A new survey conducted by the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) and the Graduate Record Examinations Board (GRE) found that graduate applications increased 4.3% from fall 2010 to fall 2011. In fall 2011, there were a total of 1.88 million applicants. While it is an increase over the past year, it is a decline from 2001 to 2011; the number of graduate applications submitted grew by an average of 5.6% annually in the last decade .
Additionally, total graduate enrollment fell by .8%. It typically increases by 2.1% annually. For-profit institutions saw the biggest over-year decline in enrollment, of 4.9%. Public schools also saw a decline in enrollment, of .9%. Private, not-for-profit schools saw an increase in enrollment, of .6%.
Six in 10 graduate students were enrolled at public institutions in fall 2011; 30% were enrolled at private, not-for-profit schools and 10% were enrolled at private, for-profit schools. More than half of all graduates were enrolled in education, business, or health sciences.
Total enrollment in doctoral programs increased 2.1% but decreased at the master’s and graduate certificate level by 1.8%. The greatest increase in doctoral degree production over the past decade was in health sciences. In the past decade, the greatest increase in master’s degree production was in health sciences, engineering, business, and fields marked as “other.”
The survey, which seeks responses from graduate admissions professionals, found that 40.8% of all applicants are admitted to graduate programs, with a higher acceptance rate for master’s degree and graduate certificate programs than doctoral programs. The highest numbers of applicants sought admission to engineering, business, or social and behavioral science programs.