# of History Doctorates Declines as Others Increase

The total number of doctorates awarded by universities across the United States has increased in 2004, though the number of history PhDs awarded continues to decline slightly. The total number of doctorates awarded is the largest one-year increase since 1992, according to the annual Survey of Earned Doctorates.

Over the past 40 years, the total number of doctorates awarded has increased by an annual average of 3.5%, although in recent years, the number has been flat or even on the decline. The increase of 3.4% in 2004 was the second consecutive year that more doctorates were awarded, primarily due to an influx of international students.

The report indicates that there were 42,155 new doctoral recipients in 2004. While there have been increases in all broad fields of study, 5,467 of the recipients received doctorates in the humanities, approximately 12.5% of the total number. Specifically, 975 were in the field of history, reflecting 17.8% of the humanities doctorates and 2.3% of the total doctorates awarded. Ten years ago, the number of history doctorates awarded was 2.4% of the total, indicating a minor decline in the number of history PhDs in the overall totals. Some thirty years ago, in 1974, the total number of history doctorates comprised 3.5% of the total number of doctorates awarded.

Additionally, the study found that 41.6% of history doctorate recipients were female ­ a number that reflects a 12.8% increase of female recipients over the past ten years. 402 of the 975 history doctorates were specifically in American history, reflecting 41.2% of the total.

The report is sponsored by several agencies, including the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Departments of Agriculture and Education, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The full text of the report “Doctorate Recipients From United States Universities: Summary Report 2004,” is available in PDF format online at http://www.norc.uchicago.edu/issues/sed-2004.pdf .

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