As a part of the 2006 GSS survey redesign, the methodological research was conducted to examine the coverage of GSS-eligible institutions. The research identified 605 institutions that were not included in the 2006 survey frame but could be eligible. The vast majority of the potentially eligible institutions (537) were identified based on their reporting of the master's or doctoral degree awards using at least one GSS-eligible Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code to the 2006 Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) Completions Survey.[1]

The evaluation began in 2008 with the screening of 80 of the potentially eligible institutions. In this study, 32 of the 80 had masters programs in science, engineering, and health. Follow-up screening over the next two cycles determined that 19 of these institutions had only practitioner-focused programs, making them ineligible and leaving 13 eligible institutions.

A comprehensive review began in 2010 with a review of 2009 IPEDS Completions survey data and other sources. This yielded 529 institutions, which were further investigated using two additional measures: an institution Web site review and a GSS Eligibility Screening Survey. The graduate degree program information on the Web sites for potentially eligible new institutions were reviewed to determine the types of degrees offered, research or thesis requirements for the degree, and whether the degree program was primarily to prepare the students for professional licensure. Two reviewers independently assessed the eligibility of each degree programs and noted any special circumstances, such as discontinuation of program(s).

The GSS Eligibility Screening Survey was administered to these institutions in spring 2011. The survey, primarily conducted via the Web, was designed to collect more information about potentially eligible degree programs offered at the institutions. For disciplinary fields that had degree exclusions (e.g., "excludes PsyD" for GSS code 803), the survey confirmed whether the institution only offered the excluded degree type. For fields where practitioner-oriented degrees are common, the survey asked special questions about the research and management orientation of the program.[2]

The frame evaluation process resulted in 159 newly eligible institutions that were surveyed for the first time in the 2011 GSS. The total number of newly eligible institutions was 165 at the end of the 2011 cycle—152 of the 159 institutions identified in the frame evaluation process remained as eligible and all 13 institutions identified from the 2008 New Institution Pilot Study.

The intention was to include the data from these new frame institutions in the 2011 GSS data release, but after an initial assessment of the data reported by the new frame institutions, NCSES determined that more years of data were needed to conclusively verify the degree program eligibility and to work with the new institutions to improve their data reporting. During the 2012 and 2013 survey cycles, 25 additional institutions were determined as ineligible as more data became available about their degree programs, resulting in 140 newly eligible institutions for the 2014 GSS. A frame review conducted as part of the 2014 GSS resulted in an additional 14 institutions added to the new frame. Ultimately, 151 institutions were added in 2014, reflecting the 140 institutions discussed here, the 14 institutions identified in 2014 (with one merger and two other institutions becoming ineligible in 2014). As discussed in this report, though the number of eligible new frame institutions in 2013 was substantial (140) relative to the number of core institutions (563), the new frame institutions had substantially fewer units and GSS-eligible graduate students than their counterparts in the core institution. (See figure 4 .)

The data collected from the newly eligible institutions will be incorporated into the published GSS data starting in 2014. For more information please contact the GSS Project Officer.


[1] Hudson J, Zwieg E, Copello E. 2008. GSS Population Coverage. Report to the National Science Foundation. Research Triangle Park, NC: RTI International.

[2] Lennon J, Hudson J, Zwieg E, Bennett C, Friedman J, Rogers J. 2013. New institution eligibility screening for the Survey of Graduate Students and Postdoctorates in Science and Engineering. Report to the National Science Foundation. Research Triangle Park, NC: RTI International.