Humanities Indicators
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Higher Education  >  Graduate Education
 
Institutional Distribution of Doctoral Degrees in the Humanities
(Updated April 2015)

Most of the doctoral degrees conferred in the humanities are awarded by institutions classified in the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education as very high research universities. Even though public colleges and universities confer the largest number of doctoral degrees to students in the humanities, in recent years, private colleges and universities have begun to award a larger share of their doctoral degrees on humanities students.

Findings and Trends

  • Humanities doctorates are conferred primarily by very high research universities, which awarded 80% of the degrees in the field in 2013 (Indicator II-b11), down from 84% in 1987 (Indicator II-b12).
  • The share of all humanities doctorates awarded by very high research universities in 2013 was substantial (81%) compared to the proportion of doctoral degrees awarded by such institutions in other fields. Only in the arts disciplines did very high research institutions award a larger proportion of the degrees. In comparison, approximately 60% of the doctorates in the social and behavioral sciences are conferred by these institutions, and less than half of the doctoral degrees awarded in business and education (Indicator II-b13).
  • In addition to conferring the majority of the humanities degrees at the doctoral level, very high research universities award a larger share of their doctoral degrees to humanities students than does any other type of institution. In 2013, just over 10% of the doctoral degrees conferred by very high research universities went to students in the humanities (Indicator II-b14). While this is almost three points lower than the percentage recorded for doctoral degrees awarded in 2000, it is markedly higher than the percentage of doctoral degrees awarded to humanities students at any other type of institution.
  • The proportion of all humanities doctoral degrees conferred by public colleges and universities increased from 57% to almost 63% from 1987 to 2013 (Indicator II-b15). Private not-for-profit institutions awarded almost all of the remaining doctoral degrees in the field. (As of 2013, only 10 doctoral degrees in the humanities have been recorded as conferred by for-profit colleges and universities.)
  • While public colleges and universities award a larger share of all doctoral degrees in the humanities, from 2008 to 2013, private colleges and universities were somewhat more likely to award their doctoral degrees to humanities students than to students in other fields (Indicator II-b16). As of 2013, private not-for-profit colleges and universities awarded 9% of their degrees to students in the humanities, as compared to 8% of the degrees awarded by public colleges and universities.
II-b11: Distribution of 2013 Humanities Doctoral Degree Completions among Carnegie Institution Types*

* Institutions have been categorized using the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s Basic Classification of college and university types.

Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Data System; accessed via the National Science Foundation’s online data system,WebCASPAR.

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II-b12: Distribution of Humanities Doctoral Degree Completions among Carnegie Institution Types,* 1987–2013

See the Note on the Data Used to Calculate Humanities Degree Counts and Shares and the Note on the Definition of Advanced Degrees.

For a detailed explanation of the types of institutions in each category, see the Classification Descriptions on the site maintained by Indiana University’s Center for Postsecondary Research.

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II-b13: Distribution of 2013 Doctoral Degree Completions among Carnegie Institution Types,* by Field of Degree

* Institutions have been categorized using the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s Basic Classification of college and university types.

Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Data System; accessed via the National Science Foundation’s online data system,WebCASPAR.

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II-b14: Humanities Doctorates as a Percentage of All Doctorates Awarded by Various Carnegie Institution Types,* 1987– 2013

* Institutions have been categorized using the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s Basic Classification of college and university types.

Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Data System; accessed via the National Science Foundation’s Online Integrated Science and Engineering Resources Data System,WebCASPAR.

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II-b15: Percentage of All U.S. Doctorates in the Humanities Awarded by Public versus Private Institutions,* 1987–2013

* Institutions have been categorized according to the IPEDs classification of institutional control.

Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Data System; accessed via the National Science Foundation’s Online Integrated Science and Engineering Resources Data System,WebCASPAR.

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II-b16: Humanities Doctorates as a Percentage of All Doctorates Awarded by Public versus Private Institutions,* 1987– 2013

* Institutions have been categorized according to the IPEDs classification of institutional control.

Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Data System; accessed via the National Science Foundation’s Online Integrated Science and Engineering Resources Data System,WebCASPAR.

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