Life Sciences Educational Trends

By IEEE Life Sciences Staff

NOTE: This is an overview of section 3 of the report. Click here to read the entire Section 3.

IEEE Life Sciences commissioned McKinley Advisors to conduct a field measurement study on the size of the overall life sciences industry. This is the third in a four-part series to present findings from this study. Click here to read a portion of this study.

The first and second part of this series reviewed employment opportunities by sectors/subsectors and employment trends across a number of occupations in the life sciences industry. The focus of this third part will be on educational trends, looking at programs within the U.S. and globally.

The study reviewed that enrollment in educational programs related to the life sciences have grown significantly within the United States. The number of degrees awarded in biological and biomedical sciences continues to increase across all degree types, including bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. Furthermore, the majority of graduate students enrolled in science and engineering programs are studying life sciences. In 2010, over 165,000 students were enrolled in graduate programs related to the life sciences. Popular disciplines of study among graduate students include biology, biosciences and cell biology.

Similarly, the study concluded that there is strong growth globally, in particular in China and Italy. The number of doctoral degrees awarded in China and Italy has sharply increased since 2000. China and Italy have demonstrated substantial growth in terms of graduation trends in life sciences related education, compared to other countries. The number of doctorates awarded in the physical/biological sciences rose significantly in China from 2,306 in 2000 to 8,953 in 2008. Similarly, the number of doctoral degrees within this discipline grew from 55 in 2000 to about 2,243 in 2007 in Italy.