Survey of Doctorate Recipients

The Survey of Doctorate Recipients (SDR) is sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The SDR is a survey of science, engineering, and health doctorate recipients who earned their degrees from institutions within the United States. This study is the only comprehensive source of data on the careers of science, engineering, and health doctorate holders from U.S. institutions, and it provides key data on the education and training, work experience, career development, and demographics of this important population. Data collection activities for the 2017 SDR have been contracted to NORC.

The SDR sample is selected from the Doctorate Records File (DRF), a record of all research doctorate recipients from U.S. universities since 1920. The DRF is updated annually based on data collected by the Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED), sponsored by the NSF, the NIH, and four other federal agencies. From 1997 through 2016, data collection activities for SED were contracted to NORC. 

The SDR employs a trimodal data collection approach, collecting data using a self-administered online questionnaire, self-administered paper questionnaire (via mail), and computer assisted telephone interview (CATI). Published data products for each round of the SDR include Information Briefs and Detailed Statistical Tables. As of the 2010 cycle, the SDR provides estimates for the doctorate population residing in the U.S. and abroad.

NORC will start data collection for the 2017 SDR cycle in June 2017.

More information about the SDR is here: SDR Website for Participantsextlink

For questions about participating, please email the SDR Study Staff: SDR@norc.uchicago.edu or call 1-800-685-1663.

Recent Publications

Kahn, S. and Ginther, D. (2017). The impact of postdoctoral training on early careers in biomedicine. Nature Biotechnology, 35, 90–94.  Available at: http://www.nature.com/nbt/journal/v35/n1/full/nbt.3766.htmlextlink

Yin, S. (2017, December 17). Ranks of scientists aging faster than other workers. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/17/science/ranks-of-scientists-aging-faster-than-other-workers.html?_r=1extlink

Balsmeier, B. and Pellens, M. (2016). How much does it cost to be a scientist? Journal of Technology Transfer, 41(3), 469-505. Available at: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10961-014-9388-1extlink

Blau, D. M., & Weinberg, B. A. (2016). Why the U.S. science and engineering workforce is aging rapidly. PNAS, 114(5), 3879–3884. Available at: http://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1611748114extlink

Garrison, H., Justement, L. and Gerbi, S. (2016). Biomedical science postdocs: An end to the era of expansion. FASEB Journal, 30. Available at: http://www.fasebj.org/content/30/1/41.shortextlink

Hale, K. and Hamilton, K. (2016). Trends in the relationship between U.S. academic scientific publication output and funding and personnel inputs: 1988-2011. Working Papers, NCSES 16-200. Arlington, VA: National Science Foundation, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics. Available at: https://www.nsf.gov/statistics/2016/ncses16200/ncses16200.pdfextlink

National Science Foundation. (2016). Science and engineering indicators, NSF NSB-2016-1. Arlington, VA: National Science Foundation, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics. Available at: https://www.nsf.gov/statistics/2016/nsb20161/#/extlink

Proudfoot, S. and Hoffer, T. (2016). Science and engineering labor force in the U.S. In L. Gokhberg, N. Shmatko, and L. Auriol (Eds.), The Science and technology labor force (pp. 77-119). Springer International Publishing. Available at: http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-27210-8_5extlink

Waaijer, C. J., Macaluso, B., Sugimoto, C. R., and Larivière, V. (2016). Stability and longevity in the publication careers of U.S. doctorate recipients. PLOS ONE, 11(4), e0154741. Available at: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0154741extlink

West, B.T., Sakshaug, J.W., and Aurelien, G. A. S. (2016). How big of a problem is analytic error in secondary analyses of survey data? PLOS ONE, 11(6). Available at: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0158120extlink

Blume-Kohout, M. (2015). Gender, values, priorities and satisfaction in STEM occupations. Paper presented in the panel “Gender in the workplace,” Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management 2015 Fall Conference, Session 6231, Washington, DC.  Summary available at:
https://appam.confex.com/appam/2015/webprogram/Paper14684.htmlextlink

Campbell, T. A. (2015). Career pathways in a knowledge-based economy: Earnings inequality among science and engineering doctorate recipients. Available at: https://uta-ir.tdl.org/uta-ir/handle/10106/25003extlink

Fisch, C. O., Hassel, T. M., Sandner, P. G., and Block, J. H. (2015). University patenting: A comparison of 300 leading universities worldwide. The Journal of Technology Transfer, 40(2), 318-345. Available at: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10961-014-9355-xextlink

Khan, S. and Ginther, D. (2015). Good moves: Gender and race differences in academic mobility in the sciences and social sciences. Paper presented in the panel “Factors in STEM workforce occupational choices,” Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management 2015 Fall Conference, Session 5745, Washington, DC.  Summary available at: https://appam.confex.com/appam/2015/webprogram/Paper14678.htmlextlinkextlink

