The Gender Gap in Master’s Degree Awards in STEM Fields

NSF ReportA new report from the National Science Foundation offers a wealth of statistics on women in science and engineering disciplines. Here we take a look at the gender gap in master’s degree awards by scientific discipline.

In 2012, U.S. colleges and universities awarded 757,387 master’s degrees. Women earned 60.1 percent of all master’s degrees. That year, 150,653 master’s degrees were awarded in science and engineering fields. Women earned 45.6 percent of master’s degrees in these fields.

It must be noted that the National Science Foundation includes psychology and the social sciences in its calculations for science and engineering degrees. Women earned more than 79 percent of the master’s degrees in psychology and nearly 56 percent of the master’s degrees in the social sciences. Women also earned 57.5 percent of all master’s degrees awarded in 2012 in the biological sciences.

However, the gender gap favored men in many of the so-called “hard sciences.” Women earned only 27.8 percent of the master’s degree in the computer sciences, 21 percent of the master’s degrees in physics, and 22.9 percent of the master’s degrees in engineering. In some engineering fields, including mechanical, electrical, and aerospace, women earned less than 20 percent of all master’s degrees.

The full 349-page report, Women, Minorities, and Persons With Disabilities in Science and Engineering: 2015,” may be downloaded by clicking here.

Filed Under: Degree AttainmentsGender GapResearch/StudySTEM Fields

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