A periodic newsletter on a single topic of interest published by the Office of Higher Education
Women Continue to Outnumber Men in College at All Levels
This issue of Insight compares postsecondary enrollment and program choices between men and women in Minnesota.1 Women have outnumbered men enrolled in Minnesota postsecondary institutions overall since the early 1980s, but only recently began to outnumber men at the graduate level. While this enrollment pattern in Minnesota generally mirrors a national trend, the ratio of women to men enrolled at the graduate and professional degree level in Minnesota exceeds the national average.
Of the 331,309 students enrolled in Minnesota postsecondary institutions in fall 2006, 57 percent were women. Women outnumber men in higher education at every degree level, age category and racial or ethnic group, despite a relatively even split between men and women in the general population.2
Headcount Enrollment by Gender, Fall 2006 All Minnesota
Programs in health care and education have historically attracted large numbers of women to postsecondary education. At the baccalaureate degree level, women completed more than three times the number of degrees than men in both education and health care in 2006. While equal numbers of men and women completed degrees in business and social science at the baccalaureate degree level, huge differences in program choices were apparent in other areas.
Enrollment by Gender and Age
Undergraduate Enrollment at Minnesota Postsecondary Institutions
Graduate-Level Enrollment by Gender and Age
Graduate-Level Enrollment at Minnesota Postsecondary Institutions
Enrollment by Gender and Race
All Enrollment at Minnesota Postsecondary Institutions
Level of Study by Gender
Enrollment by Level of Study, Minnesota Postsecondary Institutions
Awards and Degrees Completed by Gender
Degrees Completed by Women, Minnesota and Nation
Degrees Completed at Minnesota Postsecondary Institutions
Fields of Study by Gender
At the baccalaureate and post-baccalaureate levels, men and women completed degrees in business and the social sciences in roughly equal numbers. Master's degrees in education and business were popular among both men and women; however, three out of four master's degrees completed in education were awarded to women. At the baccalaureate and post-baccalaureate levels, larger proportions of male students completed degrees in engineering and computer science than female students.
In general, academic awards earned by women were more concentrated in fewer fields than those earned by men in academic year 2005-2006. All fields of study and degree level by gender can be found here.
Certificates and Diplomas Completed, Top Five Fields of Study by Gender 2005-2006
Associate Degrees Completed, Top Five Fields of Study by Gender 2005-2006
Bachelor's Degrees Completed, Top Five Fields of Study by Gender 2005-2006
Master's Degrees Completed, Top Five Fields of Study by Gender 2005-2006
The Minnesota Office of Higher Education annually collects fall-term headcount enrollment data from Minnesota postsecondary education institutions. Fall headcount enrollment is defined as the reporting institution's census date, the day when the reporting institution collects fall term enrollment data. For this Insight, 4,724 students whose gender was not reported were not included.
The data do not include students enrolled in online institutions; namely, Capella and Walden. Students enroll online from around the nation and were predominately pursuing graduate degrees. At the graduate level, these students are predominately enrolled in education programs.
First professional degree programs are earned in law, theology and the health science fields of medicine, dentistry, optometry, pharmacy, podiatry, osteopathy, chiropractic, and veterinary medicine.
The National Center for Education Statistics, through its Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, collects degrees and other awards conferred from postsecondary institutions eligible to participate in federal student financial aid programs.
About the Office of Higher Education
The Office of Higher Education is a state agency providing students with financial aid programs and information to help them gain access to postsecondary education. The agency serves as the state's clearinghouse for data, research and analysis on postsecondary enrollment, financial aid, finance and trends.
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