Latest National Graduate Enrollment Data Now Available

Becky Morehouse

Becky Morehouse

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This month the CGS/GRE Survey of Graduate Enrollment and Degrees released the comprehensive report of its findings regarding graduate school applications, enrollments, and degrees conferred. They’ve been doing the study every year since 1986. The 2012 survey was sent to nearly 800 colleges and universities and they had an excellent response rate of 86%.

There are more than 80 pages of data, tables, and findings—so there is plenty of digging to be done. In the meantime, I pulled a few interesting tidbits to whet your appetite.

  • The average acceptance rate for grad schools is 39.6%—with higher acceptance rates for master’s and certificate programs than doctoral. In fall 2012, the greatest number of applications were for engineering, business, and social and behavioral sciences. Although those programs received the highest number of applications, the greatest average annual increases were in health sciences.
  • While full-time graduate enrollment increased by 1.8% between fall 2011 and fall 2012, total graduate enrollment fell 2.3% over the same time frame. Private, not-for-profit (1.2%) and public (1.9%) institutions had the smallest decreases, while private, for-profit enrollments fell 9.8%.
    • Gender: Down for both in 2012 from 2011—3.4% for women and 3.7% for men
    • Race/ethnicity: 2012 figures also down from 2011, for all but Hispanic (up 0.3%) students. Decreases for American Indians/Alaska Natives (5.4%), Whites (4.0%), Blacks/African Americans (2.8%), and Asians/Pacific Islanders (0.7%)
    • Fields: Between fall 2011 and fall 2012, decreased in six broad fields including “other fields”, education, social and behavioral sciences, arts and humanities, business, and biological and agricultural sciences
  • For degrees confirmed, the top doctoral degrees (about 40%) were in health sciences, engineering, and social and behavioral sciences. For master’s degrees, the big programs are education and business (also totaling more than 40%).
    • Gender: In 2012, women earned 60% of master’s degrees and 52% of doctorates (fourth consecutive year for women earning the majority of doctoral degrees)

This is a mere skimming of the surface. Please dive in for yourself at

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