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Records show higher female doctoral graduate rate

A study of graduate colleges across the nation found that for the first time in academic history more women than men are receiving Ph.D.s.

However, USF has already shown this nationwide trend for the past seven years.

According to a nationwide study published in September by the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS), doctoral degree growth increased by 6.3 percent among women – compared to a 1 percent increase among men – nationwide between the 2007-08 and 2008-09 academic school years.

About 1 percent of the U.S. population holds a doctoral degree, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

“Every year since the 2001-2002 year we have had more females graduate with doctoral degrees than males … except ‘05-06,” said Richard Pollenz, associate dean of the USF graduate school.

According to the USF InfoCenter Database, women hold nearly 53.5 percent of all research doctorates while men accounted for about 46 percent.

“It’s a … concern, though,” said Karen Liller, dean of the graduate school. “Just like we didn’t want men having all of the degrees in certain areas, I think also you want to make sure there’s an even playing field.” Pollenz said that, even though more women are graduating with Ph.D.s, some fields continue to be dominated by men.

“In contrast, if you look at engineering, it has always been male dominate with only 26 percent women (in the College of Engineering),” he said.

There has been an average growth of 4 percent in enrollment into graduate school by women since 1999 nationally, while the male population has grown 3 percent, Liller said. This may translate into an influx of women entering traditionally masculine fields.

“I would say within the … next decade or so you’ll see the numbers creep up to 30-40 percent (in the College of Engineering), and I think we’ll get some balance,” Liller said.

At USF’s Tampa campus, 62 percent of the graduates in graduate school are female and 38 percent male, according to the USF InfoCenter Database. In the graduate school, those receiving doctoral level degrees are 53.3 percent female.

Pollenz said the reason the number of women at USF outweighs the number of men resides in the colleges that are offered, with the same trend of 60 percent female and 40 percent male seen in graduate schools across America.

During the 2009-10 academic year, female doctoral enrollment for the Tampa campus outweighed men in colleges, including the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Education and College of Nursing.

Liller said the Office of the Provost requested that men be brought into these fields. A graduate recruitment fair will be held Nov. 8 in the Marshall Student Center to help attract students.

“Right now, we’re trying to recruit across the board,” Liller said. “If this trend gets worse, we can look at particular efforts (to recruit the minority gender).”

Despite the saturation of females in Ph.D.-related fields, census statistics released in September showed that women still earn about 77 cents to every dollar men make.

“Even though they get so many women in these fields, it’s important to know women still have to go in and do some negotiating (for better pay),” Liller said.