Report on Trends in Degrees Awarded in the Social Sciences

The Trends in Degrees Awarded in the Social Sciences: 1949-2016 report analyzes the long-term trends in bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees conferred in political science and other social sciences in the United States.

Notable findings include:

  • 2015-16 represented the fifth consecutive year that the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded in political science declined, and it also represented the fourth year that average social science bachelor’s degrees declined overall. Political science as a proportion of all bachelor’s degrees conferred in the social sciences declined for the fifth consecutive year.
  • The number of master’s degrees awarded has declined over the past four academic years. The proportion of master’s degrees conferred in all social science fields, including political science, declined from 2014-15 to 2015- 16 and reached the lowest level recorded since 1970-71 for both political science and sociology.
  • The total number of doctoral degrees conferred in political science declined from 2014-15 to 2015-16, however the overall trend is upward since records began in 1949-50. As a proportion of all degrees awarded, average social science doctoral degrees have experienced decline since 1970-71 but remained relatively stable over the past few years.

For more information on APSA’s research program and to view other reports, visit the Data on the Profession page.

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