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Women, Minorities and Persons with Disabilities
in Science and Engineering: 2002
Introduction Chapter 2: Undergraduate Enrollment Chapter 3: Undergraduate Degrees Chapter 4: Graduate Enrollment Chapter 5: Graduate Degrees Chapter 6: Employment Technical Notes Appendix Tables
Chapter Contents:
Overview
Associate's degrees
Bachelor's degrees
Debt at graduation
References
 
Sidebars
Appendix Tables
List of Figures
Presentation Slides

Undergraduate Degrees

Associate's degrees

Women
Minorities
Minority women
Students with disabilities

Only 13 percent of all associate's degrees are awarded in science and engineering. (See appendix table 3-1.) Although an associate's degree is the terminal degree for some people, others continue their education and subsequently earn higher degrees. About 14 percent of academic year 1997/98 S&E bachelor's degree recipients had previously earned an associate's degree. (See text table 3-1 text table.)

Women  top of page

The number of associate's degrees in S&E awarded to women rose from 17,571 in 1990 to 22,931 in 1998; concurrently, the number awarded to men dropped from 55,177 to 48,075. (See appendix table 3-1.) Women earned 32 percent of the associate's degrees in S&E in 1998, up from 24 percent in 1990. In 1998, they earned from 45 to 67 percent of the associate's degrees awarded in computer science, the biological sciences, the physical sciences, psychology, the social sciences, and interdisciplinary sciences; they earned only 15 percent of those awarded in engineering and engineering technologies. (See appendix table 3-1.)

The largest numbers of S&E associate's degrees are awarded in computer science and engineering technologies. From 1990 to 1998, the number of associate's degrees in computer science awarded to either men or women increased—particularly from 1996 to 1998—with the number of awards to men increasing faster than that for women. (See figure 3-1 figure.) Concurrently, associate's degrees in engineering technologies decreased more rapidly for men than for women.

Minorities  top of page

In 1998, blacks earned 9 percent of all the associate's degrees awarded in science and engineering, Hispanics 8 percent, Asians 5 percent, and American Indians 1 percent.[1] In this context, note that, as mentioned in chapter 2, Hispanics and American Indians are more likely than other groups to enroll in 2-year colleges.

The number of associate's degrees in S&E increased for each racial/ethnic minority group and decreased for white students from 1990 to 1998. (See appendix table 3-2.) The number of associate's degrees earned in computer science increased for all racial/ethnic groups from 1990 to 1998; again, this was particularly notable in the 1996–98 period for most groups.

Minority women  top of page

In 1998, minority women earned a larger proportion of the associate's degrees in S&E awarded to their respective racial/ethnic group than did white women. Women earned 44 percent of the S&E associate's degrees awarded to American Indians, 38 percent of those to blacks, 36 percent of those to Hispanics, 34 percent of those to Asians, and 31 percent of those to whites. (See appendix table 3-3.)

In some S&E fields—the biological sciences, psychology, and the social sciences—women earned well over half of the associate's degrees awarded to their respective racial/ethnic group. In the physical sciences, the pattern held for all racial/ethnic groups except white women, who earned just less than half of the associate's degrees in this field. In computer science, women earned more than half of the associate's degrees awarded to blacks and American Indians.

Students with disabilities  top of page

As noted in the previous chapter, college students with disabilities are more likely to enroll in 2-year colleges than are those without disabilities. Similarly, students with disabilities earning bachelor's degrees are more likely than those without to have earned an associate's degree. Among S&E bachelor's degree recipients in 1997 and 1998, 24 percent of those with disabilities, compared with 14 percent of those without disabilities, had previously earned an associate's degree. (See text table 3-1 text table.)




Footnotes

[1]  Data on race/ethnicity are collected only for U.S. citizens and permanent residents. Comparable data are not collected for students on temporary visas.

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