Graduate and Professional Degree Attainment
for Students of Color
In a recent issue of Diverse, Victor M. H.
Borden and Pamela C. Brown analyzed preliminary data
from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data Set
collected by the U.S. Department of Education’s
National Center for Education Statistics. This data
is based upon graduate degrees awarded by accredited
institutions in the U.S. during the 2004–5 academic
Analysis of the data showed the following:
- Both the number and share of students of color who
earn graduate and professional degrees is increasing
(up to nearly 138,000 from 73,000 ten years ago, with
an increase from 15 percent to 21 percent of all degree
- Students from particular groups—African Americans,
Hispanics, and American Indians—are still less
likely than their peers to attain first professional
and doctoral degrees, particularly in the STEM fields
(science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).
- Achievement rates vary across disciplines according
to race/ethnicity (Asian Americans, for instance,
obtain engineering degrees in higher numbers than
other non-white ethnic groups; African Americans,
meanwhile, earn almost half of their doctoral degrees
The authors analyzed the data according to race/ethnicity,
type of degree earned, and discipline. Charts included
with the data analysis rank institutions by the total
number of graduates in 2004–5. They also detail
the number of male and female graduates, the percentage
of the graduating class indicated, and the percentage
change since the 2003–4 academic year.
For the full report, see “The Top 100: Interpreting
the Data,” by Victor M. H. Borden and Pamela C.
Brown, Diverse: Issues in Higher Education
23, no. 11 (July 13, 2006): 34–103.