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1994-1995 CRA Taulbee Survey

New Enrollment in Ph.D. Programs Drops

By Gregory R. Andrews
Chair, CRA Surveys Committee

Date: March 1997
Section: CRA Taulbee Survey

NOTE: This article does not include the tables found in the March 1996 issue of Computing Research News. Please download the PDF format for the data tables. Thank You.

This is the 25th year of publication of the Computing Research Association's annual survey on the production and employment of Ph.D.s in computer science and engineering. A few years ago the CRA Taulbee Survey1 was expanded to include computer engineering as well as computer science. Last year we began reporting on the areas of Ph.D. study (see Table 5).

Each September this survey is mailed to all organizations included on the CRA Forsythe List of departments in the United States and Canada that offer a Ph.D. in computer science or computer engineering.2

The accompanying tables present the results of the 1995 CRA Taulbee Survey. Information was gathered during the fall and early winter. The tables include all responses received by the first week of February. The response rate continues to be quite high (about 91%). This is excellent for surveys of this kind, although it is not as high as a few years ago.

Information on degree production and enrollment applies to the previous academic year (1994-95). Information on faculty applies to the current fiscal year (1995-96). Faculty salaries reflect those in effect as of Jan. 1, 1996. Readers should keep in mind that survey results are from Ph.D.-granting departments only; there are hundreds more departments that award bachelor's and master's degrees.

This article draws attention to the most significant results of the survey, especially results that are substantially different from last year.

Although the tables and graphs show a total of 1,006 Ph.D. degrees awarded in CS and CE, CRA staff called the 9% of departments that failed to respond. We found 73 degrees that went unreported, bringing the total number of Ph.D.s to 1,079. Last year's survey indicated 1,005 Ph.D.s, with 8% of departments failing to respond. Because no attempt was made last year to count unreported degrees and because the response rate dropped only one percentage point, one could assume that degree production has remained flat.

Ph.D. production has remained essentially steady throughout the 1990s (see Figure 2). The predicted number for this year is for only slightly more than last year, but predictions have historically been high by about 100. So perhaps only about 1,000 Ph.D.s will actually be awarded in 1996. Far more significant is the drop in new enrollment in Ph.D. programs (see student enrollment section below).

The only significant change in the gender or ethnicity of Ph.D. recipients is that the number of CS and CE Ph.D.s awarded to Hispanics tripled from 9 to 28. However, the percentage of degrees at all levels awarded to females and minorities remains low.

There are no significant differences in the fields of specialization of Ph.D. recipients relative to last year. Once again-and despite student fears-almost all new Ph.D.s appear to have gotten jobs. The number who found jobs in Ph.D.-granting departments or in industry is much higher than it was a year ago, but this could be because the number of "unknowns" is much smaller this year.

The numbers of bachelor's and master's degrees awarded by the Ph.D.-granting departments are down about 8% and 15%, respectively, relative to a year ago. The change in bachelor's degree numbers appears to be transitory; the master's degree numbers appear likely to continue to fall (see below).

The number of new bachelor's students is up about 4%, but the numbers of new master's and doctoral students both are down almost 25%. The lower doctoral numbers could quite possibly reflect student reaction to the current job market. Also, there is probably a significant correlation between the master's and doctoral numbers in the Ph.D.-granting departments.

Faculty sizes are down about 3%, and anticipated growth in faculty size is down from 345 to 310 new positions over the next five years. Estimates of growth have always been optimistic, so it is plausible to predict that the total number of faculty positions will remain essentially constant for the remainder of the decade.

Far fewer faculty left their current positions-for whatever reason-than a year ago (178 versus 252).

Faculty salaries rose about 3.5% in all ranks relative to a year ago. However, the average salary of a newly appointed faculty member rose only about 2%.

The salary numbers reported here are slightly higher than the preliminary numbers report in the January 1996 CRN. (A few more departments responded to the survey.)

For Tables 18-26, each department was asked for the minimum, mean and maximum salary for each category of professor. Because tables show the minimums and maximums of the minimums and maximums reported by each department, these figures reflect salaries of individual professors. Also shown are the means of the minimums and maximums reported by each department. Finally, the average of all salaries is the average of the means reported by each department. If a department gave only a partial answer for a category of professor, it was discounted. All Canadian salaries are in Canadian dollars.


For Tables 18-26, which group Computer Science Departments by the rank of 1-12, 13-24 and 25-36, we based our ranking on information released in the 1995 assessment of research-doctorate programs in the United States done under the auspices of the National Research Council.

Our top 12 schools are Stanford University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of California at Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon University, Cornell University, Princeton University, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of Washington, the University of Wisconsin at Madison, Harvard University and the California Institute of Technology.

The departments ranked 13-24 are Brown University, Yale University, the University of California at Los Angeles, the University of Maryland at College Park, New York University, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Rice University, the University of Southern California, the University of Michigan, the University of California at San Diego, Columbia University and the University of Pennsylvania.3

The departments ranked 25-36 are the University of Chicago, Purdue University, Rutgers-the State University of New Jersey, Duke University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Rochester, the State University of New York at Stony Brook, the Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of Arizona, the University of California at Irvine, the University of Virginia and Indiana University.


Phillip Louis, Frank Winstead and Juan Osuna of CRA drafted the survey, collected the data, made follow- up calls and prepared the accompanying tables.


1The title of the survey honors the late Orrin E. Taulbee of the University of Pittsburgh, who conducted these surveys for the Computer Science Board from 1970 until 1984.

2The CRA Forsythe List is a list of departments in the United States and Canada that grant a Ph.D. in computing- computer science (CS) and computer engineering (CE). It is maintained by the Computing Research Association. This is the ninth year computer engineering departments have been included.

3Although the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Chicago were tied in the National Research Council rankings, CRA made the arbitrary decision to place Pennsylvania in the second tier of schools.


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