Examining the Racial Gap in Graduate School Enrollments in the United States

A new report from the Council on Graduate Schools provides data on graduate school enrollments by racial and ethnic groups. The report shows that in 2018, there were 533,974 students enrolled in graduate schools for the first time. Of these 50,275 were African Americans. Thus, Blacks were 9.4 percent of all first-time enrollees in graduate programs.

Of the 50,275 African Americans who enrolled in graduate school for the first time, there were 15,223 men and 33,782 women. So, women made up more than two-thirds of all African Americans enrolled in graduate school for the first time.

If we break down the data by broad academic field, we find that Blacks made up 18 percent of all first-time graduate students in public administration and 13 percent of all first-time graduate students in education. But African Americans were just 4.3 percent of all first-time graduate students in the physical sciences and 5.9 percent of all first-time graduate school enrollments in engineering.

If we look at total enrollments in U.S. graduate schools, we find that in 2018, there were 1,869,845 students. Of these, 190,224, or 10.2 percent were African Americans. Women made up 69.5 percent of all African American graduate school enrollments.

In 2018, African Americans made up 6 percent or less of all graduate student enrollments in engineering, biological and agricultural sciences, arts and humanities, and physical sciences. African Americans were more than13 percent of all graduate students in education, business, social sciences, and public administration.

The full report, Graduate Enrollment and Degrees, 2008 to 2018, may be downloaded by clicking here.



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