This report provides an overview of science and engineering (S&E) higher education in the United States, including trends over time and comparisons with other nations. S&E fields, as defined in this report, include astronomy, chemistry, physics, atmospheric sciences, earth sciences, ocean sciences, mathematics and statistics, computer sciences, agricultural sciences, biological sciences, psychology, social sciences, and engineering. At the doctoral level, the medical and health sciences are included under S&E because the doctoral-level data correspond to the doctor’s-research/scholarship degree level, which includes research-focused degrees but excludes professional practice degrees such as Doctor of Medicine.
The first section of this report provides overall information on the U.S. higher education system, with special emphasis on several types of institutions: research universities, minority-serving institutions (MSIs), and community colleges. It includes a sidebar focused on preliminary data on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on higher education. This section also provides information on sources of aid for undergraduate S&E education, with a focus on the federal government’s role. The second section looks at national trends over time in S&E degree awards at the undergraduate and graduate levels, highlighting patterns by field. The third section focuses on the demographic attributes of S&E degree recipients, including sex, race, and ethnicity. It examines trends by degree level and field. The final section focuses on international S&E higher education. This section provides data on students on temporary visas who study or earn degrees in the United States, with special emphasis on the sharp decline in international students that resulted from the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. It also benchmarks the United States with other nations in terms of S&E degrees awarded.
Additional context for the topics covered in this report is available in other Indicators 2022 reports. More data on graduate students studying S&E, including enrollment by field and sources of financial support, are provided in the Indicators 2022 report “Academic Research and Development.” Additional educational data are available in “Elementary and Secondary STEM Education,” and further information on the labor force, including demographic characteristics and linkages between education and occupation, is provided in “The STEM Labor Force of Today: Scientists, Engineers, and Skilled Technical Workers.” Data on S&E degree awards at the state level are available in Science and Engineering Indicators State Indicators.