​NSF Public Use Data

In this course, participants explore well-known public use data sets sponsored by the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES). By the end of this course, participants will understand NSF public use student and establishment survey metrics, use this data to answer research questions, and use NSF online tools to create tabular outputs.

Registration Information

  • Price: Free and open to the public
  • Learning Format: Self-paced, must be completed within a two-month (60 day) period.
  • Admission: Applicants will be admitted on a rolling basis throughout the year. Seats are allocated on a first-come, first served basis.
  • Access: After completing the registration process, log in to My Learning with your AIR username and password. There is a slight delay between registration and user activation - please wait at least 15 minutes before attempting to access this course.



Core Lesson 1 – NSF Student Surveys

Provides an overview about the publicly available NSF Student Surveys.

  • Task Module One focuses on the Scientists and Engineers Statistical Data System (SESTAT), which is a tool that allows users to access and make tables from several of the NSF student survey data.
  • Task Module Two explores the National Survey of College Graduates, which is focused on U.S. college graduates. Participants use SESTAT to analyze these data.
  • Task Module Three discusses the Survey of Doctorate Recipients, which provides information on those who earned a doctorate in a science, engineering, or health field. Participants use SESTAT to analyze these data.
  • Task Module Four focuses on the Survey of Earned Doctorates (a census survey) and includes those who earned a research doctorate at a U.S. institution. Participants download and analyze these data.

Core Lesson 2 – NSF Establishment Surveys

Provides an overview about publicly available NSF Establishment Surveys.

  • Task Module One introduces the Higher Education Research and Development Survey, which collects information on how academic institutions spend their research and development dollars.
  • Task Module Two discusses the Federally Funded Research and Development Center Research and Development survey and explores their research and development spending.
  • Task Module Three focuses on the Survey of Graduate Students and Postdoctorates in Science and Engineering (GSS), which describes the educational environmental of the next generation of scientists.

Each task module includes academic papers, video demonstrations, and an exercise that allows participants to practice skills learned.


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