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Commission on the Future of Graduate Education in the U.S. Releases Report

May 11, 2010 – The Commission on the Future of Graduate Education in the United States recently released the report, The Path Forward: The Future of Graduate Education in the United States. The report maintains that graduate education is key to U.S. global competitiveness, but the current system is vulnerable to losing ground as a world leader in education and research if a national strategy to increase degree completion and broaden participation is not adopted. The report also includes recommendations for universities, industry, and government to ensure that graduate school is a viable option for a growing number of U.S. citizens. Findings include:

  • The number of U.S. jobs requiring a graduate degree is estimated to grow by 2.5 million by 2018 (including a 17% increase in those requiring a PhD).
  • Projected population changes will greatly affect the potential applicant pool for graduate schools.
  • In many science fields, domestic students comprise less than half of graduate enrollment.
  • There is growing international competition for the world’s top talent. Europe and China have begun to outpace the U.S. in the number of PhDs they grant, especially in science.

Among other recommendations, the CGS report calls for the National Endowment for the Humanities to undertake a study of the role of the humanities in the 21st century economy.  According to the report, "Much of the policy on enhancing innovation and competitiveness has focused on STEM fields, but awareness of the role of the humanities in our national culture is increasing, including its impact on ethics and values, vitality, and competitiveness … The role of graduate education in preparing future scholars and leaders in the humanities should be explored as part of the larger focus on national needs in areas such as language and culture."

The commission guiding the report included eighteen university and industry leaders brought together to examine the role of graduate education in sustaining and enhancing U.S. innovation and competitiveness in the 21st century global economy. The commission is a joint effort between the Council of Graduate Schools and Educational Testing Service.

Additional information about the report is available here.

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