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Science & Engineering Degree Growth Outpaces Other Fields

Men and Women See Nearly Equal Growth, but In Different Disciplines

HERNDON, VA, NOV. 19, 2013 – Two recent Snapshot Reports from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center show that the overall number of science and engineering (S&E) bachelor’s degree completions has grown by 19%, compared to 9% growth for non-S&E disciplines in the last five years. The Research Center also published age and gender breakdowns of S&E bachelor’s degrees comparing the academic years ending in 2009 and 2013.

Snapshot Reports, which are released throughout the year, draw on college enrollment data provided to the National Student Clearinghouse by its more than 3,500 participating postsecondary institutions.

Other key findings include:

  • In 2013, S&E bachelor’s degrees accounted for 32% of all bachelor’s degrees, up from 30% in 2009.
  • Men and women saw nearly identical growth in S&E bachelor’s degrees: 20% and 21%, respectively. In both years, women earned 57% of all bachelor’s degrees and 50% of S&E bachelor’s degrees (including social science and psychology).
  • The fastest growth in S&E degrees occurred among older students. S&E bachelor’s degrees awarded to students over the age of 26 (at time of degree completion) grew by 25%, compared to 19% growth among traditional-age students.
  • In 2013, students over the age of 26 (at time of degree completion) earned 26% of all bachelor’s degrees and 18% of S&E bachelor’s degrees. Both figures are slight increases over 2009.
  • Among women, social sciences and psychology accounted for 61% of S&E bachelor’s degrees, followed by biological and agricultural sciences, which accounted for 25%. Among men, social sciences and psychology accounted for 37% of S&E bachelor’s degrees, followed by engineering, which accounted for 24%.

“There has been ongoing policy emphasis on increasing the number of postsecondary science and engineering graduates,” stated Dr. Doug Shapiro, Executive Director of the Research Center. “Our most recent student-level data on bachelor’s degree completions show that the science and engineering pipeline has, in fact, been growing over the last five academic years. Moreover, the data reveal that women and older students have been an important part of this growth.”

Snapshot Reports are available at www.studentclearinghouse.org/snapshot.

About the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center
The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center is the research arm of the National Student Clearinghouse. The Research Center collaborates with higher education institutions, states, school districts, high schools, and educational organizations as part of a national effort to better inform education leaders and policymakers. Through accurate longitudinal data outcomes reporting, the Research Center enables better educational policy decisions leading to improved student outcomes.

To learn more, visit http://research.studentclearinghouse.org.

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