Basic annual salary. Annual salary to be earned from the doctorate recipient’s principal job in the next year, not including bonuses or additional compensation for summertime teaching or research.

Carnegie Classification. The Carnegie Classification of academic institutions is a commonly used classification of postsecondary institutions based on level of degree awarded, fields in which degrees are conferred, and, in some cases, enrollment, federal research support, and selectivity of admissions criteria. The categories used here are from the 2015 version of the classification and include highest research universities, higher research universities, moderate research universities, and other universities.

Definite commitment. A commitment, through a contract or other method, by doctorate recipients to accept employment, including a postdoc study, in the coming year or to return to predoctoral employment.

Definite employment commitment. A definite commitment by doctorate recipients for employment in a non-postdoc position in the coming year.

Field of study. The Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED) collects data on 331 fields of doctoral study. For reporting purposes, these fields are grouped into 35 major fields and are further aggregated into eight broad fields: life sciences; physical sciences and earth sciences; mathematics and computer sciences; psychology and social sciences; engineering; education; humanities and arts; and other non-science and engineering fields. See technical table A-6 in the online resources of this report for a listing of the major fields within each broad field category. See the survey questionnaire for a full listing of the fine fields of study in 2017 (

Graduate education-related debt. The amount of debt owed by a doctorate recipient at the time the doctorate is awarded that is directly related to graduate education.

Interstate mobility. Characteristic of doctorate recipients who at graduation have a definite employment commitment in a different state from the state of the institution that awarded the doctoral degree. This report focuses on interstate mobility of U.S. citizens and permanent residents with definite employment commitments in the United States.

Net inflows or outflows of doctorate recipients. An index measuring the increase or decrease in the number of U.S. doctorate recipients working in a state over a period of time, relative to the size of the doctorate recipient cohort in that state during that time. The measure is calculated as follows: Over the past 10 years [(total number of doctorates awarded in that state minus recipients who accepted a job in a different state plus those whose job commitments brought them into the state) divided by total number of doctorates awarded in that state] multiplied by 100. In this measure, interstate mobility could include taking a job in a different state but continuing to live in the state of their doctoral institution.

Non-S&E. Non-science and engineering: A grouping of broad fields of study that includes education, humanities and arts, and other non-S&E fields, such as business.

Parental educational attainment. The highest level of education attained by either parent of a doctorate recipient.

Postdoc position. As defined on the questionnaire form, a temporary position primarily for gaining additional education and training in research, usually awarded in academe, industry, government, or a nonprofit organization.

Postdoc rate. The proportion of doctorate recipients who have definite commitments for a postdoc position among all doctorate recipients with definite commitments in the coming year, who reported whether their commitment was for postdoc study or other employment, and who plan to live in the United States.

Race and ethnicity. Doctorate recipients who report Hispanic or Latino heritage, regardless of racial designation, are counted as Hispanic or Latino, and as of 2013, those who do not answer the Hispanic or Latino ethnicity question are counted as “ethnicity not reported.” Respondents who indicate that they are not Hispanic or Latino and indicate a single race are reported in their respective racial groups, except for those indicating Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, who are included in “other race or race not reported.” Beginning in 2001, respondents who are not Hispanic or Latino and who indicate more than one race are reported in the category “more than one race.” Data for this category were not collected before 2001. Before 2001, respondents who are not Hispanic or Latino and who indicate more than one race were categorized as “other or unknown.” For 2001 and later data, the “other or unknown” category includes doctorate recipients who indicated that they were not Hispanic or Latino and either did not respond to the race item or reported their race as Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander. For 2000 and earlier data, Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders are counted in the Asian group.

Research doctorate. A doctoral degree that is oriented toward preparing students to make original intellectual contributions in a field of study and that is not primarily intended for the practice of a profession. Research doctorates require the completion of a dissertation or equivalent project. In this report, the terms “doctorate” and “doctoral degree” are used to represent any of the research doctoral degrees covered by the survey. Professional doctorates, such as the MD, DDS, JD, and PsyD, are not covered by the Survey of Earned Doctorates.

S&E. Science and engineering: A grouping of broad fields of study that includes science (life sciences, physical sciences and earth sciences, mathematics and computer sciences, psychology and social sciences) and engineering fields.

Sources of financial support. Sources of financial support are grouped into the following five categories: fellowships (includes scholarships and grants); teaching assistantships; research assistantships (includes traineeships, internships, clinical residencies, and other assistantships); own resources (includes loans, personal savings, personal earnings, and earnings or savings of spouse, partner, or family); and other (includes employer reimbursements and support from non-U.S. sources).

State stay rates. The rate of doctorate recipients whose definite commitment for employment immediately after graduation is in the same state as the institution that awarded the degree.

Time to degree. The median time elapsed from the start of any graduate school program to completion of the doctoral degree. In addition to this measure, two other measures of time to degree are also reported in the data tables: median time elapsed from completion of the bachelor’s degree to completion of the doctorate, and median time elapsed from the start of the doctoral program.

Underrepresented minority. The following groups are underrepresented in science and engineering, relative to their numbers in the U.S. population: American Indian or Alaska Native, black or African American, and Hispanic or Latino.