Professor disproves engineering myths

A new study by a Purdue University professor exposes some truths about engineering students.

By Source: U.S. News and World Reports August 6, 2009

Female engineers do as well as their male counterparts, according to Matthew Ohland, an associate professor in Purdue University’s School of Engineering Education .

The study contradicts a popular myth that women drop out of engineering programs at a higher rate than male students. Ohland’s research found that women are just as likely to remain in engineering programs as men. The study also debunked another popular myth, which states engineering students are more likely to switch majors than other students.

The research was based largely on a database that includes information on 70,000 engineering students from multiple schools around the United States, according to U.S. News and World Reports .

"Education lore has always told us that students-particularly women-drop out of undergraduate engineering programs more often than students in other fields," said Ohland. "Well, it turns out that neither is true. Engineering programs, on average, retain just as many students as other programs do, and once women get to college they’re just as likely to stick around in engineering as are their male counterpart."