Degree Attainment

Bachelor’s Degrees to Women

Fewer engineering and computer/information sciences bachelor’s degrees are awarded to women as compared to men. Overall, interest in these fields has grown, with more than 220,000 bachelor’s degrees in engineering and computer/ information sciences awarded in the 2017-2018 academic year. Although in the past the percentage of females earning degrees has remained relatively unchanged, in the 2017-2018 academic year, women now represent about 21% of the bachelor’s degree holders in these fields.

Bachelor Degrees Engineering CS by Gender to

 

Top 10 Engineering Degrees, Female, 2019
Source: Roy, J. (2020). Engineering by the numbers. American Society for Engineering Education.

  1. Mechanical
  2. Chemical
  3. Computer Science
  4. Biomedical
  5. Civil
  6. Industrial/Manufacturing/Systems
  7. Electrical
  8. Computer Engineering
  9. Engineering (General)
  10. Metallurgical & Materials

Advanced Degrees Earned by Women

STEM degrees at the master’s and doctoral levels have also increased among men and women, with female students earning a larger share of graduate degrees than at the bachelor’s level. However, the gender gap is still large, with only 29% of master’s degrees in engineering and computer/ information sciences awarded to women and 24% of doctoral degrees awarded to women.

Masters Degrees Engineering CS by Gender to

Doctoral Degrees Engineering CS by Gender to

 

Degree Attainment by Women of Color

Although the number of engineering degrees awarded to non-international women at all postsecondary educational levels in the U.S. has increased from the 2015-16 to 2017-18 academic years, the majority of these are earned by white women. In the 2017-18 academic year, women of color, such as Latinas and Black women, represented about 17.5% of the female Bachelor’s degree holders in engineering.

Engineering Degrees to Women by Race Ethnicity Level to

Over the past ten years, Black and Latina women comprised less than 4% of the bachelor’s degree holders in engineering and less than 5% of the bachelor’s degree holders in computer science. While Black women have constantly represented about 1% of the engineering bachelor’s degree holders in the last several years, their representation among computer science bachelor’s degree holders has been on a decline since 2003 and stagnated at around 2.35%.

title Degree Attainment - degree attainment
Note: For this graph, women of color include Black/African American and Hispanic/Latina only.

 

SWE Efforts to Increase Female Attainment of Engineering Degrees

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


Additional Resources