This excellent answer to another question offers some statistics on median age of doctorate recipients from U.S. universities in 2009, across different disciplines.

However, we know that there is quite a bit of variation in PhD length internationally, as well as variation in the age at which students typically enter a doctoral program. So I would expect the age at doctorate to vary by country.

Is there any data available on median age at doctorate by field of study and by country?

NB: This is a question. As per the tag wiki excerpt, I am looking for answers that are backed up by a supporting document or citation (not opinions).


1 Answer 1


In my opinion, there are two approaches to answering this question. The first (which seems that the OP expects here) represents references to publications, containing global summary statistics on doctoral graduates across the indicators of interest, such as age, field of study and country. In this category, IMHO the most well-known and comprehensive is the Education at a Glance report by OECD. AFAIK, the latest such report is Education at a Glance 2014: OECD Indicators, which, along with supplementary materials (i.e., highlights), can be accessed in various formats from this page.

The second, open data, approach, which while not requested, I recommend to those wanting to perform their own statistical data analysis, which might be very interesting especially by combining the indicators of interest with other socio-technical and economical indicators, widely available from open data repositories. In particular, for this specific question / category, I would suggest analyzing the following two open data sets from OECD, which can/should be combined in order to perform needed analysis: Graduates by field of education and Graduates by age.

  • @ff524 My pleasure and glad to hear from someone with common interests :-)! Note that the the above-referenced OECD report does not provide statistics by field of study. As you understand, this is one of the cases, where my second suggested approach of using open data can be useful, as that indicator is available in one the data sets. Enjoy! Jul 31, 2015 at 6:50
  • I'm happy with this answer because it's much better data than I was hoping for, but for what it's worth, I don't see any way to combine the data sets. Knowing distribution across age and distribution across field for a given country doesn't give me any way to get joint distribution across age and field.
    – ff524
    Jul 31, 2015 at 7:14
  • Let us continue this discussion in chat.
    – ff524
    Jul 31, 2015 at 13:47

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