UCSD tops list of number of women graduating in STEM fields

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SAN DIEGO — UC San Diego announced Wednesday that it tops a list of colleges that graduate the largest percentage of women in STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The study by BestColleges.com analyzed data on the 100 American colleges and universities with the most undergraduates and found a wide disparity in the focus on STEM majors for female students.

At UCSD, 32.7 percent of its 2013 graduates completed STEM majors — three times the national average.

“UC San Diego is an education and research powerhouse that recruits the most academically talented scholars who challenge conventional thinking and action,” said Chancellor Pradeep Khosla.

They foster an environment that is open and inclusive, where creativity and innovation prosper, where the frontiers of knowledge are pushed and where innovative solutions for global problems are developed,” he said.

Rounding out the top five were North Carolina State, UC Davis, UC Berkeley and Virginia Tech, according to BestColleges.com.

Eight schools — including Cal State Fullerton and Cal State Northridge – – had 5 percent or less of its female students graduating with STEM degrees.

Business and education leaders are pushing education in the STEM fields because of workforce demands and higher pay.

The BestColleges.com study cited data from the salary website Payscale.com that showed STEM graduates — men and women combined — earn 35 percent more money than their peers right out of college. The pay gap grows to 47 percent by mid-career.

STEM graduates are also quicker in repaying their student loans, according to the report.

BestColleges.com found that 6.7 percent of women graduate with STEM degrees compared to 17 percent of men.