Phi Beta Cons

Humanities Down

The latest Survey of Earned Doctorates is out (and reported here), and it shows science and engineering PhDs are up, although

Non-citizens accounted for more than 70 percent of doctorate recipients in electrical, civil and industrial/mechanical engineering, and more than half of Ph.D. recipients in all other engineering fields, computer sciences, math and physics.

Another interesting finding is that humanities PhDs have dropped from 5,212 in 2000 to 4,949 last year. Education, too, went down, though by not as much. Is this because people calculate the odds of getting a good job when they’re through, and decide it isn’t worth the gamble? Or maybe because they realize that graduate study in the humanities today is a tendentious and ridiculously specialized affair?  Or is it because the humanities don’t attract the foreign students as the sciences do? (Think of what the sciences would look like with the foreign enrollments.) It would be interesting to hear how the professional organizations explain the decline.


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