12 October 2017

Astronomy & Physics Enrollment & Degree Data as of 2016

Richard Fienberg, AAS Press Officer

This item comes from Patrick Mulvey, Statistical Research Center, American Institute of Physics (AIP):

Two new reports from the AIP Statistical Research Center's latest annual survey of enrollments and degrees contain the most current data for each degree-granting physics and/or astronomy department in the United States.

The physics bachelor's class of 2016 represents yet another all-time high. There were 8,432 bachelor's degrees conferred, an increase of 4% from the previous year and a 131% increase from the recent low in 1999. First-year graduate physics student enrollments have remained at about 3,200 students for the last 5 years. The number of physics PhDs conferred in the class of 2016 represented a 2% decline from the previous year, but degree production has been increasing in recent years, up 67% from 12 years earlier.

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The number of both astronomy bachelor's degrees and PhDs awarded in the class of 2016 represent all-time highs. Astronomy bachelors have been increasing steadily for the last 15 years, with 469 degrees awarded in the class of 2016. With undergraduate astronomy enrollments continuing to grow, the trend is expected to continue for at least the next couple of years. The 41 PhD-granting astronomy departments conferred 170 astronomy PhDs in the class of 2016. There were 250 first-year students enrolling in US astronomy graduate programs in the fall of 2016.

For more information, see the full reports: