STEM Statistics: Higher Education

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The rates of science and engineering course taking for girls/women shift at the undergraduate level and gender disparities begin to emerge, especially for minority women (NSF, Science & Engineering Indicators, 2018).

  • Since the late 1990s, women have earned about 57% of all bachelor’s degrees and half of all S&E bachelor’s degrees However, women’s participation in science and engineering at the undergraduate level significantly differs by specific field of study. In 2015, women received over half of bachelor’s degrees awarded in the biological sciences, they received far fewer in the computer sciences (18%), engineering (20%), physical sciences (39%) and mathematics (43%).
  • In 2016, 12.6% of bachelor’s degrees in science and engineering, 7.8% of master’s degrees in science and engineering, and 5.0% of doctorate degrees in science and engineering were awarded to minority women (NSF, Women, Minorities, and People with Disabilities in Science and Engineering, 2015).
  • In 2016, women from underrepresented minority groups earned more than half of the science and engineering (S&E) degrees awarded to their respective racial and ethnic groups at all degree levels—bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate. Underrepresented minority women have increasing and strong shares of bachelor’s degrees in psychology, social sciences, and biological sciences. Representation in these fields by underrepresented minority women is increasing and is near or above their representation in the labor force. (NSF, Women, Minorities, and People with Disabilities in Science and Engineering, 2019).
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