S&E Graduate Students: More Women Enroll
Women's enrollment in graduate science and engineering
(S&E) programs grew rapidly in 1994, even as overall enrollment declined
slightly, according to a recent data brief by the Science Resources Studies
The study found that overall graduate student enrollment in
S&E fields reached 433,152 students, a 1% drop from its high of 436,436
in 1993. At the same time, women's enrollment jumped from 156,871 in 1993
to 159,659 in 1994.
"Since 1983, women's enrollment has been increasing rapidly," writes
Survey Information Specialist Dottie Jacobs, author of the report. "In
1983, only 31% of S&E graduate students were women, whereas by
1994, 37% were."
In addition, the study found that the enrollment of S&E minority
students with U.S. citizenship increased slightly--going from 18.8%
in 1983 to 22.2% in 1994. Most of the change was due to the increased
enrollment of Asians and Pacific Islanders who had 3.4% of the enrollment
in 1983 and 8% in 1994. In the category labeled black Americans and
black permanent residents, Jacobs found that the enrollment increased
slightly, from 4% in 1983 to 5% in 1994.
In addition, fields of study in science have also shifted, the data
brief announces. "Physical and computer sciences enrollment each decreased
in both 1993 and 1994, as did mathematics," Jacobs writes. Physical
sciences went from 35,318 students in 1993 to 34,484 students in 1994.
Computer and mathematical sciences moved from 36,114 to 33,973 students
over the same time period.
While these decreases were changes of only 1% and 2% respectively,
they are notable as part of a two-year downward trend that follows
a 14-year increase in these fields.
Small increases were noted in earth, atmospheric, and ocean sciences;
agricultural, biological, and social sciences; and psychology.
Engineering fields also experienced significant decreases. Aerospace,
electrical, industrial, mechanical, and materials engineering all saw
decreases in enrollment. Only the fields of chemical and civil engineering
had slight increases. "Civil engineering enrollment was up less than
1% in 1993 and 2% in 1994 after much larger increases in earlier years.
Chemical engineering enrollment also increased in 1994, by 3%."
Jacobs prepared the data brief using information from the NSF/SRS Survey
of Graduate Students and Postdoctorates in Science and Engineering.
For a copy of this data brief, call SRS at (703) 292-8774 or visit
NSF's Web site: http://www.nsf.gov