November 6, 2011

Bachelors Degrees Conferred by Field of Study 1970 to 2008

Recently My Money Blog wrote an article Supply and Demand: Technical vs. Humanities College Majors
in which they showed a chart that compared the number of degrees in specific technical fields versus certain humanities and social sciences.    The chart showed the computer science, chemical engineering, psychology, communications/journalism and visual/performing arts degrees earned in 1985 versus 2009.

I thought it would be interesting to see the % of degrees awarded in the broader areas over time.  


The Dept. of Education has data on college degrees.  For the chart below I got the data from the table titled : "Bachelor's degrees conferred by degree-granting institutions, by race/ethnicity and sex of student: Selected years, 1976-77 through 2008-09"
 



The chart shows the % of total degrees that each general area gets.



Here are select years shown in table format :



1970 1980 1990 2000 2008
Humanities 17.1% 14.4% 15.8% 17.3% 17.5%
Social & behavioral sci 23.0% 15.1% 16.8% 16.2% 16.4%
Natural sci 9.8% 8.3% 6.4% 7.1% 7.4%
Computer sci and engineering 6.3% 9.7% 9.6% 9.4% 7.7%
Education 21.0% 11.6% 10.1% 8.5% 6.4%
Business 13.7% 21.4% 22.8% 21.2% 21.7%
Other fields 9.1% 19.5% 18.6% 20.3% 22.9%

The change in % from 1970 to 2008 for each major area :


Humanities 0.4%
Social & behavioral sci -6.6%
Natural sci -2.3%
Computer sci and engineering 1.4%
Education -14.6%
Business 8.0%
Other fields 13.8%

I'm sure there are various reasons for the changes in which areas people get degrees.  


I've written previous similar articles on What Majors Graduates Get Bachelors Degrees in and the Most Common Degrees Obained by Gender


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