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Engineering Degrees

July 31, 2009


In the gallery above are a variety of interesting graphs and charts describing the state of women and minorities in engineering education by major and degrees awarded.

There aren’t a lot of surprises for the most popular majors among women – they focus in the biological, civil, and environmental disciplines. I’m majoring in systems engineering, an interdisciplinary major between mechanical and electrical. So I guess I fall in the “other” category.

Looking at the percentage of engineering degrees awarded to women by school, a confusing story emerges. As expected from the previous data, the highest ratio of women is in Masters programs – maxing out at 41.5% at San Jose State University. Bachelor’s and Doctoral programs are pretty much on par with each other in terms of gender representation. Surprisingly, no school appears on all three lists. Instead, there are schools like Tufts which are #20 for Bachelor’s Degrees Awarded to Women and #2 for Percentage Masters Degrees Awarded to Women. The following schools appear on more than one list:

  • North Carolina A&T State University*
  • University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez*
  • University of Rochester**
  • Princeton University**
  • University of Miami*
  • University of Pennsylvania**
  • Tufts University*
  • Yale University***
  • Rutgers University***
  • Duke University***

*Bachelor’s & Master’s; **Bachelor’s & Doctoral; ***Master’s & Doctoral

I have no idea what that means. There must be some pattern …

Looking at the ethnicity statistics, I was shocked by how many people leave the engineering pipeline. However, I was equally surprised by how little difference in terms of ethnicity and gender there was in the attrition of students. On average, 82% of students enrolled in engineering without achieving a degree, regardless of gender. Overall, African-American, Hispanic, and Native-American people had the highest drop-out rates with 85% not being awarded a degree. However, the lowest dropout rate was the Other category with 79% not being awarded a degree – not really that much better.

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