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Postgraduate plans for the Ph.D. Class of 2015

Recent STEM Ph.D. recipients, find out how you compare to your fellow graduates with the National Science Foundation’s latest Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED) data, released earlier this week. (A full report will be published in March 2017.) Updated every year, the SED offers a snapshot of what freshly minted science and engineering Ph.D.s—approximately 32,000 in the July 2014 to June 2015 cycle the new data reports on—have lined up at the time of filing for graduation.

If your plans weren’t finalized, you were among the 36.4% of science and engineering grads who were still “seeking employment or study.” Of the 58.4% who did have employment commitments, about two-thirds of the life, physical, and earth sciences Ph.D.s went on to postdoc positions. The numbers are reversed for math, computer science, and engineering: Just one-third went on to postdocs, and the remaining two-thirds had other jobs waiting. Across all the science and engineering disciplines, the majority of those with jobs lined up were staying in R&D. The SED data also includes median salaries in various sectors and postdoc stipends for different disciplines, which may be a useful reference.