Preliminary data from the National Science Foundation shows that in 2010, 2,002 doctorates were awarded at U.S. universities to Blacks or African Americans. This is down from 2,231 in 2009. This is a decrease of slightly more than 10 percent.
Part of the decline is the result of a reclassification of earned doctorates in the field of education. In 2010, educational doctorate programs at 77 universities were reclassified from research doctorates to professional doctorates. Beginning with 2010, the National Science Foundation’s Survey of Earned Doctorates will not include doctorates from the reclassified Ed.D. programs. In past years, about 35-40 percent of all doctorates awarded to African Americans were in the field of education. So, undoubtedly, some of the decrease in Black doctorates in this year’s survey is the result of the reclassification.
But not all the drop can be attributed to the reclassification of some educational doctorate programs. In 2010, there were 903 doctorates awarded to Blacks in science and engineering disciplines. This was down from 951 in 2009. This is a decrease of slightly more than 5 percent.