The 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.