Machinedesign Com Sites Machinedesign com Files Uploads 2013 11 Se Degree Graph

More science & engineering degrees granted, but look behind the figures

Nov. 19, 2013

The number of students earning science and engineering (S&E) degrees is growing. According to a study by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, between 2009 and 2013, students over the age of 26 showed a 25% growth rate in S&E bachelor’s degree completion. There was a 19% growth rate in S&E degrees among traditional-age students (those age 26 or under). And over the last five years, the overall number of S&E bachelor’s degree completions has grown by 19%, compared to 9% growth for non-S&E disciplines.

So you might think from this that more students are completing engineering degrees. But a close look at the figures reveals this might not be the case: NSCRC's definition of S&E includes social sciences and psychology, as do classifications followed by the National Science Foundation.

It turns out that in 2012-13, the largest share of S&E bachelor’s degrees were in social sciences and psychology: 47% of the degrees completed by traditional-age students, 53% of the degrees completed by students over the age of 26. NSCRC says over the last five years, the percentage of S&E bachelor’s degrees accounted for by social sciences and psychology has dropped by 3% for traditional-age students, while increasing slightly for the older students.

Biological and agricultural sciences was the second most common S&E category for traditional-age students, accounting for 23% of their S&E bachelor’s degrees in 2012-13. Mathematics and computer science was the second most common S&E category for students over 26, accounting for 19% of their S&E bachelor’s degrees in 2012-13.

About the Author

Lee Teschler | Editor

Leland was Editor-in-Chief of Machine Design. He has 34 years of Service and holds a B.S. Engineering from the University of Michigan, a B.S. Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan;, and a MBA from Cleveland State University. Prior to joining Penton, Lee worked as a Communications design engineer for the U.S. Government.

Sponsored Recommendations

Pumps Push the Boundaries of Low Temperature Technology

June 14, 2024
As an integral part of cryotechnology, KNF pumps facilitate scientific advances in cryostats, allowing them to push temperature boundaries and approach absolute zero.

The entire spectrum of drive technology

June 5, 2024
Read exciting stories about all aspects of maxon drive technology in our magazine.


May 15, 2024
Production equipment is expensive and needs to be protected against input abnormalities such as voltage, current, frequency, and phase to stay online and in operation for the ...

Solenoid Valve Mechanics: Understanding Force Balance Equations

May 13, 2024
When evaluating a solenoid valve for a particular application, it is important to ensure that the valve can both remain in state and transition between its de-energized and fully...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Machine Design, create an account today!