Miller, D. I. and Wai, J. (2015). The bachelor’s to Ph. D. STEM pipeline no longer leaks more women than men: a 30-year analysis. Frontiers in psychology, 6 (37), 1-10. Available at: http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00037/fullextlink

National Science Foundation. (2015). Women, minorities, and persons with disabilities in science and engineering, NSF 15-311. Arlington, VA: National Science Foundation, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics. Available at: https://www.nsf.gov/statistics/2015/nsf15311/digest/nsf15311-digest.pdfextlink

Webber, K. L. and Canché, M. G. (2015). Not equal for all: Gender and race differences in salary for doctoral degree recipients. Research in Higher Education, 56(7), 645-672. Available at: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11162-015-9369-8extlink

Yang, L. and Webber, K. L. (2015). A decade beyond the doctorate: The influence of a U.S. postdoctoral appointment on faculty career, productivity, and salary. Higher Education, 70(4), 667-687. Available at: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10734-015-9860-3extlink

Blume-Kohout, M. (2014). Understanding the gender gap in stem fields entrepreneurship. SBA Small Business Research Summary, 424, 1-5. Available at: https://www.sba.gov/advocacy/understanding-gender-gap-stem-fields-entrepreneurshipextlink

Chang, W. and Milan, L. (2014). Employment decisions of U.S. and foreign doctoral graduates: A comparative study, NSF 15-302. Arlington, VA: National Science Foundation, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics. Available at: https://www.nsf.gov/statistics/2015/nsf15302/nsf15302.pdfextlink
Milesi, C., Selfa, L., and Milan, L. (2014). Unemployment among doctoral scientists and engineers increased but remained below the national average, NSF 14-310. Arlington, VA: National Science Foundation, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics. Available at: http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/infbrief/nsf14310/extlink

Selfa, L. and Proudfoot, S. (2014). Unemployment among doctoral scientists and engineers remained below the national average in 2013, NSF 14-317. Arlington, VA: National Science Foundation, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics. Available at: http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/infbrief/nsf14317/nsf14317.pdfextlink   


Turk-Bicakci, L., Berger, A., and Haxton, C. (2014). The nonacademic careers of stem phd holders. American Institutes for Research Broadening Participation in STEM Graduate Education Infobrief, April. Available at: http://www.air.org/sites/default/files/downloads/report/STEM%20nonacademic%20careers%20April14.pdfextlink

Carrillo, I. A. and Karr, A. F. (2013). Combining cohorts in longitudinal surveys. Survey Methodology, 39(1), 149-182. Available at: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/12-001-x/2013001/article/11828-eng.pdfextlink

Finamore, J., Foley, D., Lan, F., Milan, L., Proudfoot, S., Rivers, E., and Selfa, L. (2013). Employment and educational characteristics of scientists and engineers, NSF 13-311. Arlington, VA: National Science Foundation, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics. Available at: http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/infbrief/nsf13311/extlink 
 
Flaherty, C. (2013). Working Way Past 65. Inside Higher Ed. News, published online 17 June 2013.  Available at: https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/06/17/data-suggest-baby-boomer-faculty-are-putting-retirementextlink

Frehill, L. M., and Ivie, R. (2013). Increasing the Visibility of Women of Color in Academic Science and Engineering: Professional Society Data. New Directions for Higher Education, 2013(163), 7-21. Available at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/he.20061/abstractextlink  

Hopkins, A. L., Jawitz, J. W., McCarty, C., Goldman, A. and Basu, N. B. (2013). Disparities in publication patterns by gender, race and ethnicity based on a survey of a random sample of authors. Scientometrics, 96(2), 515-534. Available at: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11192-012-0893-4extlink

Mamiseishvili, K. (2013). Contributions of Foreign-Born Faculty to Doctoral Education and Research. New Directions for Higher Education, 2013(163), 89-98. Available at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/he.20068/abstract extlink

Mason, M. A., Wolfinger, N. H., and Goulden, M. (2013). Do babies matter?: Gender and family in the ivory tower. Rutgers University Press. Available at: https://www.rutgersuniversitypress.org/do-babies-matter/9780813560809extlink

Matchett, K. (Ed.). (2013). Seeking solutions: Maximizing american talent by advancing women of color in academia. Summary of a Conference. National Academies Press. Available at: https://www.nap.edu/read/18556/chapter/1extlink

Millar, M. (2013). Interdisciplinary research and the early career: The Effect of interdisciplinary dissertation research on career placement and publication productivity of doctoral graduates in the sciences. Research Policy, 42(5):1152-1164.  Available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048733313000401extlink

