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Analysis Variable:   Number of Postdoctorates (Support Patterns)
This variable is the number of postdoctorates in GSS-eligible science, engineering, and health (SEH) units in the fall of the data collection year. Breakdowns of these data are available by: academic institution, state, Carnegie classification, type-of-control (public or private), discipline, highest degree granted (unit and/or institution level), source of support, and mechanism of support.
Postdoctorates include individuals with SEH degrees as Ph.D.'s, M.D.'s, D.D.S.'s, or D.V.M.'s (including foreign degrees equivalent to U.S. doctorates) who devote their primary effort to their own research training through research activities or study in the department under temporary appointments carrying no academic rank. These individuals may contribute to the academic program through seminars, lectures, or working with graduate students. Such postdoctorates may have different titles at different institutions, e.g., "Postdoctoral Scholar," "Research Associate," "Postdoctoral Fellow," or "Postgraduate Researcher." Excluded are clinical fellows and those with appointments in residency training programs in medical and health professions, unless research training under the supervision of a senior mentor is the primary purpose of the appointment.
Data are available for fall 2010-present.
Please see the data source help for details on the population size and structure for each year.
Data Limitations
Data collection for postdoctoral appointees (postdocs) and other doctorate-holding nonfaculty researchers (NFRs) expanded considerably in 2010, and significant efforts made to ensure that appropriate personnel at the surveyed institutions were providing these data. Missing data within newly collected items were not imputed due to the lack of historical data. All postdoc and NFR data will be re-imputed following the 2012 cycle. More information on changes to the postdoc data will be available in a forthcoming InfoBrief at
Quality Control
These data have been checked and verified to correspond to data in the following NSF publication:
Graduate Students and Postdoctorates in Science and Engineering
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