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Survey of Earned Doctorates

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The Daily

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Canadian universities awarded approximately 4,100 doctoral degrees to students between July 1, 2005 and June 30, 2006, according to the Survey of Earned Doctorates.

The survey was first administered in 2003/2004 to all students graduating from a doctoral program at a Canadian university, and is in its third edition.

The most popular field of study was in the biological sciences, followed by engineering, humanities, social sciences, psychology and education.

The average age of doctoral graduates at graduation was 35 years old, and they took an average of five years and nine months to complete.

The majority (69%) of students were married at the time they received their doctoral degree and 36% had dependent children.

Foreign or visa students accounted for 23% of graduates. This has remained unchanged since 2003/2004.

Overall, 7 out of 10 graduates stated that their primary source of funding during graduate school either came from fellowships, scholarships, research or teaching assistantships.

Almost half (49%) of all graduates said that they had no debt related to their undergraduate or graduate studies. Just over 1 in 10 (11%) only had debt from their undergraduate studies, 22% only had debt from their graduate studies and nearly 18% had debt from both their undergraduate and graduate studies.

In all, 7 out of 10 graduates stated having firm plans in the first year after graduation. Of those, about one-quarter said they would be returning or continuing in the same employment/position which they held prior to their doctorate, whereas the remainder said they had signed a contract or made a definite commitment for other work or study.

Approximately two-third of graduates with firm plans for employment for the coming year stated that they would be doing research and development (35%) or teaching (37%) as their primary work activity.

While students in the social sciences were most likely to have firm plans after graduation, those in the humanities were less likely to have firm plans.

Of all graduates with firm employment plans, two-thirds expected annual earnings above $55,000, with 86% of engineering students expecting such earnings compared with 45% of students in the humanities.

Overall, one in five graduates intended to move to another country after graduation. Of those intending to move, 45% were born in Canada versus 55% born outside of Canada, and 61% were men and 26% had dependents.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 3126.

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