Degree Attainment

With fewer females than males interested in pursuing a degree in engineering or computer/information sciences, fewer bachelor’s degrees are awarded to females as compared to males. Overall, interest in these fields has grown, with more than 160,000 bachelor’s degrees in engineering and computer/information sciences awarded in 2014. Unfortunately, the percentage of females earning degrees has remained relatively constant over the last ten years.

Top 10 Engineering Degrees, Female, 2015-16
Source: Yoder, B. L. (2017). Engineering by the numbers. American Society for Engineering Education.

  1. Mechanical
  2. Chemical
  3. Computer Science
  4. Civil
  5. Biomedical
  6. Industrial/Manufacturing/Systems
  7. Electrical
  8. Computer Engineering
  9. Environmental
  10. Aerospace

Few STEM bachelor’s degrees are earned by Asian, Hispanic, and Black women, particularly in the engineering and computer science fields. In 2014, less than six percent of engineering bachelor’s degrees were earned by minority women.

Source: National Science Foundation: Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering: 2017.


STEM degrees at the master’s and doctoral levels have also increased among males and females, with females earning a larger share of graduate degrees than at the bachelor’s level. However, the gap is still large, with only 26% of master’s degrees in engineering and computer/information sciences awarded to females and 22% of doctoral degrees awarded to females.


SWE Efforts to Increase Female Attainment of Engineering Degrees

SWE has a strong network of collegiate members across the country.


Additional Resources