by Steven Proudfoot
In the 2006 National Survey of Recent College Graduates (NSRCG), the National Science Foundation collected data detailing the characteristics of individuals who received bachelor's or master's degrees in science, engineering, or health (SEH) fields during the academic years 2003, 2004, and 2005. Degrees in the fields of social and related sciences, health, and psychology accounted for more than half of all those earned by this group of recent graduates (23%, 18%, and 15%, respectively) (table 1).
Table 1 Source Data: Excel file
Overall, 85% of recent graduates were working in April 2006 (84% of bachelor's degree recipients and 90% of master's degree recipients). Business and industry was the largest employer of recent SEH graduates (65%), followed by educational institutions (24%) and government (11%). Recent computer and information sciences graduates—both bachelor's and master's degrees—were most likely to be employed in business and industry (82% and 76%, respectively); 77% (bachelor's) and 72% (master's) of engineering graduates were also primarily employed in business and industry. Educational institutions were the largest employers of recent graduates with master's degrees in physical and related sciences, mathematics and statistics, and psychology (59%, 55%, and 51%, respectively) (table 2).
Table 2 Source Data: Excel file
Approximately half of all employed recent bachelor's degree recipients with SEH degrees were working in non-S&E-related jobs. In contrast, only about one-fourth of employed recent SEH master's degree recipients were working in non-S&E-related jobs (table 3).
Table 3 Source Data: Excel file
Eighty-five percent of employed recent master's degree recipients and 81% of employed recent bachelor's degree recipients had full-time principal jobs. Ninety-three percent and 91% of recent master's and bachelor's computer and information sciences graduates, respectively, held full-time principal jobs. Among engineering graduates, 90% of master's degree and 91% of bachelor's degree recipients held full-time principal jobs (table 4).
Table 4 Source Data: Excel file
Those individuals with master's degrees in engineering and those with master's degrees in computer and information sciences reported the highest median salary among recent SEH master's graduates, $65,000. Those with bachelor's degrees in engineering had the highest median salary among recent SEH bachelor's graduates, $52,000. Recent graduates holding bachelor's degrees in computer and information sciences reported a median salary of $45,000. Those with degrees in health reported median salaries of $58,000 for master's degree holders and $45,000 for those with bachelor's degrees (table 5).
Table 5 Source Data: Excel file
Recent graduates with master's degrees working in private business and industry reported a median salary of $61,000, and those working for government agencies reported $55,000. Recent graduates with bachelor's degrees working in business and industry reported a median salary of $40,000; the median salary for their counterparts in the federal government was $37,000 (table 6).
Table 6 Source Data: Excel file
Recent female SEH graduates outnumbered males 56% to 44%. The bachelor's degree-level fields of study with the highest percentage of female graduates were health (86%) and psychology (77%). The recent bachelor's degree fields of study with the highest percentage of male graduates were engineering (78%) and computer and information sciences (77%). Results at the recent master's degree-level were similar; the highest percentages of female master's degree graduates were in health (79%) and psychology (78%), while engineering, computer and related sciences, and physical and related sciences had the highest levels of male graduates (77%, 66%, and 66%, respectively) (table 7).
Table 7 Source Data: Excel file
Data from the National Science Foundation's 2006 National Survey of Recent College Graduates were collected on bachelor's and master's graduates who received science, engineering, or health degrees between July 1, 2002, and June 30, 2005. Respondents were individuals who recently received bachelor's or master's degrees in a SEH field from a U.S. institution, were living in the United States during the survey reference week of April 1st, 2006, and under age 76.
The full set of detailed tables from this survey will be available in the forthcoming report Characteristics of Recent College Graduates: 2006 at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/recentgrads/. For more information on the data in this InfoBrief, contact the author.
 Steven Proudfoot, Human Resources Statistics Program, Division of Science Resources Statistics, National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 965, Arlington, VA 22230 (firstname.lastname@example.org; 703-292-4434).
For further information on the National Survey of Recent College Graduates, contact
Kelly H. Kang, Human Resources Statistics Program, Division of Science Resources Statistics, National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 965,
Arlington, VA 22230 (email@example.com; 703-292-7796).
 For more information on classification of degree fields and occupations, please see the NSRCG survey overview at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/srvyrecentgrads/.