Survey data shows doctorate degrees increased by 28 percent in 2016 compared to 2015
Sep 20, 2017
OAK RIDGE, Tenn.—The number of undergraduate students who graduated in 2016 with bachelor’s degrees in health physics increased over 2015, as did the number of doctorate degrees, while the number of master’s degrees decreased. This is according to an annual survey conducted by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, which surveyed 23 health physics programs, representing such programs at the nation’s universities. The report, titled Health Physics Enrollments and Degrees Survey, 2016 Data, showed that a total of 145 bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees were granted between Sept. 1, 2015, and Aug. 31, 2016.
Table 1. Health Physics Degrees, 2006-2016
Source: Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education
Number of bachelor’s and doctorate degrees increase, while master’s degrees decline
According to the report, 56 students received bachelor’s degrees in health physics in 2016—14 percent higher than in 2015, but 16 percent lower than in 2014. The number of bachelor’s degrees awarded in 2016 is 21 percent below the number reported in 2006, but 70 percent higher than the low point reached in 2000, which represented the lowest number of bachelor’s degrees awarded in health physics since 1972.
The number of health physics master’s degrees awarded in 2016 was 21 percent lower than in 2015, 19 percent lower than in 2015, and 27 percent lower than the number of master’s degrees awarded in 2006.
The survey data showed that the number of doctorate degrees granted in 2016 increased significantly to 23—a 28 percent increase over 2015.
Graduate enrollment in health physics programs show declining trend
In 2016, the number of students enrolling in undergraduate health physics degree programs rose 18 percent over 2015, but decreased 5 percent from the level reported in 2014. The number of students enrolling in graduate health physics degree programs fell 22 percent lower than in 2015 and 27 percent lower than in 2014. The undergraduate increase in 2016 indicates that the number of bachelor’s degrees is likely to remain at current levels in 2017 and 2018. For graduate programs, the number of students enrolling in advanced-degree programs is half the level reported in 2006. The enrollment trends indicate that the number of master’s degrees is likely to fall in 2017 and 2018, while the number of doctorate degrees is likely to also decrease from 2016 levels as well.
ORISE has collected and/or monitored data on enrollments and degrees in science and energy-related fields of study for DOE and other federal agencies since the mid-1970s. View the full report on 2016 data here: Health Physics Enrollments and Degrees Survey, 2016 Data.
The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) is a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) asset that is dedicated to enabling critical scientific, research, and health initiatives of the department and its laboratory system by providing world class expertise in STEM workforce development, scientific and technical reviews, and the evaluation of radiation exposure and environmental contamination.
ORISE is managed by ORAU, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation and federal contractor, for DOE’s Office of Science. The single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, the Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.osti.gov.