National Science Foundation. (2013). Biennial report series: Characteristics of doctoral scientists and engineers in the United States. Arlington, VA: National Science Foundation. Available at: https://www.nsf.gov/statistics/doctoratework/extlink

Sabharwal, M. (2013). Comparing research productivity across disciplines and career stages. Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis, 15(2):141-163. Available at: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13876988.2013.785149#previewextlink

Stephan, P., Franzoni, C., and Scellato, G. (2013). Choice of country by the foreign born for Ph.D. and postdoctoral study: A sixteen-country perspective (no. w18809). National Bureau of Economic Research. Available at: http://www.nber.org/papers/w18809extlink

Webber, K. L. (2013). Cultivating the future of graduate education: Factors contributing to salary for recent doctorate degree recipients. Planning for Higher Education, 41(4), 102. Available at: http://search.proquest.com/openview/056fb835c0bf2566df671a3450971773/1?pq-origsite=gscholarextlink

Astebro, T., Bazzazian, N., and Braguinsky, S. (2012). Startups by recent university graduates and their faculty: Implications for university entrepreneurship policy. Research Policy, 41(4), 663-677. Available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048733312000066extlink

Beaudry, C. and Allaoui, S. (2012). Impact of public and private research funding on scientific production: The case of nanotechnology. Research Policy, 41(9), 1589-1606. Available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048733312000832extlink

Chang, W. and Milan, L. (2012). International mobility and employment characteristics among recent recipients of U.S. doctorates, NSF 13-300. Arlington, VA: National Science Foundation, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics. Available at: http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/infbrief/nsf13300/extlink

Ginther, D. K. and Kahn, S. (2012). Education and academic career outcomes for women of color in science and engineering. In conference for the Committee on Women in Science, Engineering, and Medicine, Washington, DC. Available at: http://people.ku.edu/~dginther/Ginther_Kahn_WomenofColor.pdfextlink

Hunt, J., Garant, J. P., Herman, H. and Munroe, D. J. (2012). Why don't women patent? (no. w17888). National Bureau of Economic Research. Available at: http://www.nber.org/papers/w17888extlink

Litan, R. E., Wyckoff, A. W., and Fealing, K. H. (Eds.). (2012). Improving measures of science, technology, and innovation: Interim report. National Academies Press. Available at: http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.469.9709&rep=rep1&type=pdfextlink

Milan, L., and Hoffer, T. (2012). Racial and ethnic diversity among U.S.-educated science, engineering, and health doctorate recipients: Methods of reporting diversity, NSF 12-304. Arlington, VA: National Science Foundation, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics. Available at: http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/infbrief/nsf12304/extlink

Milesi, C., Hoffer, T. B., and Milan, L. (2012, January). Science and engineering doctorate recipients as adjunct faculty: New findings from the survey of doctorate recipients. Presented American Educational Research Association. Available at: http://www.norc.org/PDFs/AERA%20Annual%20Meeting/AERA%20poster%20NORC%20final.pdf

OECD/UNESCO (2012, December). OECD/UNESCO Institute for Statistics/Eurostat Careers of Doctorate Holders (CDH) Project. Presented at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Brussels, Belgium. Available at:
http://www.oecd.org/innovation/inno/oecdunescoinstituteforstatisticseurostatcareersofdoctorateholderscdhproject.htmextlink  

Sharpe, R., and Swinton, O. (2012). Beyond anecdotes: A quantitative examination of black women in academe. The Review of Black Political Economy, published online 28 July 2012. Available at: http://www.springerlink.com/content/t77k5r127g87105p/?MUD=MPextlink

Amsen, E. (2011). Leaving the lab: Career development for developmental biologists. Development, 138(10):4107-4109. Available at: http://dev.biologists.org/content/138/19/4107.full.pdf+htmlextlink 
 
Burelli, J. (2011). Academic institutions of minority faculty with science, engineering, and health doctorates, NSF 11-320. Arlington, VA: National Science Foundation, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics. Available at: http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/infbrief/nsf11320/extlink 
 
Goulden, M., Mason, M., and Frasch, K. (2011). Keeping women in the science pipeline. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 638(1):141-62. Available at: http://ann.sagepub.com/content/638/1/141.abstractextlink  

Hoffer, T., Milesi, C., Selfa, L., Grigorian, K., Foley, D., Milan, L., and Rivers, E. (2011). Unemployment among doctoral scientists and engineers remained below the national average in 2008, NSF 11-308. Arlington, VA: National Science Foundation, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics. Available at: http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/infbrief/nsf11308/extlink

Hoffer, T., Sederstrom, S., and Harper, D. (2011). The end of mandatory retirement for doctoral scientists and engineers in postsecondary institutions: Retirement patterns 10 years later, NSF 11-302. Arlington, VA: National Science Foundation, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics. Available at: http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/infbrief/nsf11302/extlink 
 
