Importance of Participation

Importance of participation

A high response rate among institutions and graduates is essential to the statistical integrity of the data. High-quality data ensure that analyses and policy decisions are based on all research doctorate recipients. Further, participation in the SED ensures your institution’s doctorate recipients are represented in the Doctorate Records File, a data bank on U.S. doctorate recipients reaching back to 1920.

Data from the SED can be used by institutions to compare their graduates with national statistics. Using recent data, researchers have learned:

  1. Overall, 46% of all doctorates in 2020 were awarded to women. Since 2002, women have earned just over half of all research doctorates awarded to U.S. citizens and permanent residents and more than 30% of research doctorates awarded to temporary visa holders.
  2. In 2020, the proportion of research doctorate recipients in mathematics and computer sciences and in psychology and social sciences who had definite commitments reached their highest points in the past 20 years (76% in each field).3 Non-science and engineering (non-S&E) fields similarly have recovered from lows in 2014–16.
  3. In 2020, 44% of U.S. citizens and permanent residents with definite postgraduation commitments for employment in the United States had committed to jobs in academia (down from 51% in 2000), and 30% were planning on working in industry or business (up from 21% in 2000).5 Among their temporary visa holder counterparts, 67% had lined up jobs in industry or business (up from 58% in 2000), and 28% had commitments in academia (down from 34% in 2000).
Benefits of participation

The results of this annual survey provide an objective basis for policy decisions that aim to improve our system of doctoral education. Maintaining a high response rate is essential to the statistical integrity of the SED data and, thus, to the legitimacy of the policy decisions that rely on these data. Consequently, the SED project team works closely with each Graduate School Dean and their staff to help them distribute and collect the SED in ways that facilitate student cooperation without creating undue burden.

In addition to contributing to an accurate and complete data resource, participation in the SED gains your institution access to an institution profile (containing summary information) and an institution dataset.