I bet you've been curious to know how many women obtained psychology degrees and how many men got degrees in math haven't you? Well today is your lucky day.
I got the data from the Dept. of Education website here : Table 286. Bachelor's, master's, and doctor's degrees conferred by degree-granting institutions, by sex of student and discipline division: 2008-09.
I decided to focus on just the Bachelor degrees granted.
I sorted out the data and filtered it to find the most popular degrees obtained by men and women for the 2009 graduating class. Some of the categories below are specific degrees like physics or nursing. Other categories are for broader categories like engineering which is made up of several specialty degrees or for broader fields like education which has several sub areas.
Here is the list of most popular bachelor degrees for Women in the 2008 and 2009 school year:
|# degrees||% of total|
|Visual and performing arts fields||54,089||5.9%|
|Family, consumer sciences||19,151||2.1%|
|Parks rec, fitness studies||15,001||1.6%|
|Criminal justice, safety studies||11,125||1.2%|
|Math and statistics||6,703||0.7%|
|Criminal justice admin.||6,604||0.7%|
|Ethnic, cultural, gender studies||6,037||0.7%|
|Philosophy and religious fields||4,683||0.5%|
|Natural resources field||4,404||0.5%|
That represents 81.8% of all degrees women earn. The remaining 19.2% of the degrees are spread around other less popular degree fields.
Now the list of most popular degrees for men :
|# degrees||% of total|
|Visual and performing arts fields||35,051||5.1%|
|Parks rec, fitness studies||16,666||2.4%|
|Criminal justice, safety studies||11,012||1.6%|
|Computer Information Sciences||10,392||1.5%|
|Math and statistics||8,793||1.3%|
|Philosophy and religious fields||7,761||1.1%|
|Criminal justice admin.||6,620||1.0%|
|Theology and religious fields||5,950||0.9%|
|Natural resources field||5,424||0.8%|
|Management Information Systems||5,299||0.8%|
|Radio & Television||3,215||0.5%|
Those degrees add up to 83.5% of all the degrees men get. The other 16.5% of men get degrees in other things not listed here.
More Affluent Degrees
I decided to break out what I call the 'most affluent' degrees. These are degrees that I commonly see listed in higher paying jobs and jobs that have fairly good demand. Now of course there is no guarantee that someone graduating with a degree in one of these fields will end up with a higher paying job but its a fairly safe bet.
|Math and statistics||0.7%|
|Computer Information Sciences||0.2%|
|Computer Information Sciences||1.5%|
|Math and statistics||1.3%|
For women the total who got degrees in the 'more affluent' categories was 22.2% and for men 35.1%
Less affluent degrees
On the opposite side of the more affluent degree fields are the degrees that more often lead to lower paying jobs or underemployment. In general these degrees feed into careers with lower compensation. For example, social work and ethnic studies don't pay well. Some of the degree fields may have fair compensation but very high competition for few jobs. Actors may make good average salary but most aspiring actors have difficulty finding steady work in the field.
For women the number of degrees obtained in 'less affluent' degree categories are :
|Visual and performing arts fields||5.9%|
|Family, consumer sciences||2.1%|
|Parks rec, fitness studies||1.6%|
|Ethnic, cultural, gender studies||0.7%|
|Philosophy and religious fields||0.5%|
|Theology and religious fields||0.3%|
For men :
|Visual and performing arts fields||5.1%|
|Parks rec, fitness studies||2.4%|
|Philosophy and religious fields||1.1%|
|Theology and religious fields||0.9%|
In total 22.5% of men and 32.5% of women obtained degrees in these 'less affluent' areas.