Bachelor's Degrees to Women
The proportion of bachelor’s degree holders in engineering and computer science that are women is at about 20 percent, which is the lowest when compared to other STEM fields. This proportion has been relatively stagnant for over a decade. On the contrary, women comprise the majority of the bachelor’s degree holders in other STEM fields, such as psychology, biological and agricultural sciences, and social sciences.
Women’s Share of Science & Engineering Bachelor’s Degrees, by field, 2000-2015
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 174,000 bachelor's degrees in engineering and computer/information sciences awarded in 2015. Unfortunately, the percentage of females earning degrees has remained relatively unchanged over the last ten years.
Top 10 Engineering Degrees, Female, 2016-17
Source: Yoder, B. L. (2018). Engineering by the numbers. American Society for Engineering Education.
- Computer Science
- Computer Engineering
- Metallurgical & Materials
Bachelor's Degrees Earned by Women of Color
Few STEM bachelor’s degrees are earned by Asian, Hispanic, Black, and American Indian or Alaska Native women, particularly in the engineering fields. In 2015, about six percent of engineering bachelor’s degrees were earned by women of color.
Percentage of Science & Engineering Bachelor’s Degrees Earned by Women of Color, 2015
Advanced Degrees Earned by Women
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 27% of master's degrees in engineering and computer/information sciences awarded to females and 23% of doctoral degrees awarded to females.
Advanced Degrees Earned by Women of Color
Similar to the proportion of bachelor’s degrees earned by women of color, few engineering master’s and doctoral degrees are earned by women of color.
Percentage of Science & Engineering Doctoral Degrees Earned by Women of Color, 2015
SWE Efforts to Increase Female Attainment of Engineering Degrees
SWE has a strong network of collegiate members across the country.
- Chen, X. (2013). STEM Attrition: College Students' Paths Into and Out of STEM Fields(NCES 2014-001). National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC.
- Yoder, B. L. (2017). Engineering by the numbers.American Society for Engineering Education.
- S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics
- National Science Board. 2018. Science and Engineering Indicators 2018. NSB-2018-1. Alexandria, VA: National Science Foundation. Available at https://www.nsf.gov/statistics/indicators/.