Kim, D., Wolf-Wendel, L., and Twombly, S. (2011). International faculty: Experiences of academic life and productivity in U.S. universities. The Journal of Higher Education, 82(6):720-747. Available at: http://muse.jhu.edu/login?auth=0&type=summary&url=/journals/journal_of_higher_education/v082/82.6.kim.htmlextlink

Mamiseishvili, K. (2011). Characteristics, job satisfaction, and workplace perceptions of foreign-born faculty at public 2-year institutions. Community College Review, 39(1), 26-45. Available at: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0091552110394650extlink

Morrison, E., Rudd, E., and Nerad, M. (2011). Onto, up, off the academic faculty ladder: The gendered effects of family on career transitions for a cohort of social science Ph.Ds. The Review of Higher Education, 34(4):525-553. Available at: http://130.102.44.246/login?auth=0&type=summary&url=/journals/review_of_higher_education/v034/34.4.morrison.pdfextlink  

Whittington, K. (2011). Mothers of invention? Gender, motherhood, and new dimensions of productivity in the science profession. Work and Occupations, 38(3):417-456. Available at: http://academic.reed.edu/sociology/faculty/whittington/docs/Whittington_WorkandOccupations_2011.pdfextlink

Tong, Y. (2010). Place of education, gender disparity, and assimilation of immigrant scientists and engineers earnings. Social Science Research, 39(4):610–626. Available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0049089X10000098extlink  

Winkler, A., Levin, S., and Stephan, P. (2010). The diffusion of IT in higher education: publishing productivity of academic life scientists. Economics of Innovation and New Technology, 19(5):481-503. Available at: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10438590903434844extlink

Bender, K. A. and Heywood, J. S. (2009). Educational mismatch among Ph.D.'s.: Determinants and consequences. In R. B. Freeman and D. L. Goroff (Eds.), Science and engineering careers in the United States: An analysis of markets and employment (pp. 229-255). University of Chicago Press. Available at: http://www.nber.org/chapters/c11623.pdfextlink

Bound, J., Turner, S., and Walsh, P. (2009). Internationalization of U.S. Doctorate Education. In Freeman, R. and Goroff, E. (Eds.), Science and engineering careers in the United States: An analysis of markets and employment (pp. 59-97). University of Chicago Press. Available at: http://www.nber.org/chapters/c11618extlink

Ding, W. W., Levin, S. G., Stephan, P. E., and Winkler, A. E. (2009). The impact of information technology on scientists' productivity, quality and collaboration patterns (no. w15285). National Bureau of Economic Research. Available at: http://www.nber.org/papers/w15285extlink

Ginther, D. et al. (2009). Diversity in academic biomedicine: An evaluation of education and career outcomes with implications for policy. Research Policy, 40(6), 853-863. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1677993extlink  

Prasad, S. (2009). Task assignments and incentives: Generalists versus specialists. The RAND Journal of Economics, 40(2):380-403. Available at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1756-2171.2009.00070.x/abstractextlink  

Sabharwal, M. (2009). Job satisfaction patterns of scientists and engineers by status of birth. Research Policy 40(2009):853-863, Available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048733311000552extlink

Wolfinger, N., Mason, M., and Goulden, M. (2009). Stay in the Game: Gender, Family Formation, and Alternative Trajectories in the Academic Life Course. Social Forces 87(3):1591-1621. Available at: http://sf.oxfordjournals.org/content/87/3/1591.shoextlink

Baldini, N. (2008). Negative effects of university patenting: Myths and grounded evidence. Scientometrics, 75(2), 289-311. Available at: http://www.akademiai.com/doi/abs/10.1007/s11192-007-1865-yextlink

Chen, Y. P. (2008). Ethnic and technical clustering: Native-born Americans versus foreign s&e graduates. Social Capital and Business Development in High-Technology Clusters. 73-104. Springer Us. Available at:
http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-0-387-71911-5_5/fulltext.htmlextlink

Wolfinger, N., M., Goulden, M. (2008).  Problems in the Pipeline: Gender, Marriage, and Fertility in the Ivory Tower.  The Journal of Higher Education. 79(4):388-405. doi: 10.1353/jhe.0.0015.  Available at: http://www.physics.emory.edu/faculty/weeks//journal/wolfinger.pdfextlink

Hoffer, T., Grigorian, K. and Hedberg, E. (2008). Postdoc participation of science, engineering,
and health doctorate recipients, NSF 08-307. Arlington, VA: National Science Foundation, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics. Available at: http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/infbrief/nsf08307/extlink

Recotillet, I. (2003). Availability and characteristics of surveys on the destination of doctorate recipients in OECD Countries. OECD Science, Technology and Industry Working Papers, No. 2003/09. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/245308553443extlink