Data Collection

APS has outlined the steps one must take to collect the data used in our graphs and tables.

  1. Go to WebCASPAR.
  2. If the data you need involves race or ethnicity, use "IPEDS Completion Survey by Race". Otherwise, "IPEDS Completion Survey" will suffice.
  3. For analysis variables, use both “Degrees/Awards Conferred (NSF population of institutions)” and “Degrees/Awards Conferred-2nd Major (NSF population of institutions)”.
  4. Classification variables commonly used by APS include: Level of degree, Gender, Race/Ethnicity, and Academic Disciple, 6-digit classification. Please use the APS definition for Physics when selecting Academic Discipline.


Data is collected from the IPEDS Completion Survey by Race1. IPEDS data is collected from every institution that participates in the federal student financial aid programs. Each school appoints a person to complete the IPEDS survey from which the data is gathered.

Data include all physics degrees as well as degrees that are frequently awarded in physics departments, such as engineering physics/applied physics, astrophysics, and physics teacher education. At institutions that have separate departments for e.g. applied physics or astrophysics, the data reflect the total number of degrees awarded in physics and allied departments. For the top educator tables, physics teacher education is not included for graduate degrees.

For URM, we include African Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans who are U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents, and for the percentage of URM, we divide by only U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents. Although the numbers represent the true population as indicated by the IPEDS survey, year-to- year fluctuations involving small numbers of students can significantly alter the percentage over time.

1 High School Teachers with a Physics Degree data is from the 2007-08 Schools and Staffing Survey (National Center For Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education, Washington, D.C., 2011). Available at:

Students Taking High School Physics data is from the 2012-13 Nationwide Survey of High School Physics Teachers (American Institute of Physics, College Park, MD, 2014). Available at: courses-enroll-13.pdf.

Questions and Information