India’s increase in S&E PhDs driven by engineering degrees

At present, online databases like the UNESCO Institute of Statistics (UIS) and reports such as the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Science & Engineering Indicators (2014 & 2016) provide fragmented data on the number of Science & Engineering (S&E) doctoral degrees attained in India, with the latest reported figure being from 2011.We have constructed a time series of the number of S&E PhDs that have been awarded in India between 1998 and 2014, using publicly available data from various University Grants Commission (UGC) reports.

The graph below shows a marked increase over the years in the number of S&E doctoral graduates, to around 10,600 degrees granted in the year 2014 from 5,600 granted in 1998. While doctoral degrees granted in agricultural sciences have remained fairly stable over the years, the increase in the total number of doctoral ¬degrees has been led by a three-fold increase in engineering degrees and a doubling in the degrees in physical/biological sciences.

When one compares India’s share of S&E doctoral degrees as a percent of total PhDs granted with that of select top global economies, we find that India compares well with Switzerland and performs better than Germany, Japan and Korea.

For further details please refer to the CTIER Brief Updated Time Series on S&E Doctoral Degrees Attained in India (as of 2014).

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