Racial Shortfall in Degree Attainments in Science and Engineering

A new report from the Commission on Professionals in Science and Technology finds that African Americans continue to struggle to gain a foothold in science and engineering fields. The report finds that African Americans, who are 13 percent of the U.S. population, earn only 8 percent of the bachelor’s degrees in science and engineering fields. At the graduate level, the racial disparity is even greater. Blacks make up 6.3 percent of all students earning master’s degrees and 2.8 percent of all doctorates in the sciences and engineering.

The small number of blacks earning degrees in these fields is reflected in occupational statistics. The report finds that blacks make up less than 6 percent of all people employed as mechanical engineers, aerospace engineers, chemical engineers, industrial engineers, computer programmers, biologists, and psychologists.