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They chose to major in engineering: A study of why women enter and persist in undergraduate engineering programs

Adrienne Y Smith, University of Massachusetts Amherst


The purpose of this study is to identify the factors that lead female undergraduate students to pursue an academic major in engineering and to persist in their engineering studies. This research focuses on women who are currently studying in the fields of engineering in an effort to determine whether or not common themes emerge that impacted their decision to major in these academic programs. Specifically, this study aims to better understand what factors exist that influence women to study engineering. Despite the fact that research has been conducted in this area, the findings from these studies do not appear to have had an impact on the number of women who choose to major in engineering upon entering college, as this number has not been increasing. The goal of this study is to provide for the following: Policy makers, high school guidance counselors, and the colleges and universities involved in this study can be better informed and benefit from knowing what factors influence women to major and persist in the field of engineering at their respective institutions.

Subject Area

Higher Education Administration|Educational leadership|Womens studies|Education Policy

Recommended Citation

Smith, Adrienne Y, "They chose to major in engineering: A study of why women enter and persist in undergraduate engineering programs" (2012). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3498371.