In January 2020, the number of US universities offering doctoral degrees in chemistry increased by 8.6 percent compared to the same period last year, according to data compiled by the University of California, Berkeley.

The figure was the highest increase since the first quarter of 2021.

In comparison, the figure was down 0.6 percentage points in 2020.

The growth is attributed in part to more students choosing to enter chemistry as an undergraduate option in the US, as well as higher levels of enrolment among graduates.

While many US universities continue to struggle with the economic downturn, the Berkeley data shows the US is leading the world in the number and number of PhD graduates.

The number of graduates in chemistry and engineering was 1.7 million in 2020, while the number in the natural sciences was 1,827, according the report.

The number of postdoctoral researchers was 826, while that of postdocs in medicine and health sciences was 2,631.

In total, the US had 4,835 PhD graduates in 2020 and 8,081 postdocs, according UC Berkeley.

However, the country still trails the rest of the world by just two spots in terms of the number PhD graduates per 1,000 people.

Canada, at 4.9, had the second highest rate of graduates per capita in 2020 with 735, while France, at 8.7, had a rate of 693, according data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The US had the fourth-highest rate of PhDs per capita, with 6,079, followed by Germany at 6,527 and Australia at 6.9.