July 31, 2010 8 Comments
Below are charts of the college degrees awarded in Spokane.
Of the 50 degrees granted in Computer Science and Engineering in 2008, 49 were Bachelor degrees and 1 was a Masters degree. 9 undergraduate degrees in Electrical Engineering were granted. 118 Bachelor degrees were granted in the “Biological and biomedical” category plus 3 Masters degrees. (Source).
Update: 2010 degrees – 10 MS in Biology, 7 MS in computer science. At the undergraduate level, 93 in biology, 26 in general chemistry, 38 in computer/information science and 2 in “computer engineering tech”, 17 in electrical and comm engineering.
12 undergraduate degrees were awarded in computer science and 55 in biological and biomedical sciences. No Masters degrees in those subjects were awarded. (Source)
Data source: http://www.citytowninfo.com
I did not get the data for Washington State University-Spokane, which provides some Bachelors programs and several Masters programs. The data I could get are for all of WSU: Pullman, Tri-cities, Vancouver and Spokane, not the individual campuses. I also did not get data for Whitworth University.
Can you spot the strong base of research and academic resources in information technology and telecommunications? You may need to squint.
Bioscience is said to be the next big thing in Spokane – squint again!
Note that a grand total of just 4 graduate degrees in technical subjects were granted, with one in computer science and 3 in biological science.
Virtually all graduate degrees granted in the Spokane area are in Education, Business (M.B.A.), Nursing (M.S.N.) or Law (J.D.).
Here’s the distribution of all degrees in 1996 – the major change between 1996 and today is the much larger business major graduates.
Why is having graduate degree programs important?
A graduate degree is a major undertaking and provides advanced training in the most recent developments in the field, passing along knowledge that is required for practitioners to be able to extend their field of study.
Because a graduate degree is a major undertaking, such programs appeal to those with ambition (and also the financial ability and opportunity) to purse graduate degrees. Many of these students go on to take on leadership roles in their organizations.
Without a strong graduate education program in the innovation fields, the Spokane area loses its ability to innovate and grow 21st century industry.
And lacking graduate opportunities, ambitious recent college grads will not stay here – particularly when we look today at the large percentage continuing on to graduate educations. For example, at the University of California, Berkeley, 60% of year 2010 graduates in 4 year engineering programs have gone on to graduate school. 40% to 50% graduate program pursuit is common at many universities today, particularly in a “buyers” market that favors employers versus labor.
Until recently, graduate programs in several fields of engineering, including robotics, were offered by Spokane area universities. As of 2010, the only graduate degrees in science are the M.S. in computer science at EWU and the M.S. in Biology at EWU. Gonzaga and WSU-Spokane ended their graduate degrees in engineering and computer science. WSU-Spokane offers an M.S. in exercise science, which is intended, as best I can tell, primarily as a pathway into health care delivery services, probably physical rehabilitation and therapy.
These programs were ended because both the enrollment had declined as cutting edge industry left Spokane, and because of the State’s mandate to support primarily those field identified as active “industry clusters” for the Spokane region.