Graduate Student Survey – Demographics and Fields of Study

demographicsContinuing the discussion of our recent Graduate Student Survey (for an overview see our introduction here) we have explored the demographics of our sample.

Predictably, our respondents are predominantly in their 20’s with an average age 27.5 years. However, both younger and more mature respondents are well represented, with nearly 10% of respondents aged 22 years or younger and 3.5% over the age of 40.

Female students make up 65% of our sample. This value is slightly above the national average where women make up almost 60% of students in any type of graduate program.

Sixty-five percent of our survey respondents are currently in doctoral degree programs. The other represented degree levels and the fraction of students from each level type are shown in the first figure. Annual surveys of current graduate students (e.g. by the CGS) consistently report doctoral students as making up only 25% of students in any type of graduate program, with the remaining 75% of students in master’s programs. The disparity between our results and the CGS data results from our sample being skewed towards universities with very high levels of research activity.

The survey respondents represent a variety of different academic fields as shown in the second figure. The “Other” category is comprised of the following academic fields: Architecture and Related Services, Communications, Legal Professions and Studies, Library Science, Military Technologies and Protective Services, Parks, Recreation, Leisure, and Fitness Studies, and Theology and Religious Vocations. Each of these disciplines were represented by 50 or fewer respondents.

Respondents to our survey represent students in all stages of the degree process, from those just beginning their program to advanced students in their 10th year. The fraction of respondents from each year are shown in the third figure.

Although limited in the number of universities represented, the survey sample may be generalized to represent the average graduate student, particularly those classified as very high and high research universities. With that established, we can now delve into more interesting and revealing data, stay tuned!



Check out the other articles on our current graduate student survey:

Survey of Current Graduate Students

Students Don’t Apply to Many Graduate Programs

Getting Into Grad School – How to Improve Your Chances

Are Grad Students Happy?

How to Choose the RIGHT Graduate School