Skip to main content

Medical, Law, and Dental Degrees, 1955-56 to 2013-14

You can look at a lot of places on this blog to find the story of women and the increases in educational attainment over time, but perhaps none is so compelling as this one.  It was very rare for women to have college degrees in the 1940's and 1950's, but even rarer to find doctors, lawyers, and dentists who were women.

As you'll see below, that all changed in the late 1960's and early 1970's.  What happened? It's probably a lot of things, but you could probably do worse than to point to birth control as a major contributing factor.

There are four views of the data from the Digest of Educational Statistics:

View 1 shows all degrees over time to men and women; the top via stacked bars, and the bottom using line charts.  The top chart shows the dramatic increase in degrees to women; the bottom shows that in 1955-56, almost all degrees (blue line) were awarded to men (purple line.)

View 2 shows the same data, presented a different way.  On the top chart, you see total degrees awarded, broken out by degree type.  Use the filter to limit the view to men or women.  On the bottom, degrees are awarded by percent of total: In the early 1960's, for instance, 99.62 percent of dental degrees were awarded to men.  By this decade, the totals had virtually evened out.

View 3 shows percentage change since 1955-56 for all degrees: Filter to law, dentistry, or medicine if  you wish.  Any way you look at the charts, the data are astonishing.  Especially interesting is dentistry, where there are actually fewer men graduating today than half a century ago.

And finally, View 4 shows institutions: There are now 70% more medical colleges, 60% more law schools, and 36% more dental schools than at the start of the analysis.  This latter number is interesting, however; while law schools and medical schools were at record numbers in 2013-2014, dental programs peaked in 1983-84.

Once again, women, given a more equal shot at education, outpace men by a considerable margin.

What do you see here? Leave a comment below.


Popular posts from this blog

So you think you're going back to the SAT and ACT?

Now that almost every university in the nation has gone test-optional for the 2021 cycle out of necessity, a nagging question remains: How many will go back to requiring tests as soon as it's possible?  No one knows, but some of the announcements some colleges made sounded like the kid who only ate his green beans to get his screen time: They did it, but they sure were not happy about it.  So we have some suspicions about the usual suspects. I don't object to colleges requiring tests, of course, even though I think they're not very helpful, intrinsically biased against certain groups, and a tool of the vain.  You be you, though, and don't let me stop you. However, there is a wild card in all of this: The recent court ruling prohibiting the University of California system from even using--let alone requiring--the SAT or ACT in admissions decisions next fall.  If you remember, the Cal State system had already decided to go test blind, and of course community colleges in

Baccalaureate origins of doctoral recipients

Here's a little data for you: 61 years of it, to be precise.  The National Science Foundation publishes its data on US doctoral recipients sliced a variety of ways, including some non-restricted public use files that are aggregated at a high level to protect privacy. The interface is a little quirky, and if you're doing large sets, you need to break it into pieces (this was three extracts of about 20 years each), but it may be worth your time to dive in. I merged the data set with my mega table of IPEDS data, which allows you to look at institutions on a more granular level:  It's not surprising to find that University of Washington graduates have earned more degrees than graduates of Whitman College, for instance.  So, you can filter the data by Carnegie type, region or state, or control, for instance; or you can look at all 61 years, or any range of years between 1958 and 2018 and combine it with broad or specific academic fields using the controls. High school and indep

All Degrees Awarded by US Colleges and Universities, 2019

 The question often asked by high school and independent counselors is something like, "What college offers degrees in <insert major name>.  While this can't help you know what colleges offer a specific degree, it can tell you which colleges awarded those degrees in 2019. It can also help you see the shape of degrees awarded in the US, and even dive deeper into a specific college to see what types of degrees  It's pretty straight-forward, but there are also some features you need to be aware of.  If you know how to Tableau, go ahead and dive right in. The first view  using the tabs across the top shows all degrees awarded by US colleges in 2019.  From there, you can choose any specific combination of student and college characteristics: For instance, if you want to find which institutions award the most bachelor's degrees at public universities in the southwest, just click.  If you then want to find which of those colleges offer the most degrees in History, just