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In 2008, for the first time since 2000, the number of new sociology PhDs awarded in 2008 was greater than 600 (see Table below). After the high of 617 new PhDs in 2000, the number hovered around the mid- to high-500s until 2008. The two years with more than 600 hundred new PhDs were prior to the start of a recession (2001 and 2009), suggesting that these new PhDs faced tight job markets (we know this is the case for the 2008 PhDs). In 2001, following the 2000 high for earned doctorates, the number of new first-time graduate students increased to 1,431, after lows for the two previous years. These increases may have occurred either in spite of or because of the recession. In the remaining years the number of first-time graduate students never returned to its 1999 and 2000 year lows.
The number of new PhDs in all fields for 2008 is available on the National Science Foundation website at www.nsf.gov/statistics/.