A review of graduate STEM degrees by gender in the context of the great recession

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University of Alabama Libraries

The purpose of this study was to review the graduate gender divide in STEM fields in the context of the recent Great Recession. The rationale for this study was a continuation of the pipeline paradigm at the graduate level. The goal was also to examine the gender divide in STEM across select institutional types, such as land-grant institutions, as well as degree levels comparing master's and doctoral. Additionally, geographic differences were addressed by examining data related to the Academic Common Market. Trends for data were reviewed in an effort to discern degree production changes. Different ANOVA's and Ordinary Least Squares Regression were used to review IPEDS data from academic years 2005 through 2010. The dependent variable was the ratio of female graduate degrees out of total graduate degrees at the CIP (Classification of Instructional Program) level. Overall, there were not significantly different findings across years or trends across years. There were select differences between master's and doctoral degree levels within STEM field. Select differences also existed between institutions on the basis of land-grant status and Academic Common Market status. Select independent variables were statistically significant for each of the STEM CIP fields under review. Results indicate a gender divide in STEM fields. Using the pipeline paradigm, these differences were more noticeable at the doctoral than master's level. Variation existed in the extent of the gender divide across STEM fields. Results can be used to further expand research concerning policies and practices of the gender divide in STEM fields at the graduate level in the United States.

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Higher education, Higher education administration