Humanities Indicators
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Higher Education  >  Undergraduate and Graduate Degree Information for Specific Humanities Disciplines
 
Racial/Ethnic Distribution of Degrees in Philosophy
(Updated April 2016)

Philosophy confers a relatively small proportion of its degrees on traditionally underrepresented racial/ethnic minorities when compared to the other disciplines profiled by the Humanities Indicators (English language and literature, history, languages and literatures other than English, and religion), but the share has grown since 1995.

Findings and Trends

  • In 2014, traditionally underrepresented racial/ethnic minorities received 17.0% of all bachelor’s degrees in philosophy (Indicator II-21d). This percentage represents an increase of eight percentage points from 1995 (the first year for which data of this kind are available). This growth occurred in two spurts, an uptick in the mid-1990s and another steady rise that began in 2005. Graduates of Hispanic descent contributed the most to this increase, as the share of degree completions in the discipline by students of this ethnicity increased from 4.6% in 1995 to 11.1% in 2014.
  • At the master’s level, traditionally underrepresented racial/ethnic minorities earned 10.2% of philosophy degrees awarded in 2014, up from 6.5% in 1995 (Indicator II-21e). Among traditionally underrepresented groups, Hispanics completed the largest share of degrees, accounting for 7.3% of philosophy master’s in 2014. The data also reveal a surge from 2004 to 2010 in the percentage of philosophy master’s degrees awarded to students of unknown ethnicity or who identified themselves as being of a race or ethnicity that is not included among the reporting categories employed by the collector of these data, the National Center for Education Statistics. The share of master’s completers in this category declined over the next four years, but this category remained higher than any identified ethnic group for the remainder of the data series.
  • In 2014, completions of philosophy doctorates by traditionally underrepresented minorities reached a high of 7.9%, a level nearly three times as great as that observed in 1995 (Indicator II-21f).
  • Throughout the period for which data are available, “temporary residents” (students from other nations who come to study in the United States) completed a larger share of philosophy doctorates than any U.S. racial or ethnic minority group. In 2013, more than a fifth of all philosophy doctorates from U.S. institutions were awarded to such students—the highest level on record—but the share fell almost five percentage points in 2014 (to 16.5%).
II-21d: Percentages of Bachelor’s Degrees in Philosophy Awarded to Members of Racial/Ethnic Minority Groups, 1995–2014*

* Degree shares do not include second majors.
** Includes students who are citizens or permanent residents and who are identified by their institutions as African American (non-Hispanic), American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian/Pacific Islander, or Hispanic.
† Students counted under “Racial/Ethnic Minorities” minus Asians and Pacific Islanders.

Source: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). The IPEDS data were accessed and analyzed via the National Science Foundation’s online science and engineering resources data system, WebCASPAR.

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II-21e: Percentages of Master’s Degrees in Philosophy Awarded to Members of Racial/Ethnic Minority Groups, 1995–2014

* Includes students who are citizens or permanent residents and who are identified by their institutions as African American (non-Hispanic), American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian/Pacific Islander, or Hispanic.
** Students counted under “Racial/Ethnic Minorities” minus Asians and Pacific Islanders.

Source: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). The IPEDS data were accessed and analyzed via the National Science Foundation’s online science and engineering resources data system, WebCASPAR.

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II-21f: Percentages of Doctoral Degrees in Philosophy Awarded to Members of Racial/Ethnic Minority Groups, 1995–2014

* Includes students who are citizens or permanent residents and who are identified by their institutions as African American (non-Hispanic), American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian/Pacific Islander, or Hispanic.
** Students counted under “Racial/Ethnic Minorities” minus Asians and Pacific Islanders.

Source: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). The IPEDS data were accessed and analyzed via the National Science Foundation’s online science and engineering resources data system, WebCASPAR.

About this DataRelated Indicators
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