Beki Grinter

Declines in C.S. Ph.D. production

In academia, computer science, discipline on April 1, 2010 at 4:10 pm

A newish report from the Computing Research Association, described here, shows that while undergraduate enrollments are up 5.5%, Ph.D. production rates are lower

For the first time since the 2001-2002 academic year, PhD Production rates have declined 6.9 percent in all computing-related study areas, and 7.8 percent in computer science.

The summary goes on to say

The statistic may also reflect an unwilligness to enter the ravaged job market. Total enrollment in PhD Programs has remained the same, though the percentage of new doctoral students from outside North America has gone up to 59.1 percent, compared to 54 percent last year.

PhD graduates have specialized more in security and architecture and less in databases, software engineering, and theory. Only 47.1 percent of 2009 graduates entered industry, compared to 2008’s 56.6 percent. The report’s authors suggest that this is a product of the new NSF Computing Innovation Fellows program, which provided more opportunities for postdoctoral studies in the academic world.

I wonder whether the CI Fellows program is being offered this year, and what will happen if it isn’t. These figures certainly reflect the economic times, but I wonder whether they reflect anything else. Only time will tell.

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