The supply of Ph.D. level political scientists is astonishingly and ominously out of phase with prospective demand. Drastic changes in our graduate enterprises are inevitable. Some will be deliberate. Others will be forced upon us by uncontrollable events.
What Do the Numbers Show?
Concerning Supply. About 5000 new political science doctorates were granted between 1969–70 and 1975–76. In the same period 11,927 students embarked upon Ph.D. programs; 1443 were admitted in 1974–75, and another 1174 in 1975–76. 6150 graduate students were active in American Ph.D. programs in 1975–76.
Back in the 1950s and 60s, 46% of those who entered our Ph.D. programs completed their work within five to eight years. Between 75% and 85% of them sought or desired academic employment.
If the same ratios applied to the Ph.D. starters for 1969–70 through 1975–76, then as many as 5500 more Ph.D.s could appear on the scene between 1974 and 1984, more than 4000 of them seeking academic employment. A relatively high percentage would be women.