Dartmouth Makes History: Majority-Female Engineering Class

This year, for the first time ever, more women than men received engineering degrees.

Read the full story, published by Thayer School of Engineering.

Dartmouth granted 54 percent of its undergraduate engineering degrees to women this year, making it the first national research university to award more bachelor’s degrees in engineering to women than men.

Nationally, the proportion of women earning undergraduate degrees in engineering averages 19 percent, according to data from the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE).

“By thinking creatively about the content, context, and delivery of engineering education, Dartmouth has achieved a milestone,” says Norman Fortenberry, executive director of the ASEE. “Other engineering colleges must now match this achievement.”

Dartmouth encourages all students, from writers to mathematicians, to take courses emphasizing technology and applied science. A majority of students take an engineering course, frequently one that involves hands-on engineering design. Those entry-level design courses spawn a number of new inventions and start-ups, and more students—female and male—who didn’t think they would major in engineering, says Joseph Helble, Thayer’s dean.

“We’ve been able to attract more students, and especially women, by letting them use engineering to solve real-world challenges,” says Helble. “They quickly learn how their creativity and engineering skills can make a real difference.”