In Historic Shift, Women Comprise Half of Engineering Undergrads at Cornell University


Newswise — ITHACA, N.Y. – With the arrival of the Class of 2022, the Cornell University College of Engineering now enrolls equal numbers of undergraduate women and men – the first engineering school of its size and stature to achieve this milestone.

Cornell Engineering 2018-19 enrollment by the numbers:

  • Total undergraduate enrollment is 50 percent female (1556 females, 1567 males).
     
  • Total female undergraduate enrollment has steadily increased from 34 percent in 2010-11 academic year.
     
  • Incoming Class of 2022 is 53 percent female (412 females, 366 males).
     
  • Of the incoming students who intend to major in computer science, 55 percent are female (99 female, 81 male).
     
  • Total doctoral student enrollment is 34 percent female (91 females, 175 males).
     
  • Female tenure-track faculty population is now 21 percent.
     
  • Five-year graduation rate is 88 percent among female undergraduate students and male undergraduate students.
     
  • Undergraduate GPAs for the class of 2018 were 3.4 for both women and men.
     
  • Nationally, women represent only 22.9 percent of all undergraduate students enrolled in engineering majors, according to the latest figures from the American Society for Engineering Education. The share of computer science degrees awarded to women in the 2016-17 academic year was 17 percent.

Strategy for increasing female enrollment:

  • Increased yield of accepted women applicants from 39.2 percent in 2010 to 61.8 percent in 2018.
     
  • Outreach to K-12 students, with a focus on helping younger girls see a future in STEM. Programs include CURIE AcademyGirls Who Code, and the annual Women’s Outreach in Materials, Energy and Nanobiotechnology event.
     
  • On-campus support programs such as the Society of Women Engineers, Women in Engineering Program, Women of Science and Engineering Group, Women in Computing at Cornell, and Women of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
  • Developed reputation as a place where women wouldn’t be alone. As more women enrolled, it became easier to find women in leadership positions such as TAs, presidents of clubs, leads on our project teams that compete around the nation and CEOs of student startup companies.

Cornell University has television, ISDN and dedicated Skype/Google+ Hangout studios available for media interviews. For additional information, see this Cornell Chronicle story.

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