Racial Differences in Time Span to Earn a Doctoral Degree

nsf1New data from the National Science Foundation shows that for African Americans who earned doctoral degrees in 2012, the average number of years that they spent from the time they graduated from college to the time they earned their doctorate was 11.9 years. For Whites, the average time span from bachelor’s degree to doctorate was 9 years. In all probability, financial factors have some bearing on the racial gap.

African Americans actually took less time, on average, than White Americans to earn doctorates in education. In the humanities the racial gap was very small.

African Americans took an average of 8.3 years from bachelor’s degree to doctorate in physical science disciplines. This was the shortest time to a doctorate for African Americans in any major discipline. In contrast, for those African Americans who earned doctorates in education, the average time span was 15.3 years.


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  1. Mr. Abayomi Manrique says:

    Greetings and thanks for this information. I feel I am a victim of the structural mismanagement of Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta. I completed all of my course work and because of the insensitivity to a variety of management problems by professors in my department and the university’s inability to rectify those problems, I was unable to complete my degree. I am not the only student at this institution who has suffered this fate. Surely, experiences such as mine have a significant impact on students’ ability to complete their program at HBCUs. Do you have any statistics on the rate of HBCU students who have not completed their degree because of experiences similar to mine? Thank you.

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