98 558,555 1,184,406 56.1
1998–99 559,954 1,200,303 56.8
1999–2000 564,933 1,237,875 57.2
2000–01 578,865 1,244,171 57.3
2001–02 595,133 1,291,900 57.4
2002–03 634,016 1,348,811 57.5
2003–04 665,301 1,399,542 57.5
2004–05 696,660 1,439,264 57.4
2005–06 713,066 1,485,242 57.5
2006–07 728,114 1,524,092 57.4
2007–08 750,164 1,563,069 57.3
2008–09 787,325 1,601,368 57.2
 

Table 29. Master's, first-professional, and doctor's degrees conferred by degree-granting institutions: Selected years, 1969–70 through 2008–09
 
Year Master's
degrees
First-
professional
degrees
Doctor's
degrees
1969–70 208,291 34,918 29,866
1979–80 298,081 70,131 32,615
1984–85 286,251 75,063 32,943
1988–89 310,621 70,856 35,720
1989–90 324,301 70,988 38,371
1991–92 352,838 74,146 40,659
1992–93 369,585 75,387 42,132
1993–94 387,070 75,418 43,185
1994–95 397,629 75,800 44,446
1995–96 406,301 76,734 44,652
1996–97 419,401 78,730 45,876
1997–98 430,164 78,598 46,010
1998–99 439,986 78,439 44,077
1999–2000 457,056 80,057 44,808
2000–01 468,476 79,707 44,904
2001–02 482,118 80,698 44,160
2002–03 513,339 80,897 46,042
2003–04 558,940 83,041 48,378
2004–05 574,618 87,289 52,631
2005–06 594,065 87,655 56,067
2006–07 604,607 90,064 60,616
2007–08 625,023 91,309 63,712
2008–09 656,784 92,004 67,716