Academic Disciplines Where African Americans Earned No Doctoral Degrees in 2014

nsf1The National Science Foundation recently released its annual report on doctoral degree recipients in the United States. The annual Survey of Earned Doctorates reports that universities in the United States conferred 54,070 doctorates in 2014. Of these, 2,167, or 4 percent, were earned by African Americans. African Americans earned 6.4 percent of all doctoral degrees awarded to U.S. students.

But Blacks are vastly underrepresented among doctoral degree recipients in some disciplines. For example, African Americans earned only 1.8 percent of all doctorates awarded in the physical sciences. Blacks earned 2 percent of all mathematics doctorates and only 1.7 percent of all doctorates awarded in engineering disciplines.

In 2014, 1,268 doctorates were awarded by universities in the United States in the fields of fisheries science, forest biology, soil chemistry, wildlife and range management, zoology, geology, paleontology, geometry, applied physics, physical and biological anthropology, structural engineering, German, Latin American studies, Asian history, speech and rhetorical studies, and archaeology.

Not one was earned by an African American.

JBHE has published a similar list of fields where no African Americans have earned doctorates for many years. The good news is that the number of academic fields where there have no Black doctoral awards is growing smaller. Unlike many prior years, there are some African Americans who have earned doctorates in astronomy, most physics disciplines, most chemistry disciplines, and many engineering fields. The racial gap in doctoral awards in STEM fields remains large, but progress is being made. albeit at a very slow rate.

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  1. it’s happening because K-12 public education is deliberately subpar in the united states, so black and poor people (who use public schools) are underserved and underprepared for college-level work in most disciplines, but especially math-based science majors.

    to answer the “where” question: it’s happening in EVERY STATE IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!

  2. If we leave the education of black children to schools; then we must not be surprised if they continue to underachieve.

    The Caribbean community in England; over 50 years ago, decided to use SATURDAY SCHOOLS, in Church halls and Community Centers to teach, tutor, mentor and motivate black children in the 3 Rs and more.

    In 1981, only 5% of British Caribbean students were achieving at the required pass grade at the end of their secondary education.

    Today that number is 55%. I have formed and managed 6 Saturday schools over the past 42 years. I am truly amazed at the progress and achievements of black students who attended them regularly.

    One of my Saturday school students was one of the winners of the prestigious Fulbright Scholarships for literature. The school put her in the bottom class. The Saturday School tutored and mentored her to the TOP. She will be awarded her PHD in a few months time!

    I designed and delivered a GIFTED & TALENTED for 13 students in 1999-2000 academic year. Three of them are now medical doctors and another two are PHDs. One of the PHDs in English literature is now a university professor. She has recently been selected in a competitive field of all the top British academics to make TV and radio programs and other things for the next five years.


    African-Americans MUST use their Churches and Family Centers to teach black boys and girls and young adults reading, writing, Math and Science, as well as GIFTED & TALENTED classes.

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