News at Mason
Mason enrolling more women in engineering and computer science fields, report shows
February 28, 2019 / by John Hollis
Mason is part of a growing trend aimed at diversifying well-paying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.
The Chronicle of Higher Education has ranked George Mason University among the top schools in the nation for its high percentage of women earning undergraduate degrees in engineering.
In a report released this week, 253 public colleges and universities were surveyed for the percentage of women who earned undergraduate degrees during the 2016–17 school year. Mason was ranked 31st in engineering and 127th in computer science, according to the most recent data.
“We have made progress in this area over the past decade, and have numerous outreach programs that we hope will result in even more women pursuing engineering degrees at Mason,” said Ken Ball, the dean of Mason’s Volgenau School of Engineering.
In 2016, more than 23 percent of Mason’s engineering graduates and just under 16 percent of computer science graduates were women. Both numbers have increased in recent years and align with the national averages of 21 percent for engineering and 18 percent for computer science.
Women currently account for almost 25 percent of all Mason engineering students and just under 19 percent of all computer science students within the Volgenau School of Engineering, according to university statistics.
Mason is part of a growing trend aimed at diversifying well-paying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. Overall, there’s been a 54 percent increase nationally in the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded to women in engineering and computer science from 2011 to 2016, according to the Society of Women Engineers.
Undergraduate students in the Volgenau School are part of the nearly 5,000 students enrolled in computing-related degree programs at Mason, a number expected to double by 2024 as the university prepares career-ready graduates for key employers like Amazon, which is establishing its second headquarters in the Northern Virginia region.
“While we are pleased with our current ranking, we will not be satisfied until our percentage of women in engineering programs approaches 50 percent,” Ball said.