The Great American Post-Graduate Academic Field Diaspora

US masters and doctoral degrees, 2013

Most people are surprised to learn just how many graduate degrees are awarded each year. The simplest way to remember it is that for every 2 undergraduate degrees earned, another 1 graduate degree is awarded by US colleges and universities.  And there are a bit over 4 masters degrees produced for every doctorate.

Then things get pretty complicated.  Students attend graduate programs to specialize in a given field at a depth that undergraduate programs can’t really deliver.  Collectively, they specialize in a LOT of areas.  Thousands of academic fields.

We’ve been messing around with ways to visualize the great diaspora of students into this incredibly diverse and rich landscape of graduate academic programming.  Here it is.  The size of the circles reflects the number of degrees awarded, in 2012, in that given academic specialty.  The color represents the level of degree awarded, either masters or doctorate.

The image above is static, whereas the visualization below offers a more dynamic way to see the fields and the numbers of degrees awarded in them.  Scroll over the circles to see what degrees they represent and how many were earned in 2012.

A feature of Gradschoolmatch is that we’re built in a way that truly recognizes all of this academic diversity. A benefit is we make it easy for students and programs with common interests, in all of these areas of study, to connect.


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Thought Article: Models Used in Biomedical Research

Daniel Engber has written a provocative article for Slate that challenges the usefulness of the ubiquitous mouse model:

That is to say, we’ve arrived at something like a monoculture in biomedicine. The great majority of how we understand disease, and attempt to cure it, derives from a couple of rodents, selected—for reasons that can seem somewhat arbitrary in retrospect—from all the thousands of other mammals, tens of thousands of other vertebrates, and millions of other animal species known to walk or swim or slither the Earth. We’ve taken the mouse and the rat out of their more natural habitats, from fields and barns and sewers, and refashioned them into the ultimate proxy for ourselves—a creature tailored to, and tailored by, the university basement and the corporate research park.


The Humanities Are NOT A Dead End

The best reason to go to grad school has always been to pursue a subject of interest with deep passion. Accomplish that successfully and everything else should fall into its proper place. This applies, especially, to the oft maligned humanities:

Evidence is plentiful that stressing the range of expertise humanities graduates have makes intellectual and economic sense. Take, for example, Damon Horowitz, director of engineering at Google. He insisted recently in an article in The Chronicle of Higher Educationentitled “From Technologist to Philosopher: Why You Should Quit Your Technology Job and Get a Ph.D. in the Humanities,” that “if you are worried about your career … getting a humanities Ph.D. is not only not a danger to your employability, it is quite the opposite. I believe there no surer path to leaping dramatically forward in your career than to earn a Ph.D. in the humanities.” “You go into the humanities to pursue your intellectual passion,” he explains, “and it just so happens, as a byproduct, that you emerge as a desired commodity for industry.”