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Data Source:   NSF-NIH Survey of Graduate Students & Postdoctorates in Science and Engineering
The National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) Survey of Graduate Students and Postdoctorates in Science and Engineering (GSS) which is conducted annually by the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES).

Kelly Kang
Project Officer, Survey of Earned Doctorates
National Science Foundation
Directorate for Social, Behavioral & Economic Sciences
National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics
2415 Eisenhower Avenue, Room 14215
Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone: (703) 292-7796
Fax: (703) 292-9092

Source data and documentation are available from the NCSES GSS website.
The GSS is an annual survey that collects information about graduate student enrollment, postdoctoral researchers, and doctorate-holding nonfaculty researchers in science, engineering, and selected health (SEH) fields as of the fall semester of each academic year.

Unlike the other university surveys conducted by NCSES, the data from the GSS are collected at a departmental or unit level. In fall 2015, for example, data were collected from 15,202 departments or organizational units at 412 SEH doctorate-granting institutions and 299 SEH master's-granting institutions. For more information on the survey, see the NCSES GSS website.

Data are available for fall 1972-2015. Fall 2015 is in the 2015-16 academic year.
Current As Of
Data are current as of February 2017.
Population Size and Structure
In 2014, the survey frame was updated following a comprehensive frame evaluation study. A total of 151 newly eligible institutions were added, and two private for-profit institutions that offer predominantly practitioner-oriented degree programs were removed as ineligible. Of the 1,275 new units added in 2014, 791 units were from extant institutions and 484 units were from new institutions. This frame update added a net total of 14,722 students in science, engineering and health, an increase of 2.5% over the previous frame. For more information, see the special report Assessing the Impact of Frame Changes on Trend Data from the Survey of Graduate Students and Postdoctorates in Science and Engineering at

In 2010, the postdoc section of the survey was expanded, and significant effort was made to ensure that appropriate personnel were providing postdoc data (see appendix A for more information). These changes led to a significant increases in the number of postdocs and NFRs reported in 2010. Thus, it is unclear how much of the increases in 2010 and later years over 2009 and prior years are from growth in postdoctoral appointments and how much are from improved data collection. More information on the changes to the postdoc data collection is available at

In 2007, the taxonomy of research-oriented SEH fields was reviewed and revised. Several fields were reclassified, new fields were added, and some fields were determined to be ineligible. A similar but much less extensive revision to the taxonomy was implemented in 2011 to better align the GSS fields with the Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP 2010).

Data Limitations
Changes to the taxonomy of disciplines implemented in 2007 and to the institutional frame in 2014 both disrupted the GSS trend data. Caution should be used when comparing data prior to and after these trend breaks. To assist with trend analyses, NSF developed two versions of the 2007 and 2014 data. The 2007new and 2014new data report the data as collected in those years from all eligible units. The 2007old and 2014old data provide trend estimates that are comparable to the prior year's data.
CIP codes to GSS academic discipline codes
NSF discipline codes to WebCASPAR academic discipline codes
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