Women graduate faster than men

20/12/2004 10:00

Female university students in the Netherlands graduate faster in all disciplines than male students.

Half of women graduate within six years

In 1997, 15 thousand men and just over 14 thousand women started their first year at university. Six years later, 35 percent of the men and half of the women had graduated; another 6 percent in each group had graduated from vocational college. Two-fifths of male students who started university in 1997 were still in university or college in 2003. For women students this was one quarter. Six years after entering university, 18 percent of the men and 16 percent of the women had left higher education without a diploma.

Percentage of university students graduating within six years by discipline

Percentage of university students graduating within six years by discipline

Most health students graduate within six years

In all disciplines, women who started their courses in 1997 graduated more quickly than their male peers: for example, 72 percent of female students in the health disciplines graduated within six years, compared with 53 percent of male students.

In the engineering disciplines only one quarter of students who started in 1997 had completed their studies six years later. One reason for this is that in this sector, most courses last for five and not four years. In this sector, too, where only one is six students are women, the women are quicker to graduate than the men, although the difference is smaller than in other disciplines.

Ten most popular courses for female first year university students

Ten most popular courses for female first year university students

Law most popular discipline for women

Just over 19 thousand women enrolled as first year students at Dutch universities in 2003. Law was the most popular choice among these women: 13 percent chose this discipline. However, law has become considerably less popular since 1997. Women also often favour psychology and medicine, an the number opting for business studies and pedagogics has grown in the last six years.

Ten most popular courses for male first year university students

Ten most popular courses for male first year university students

Many men reading business studies

Business studies was the most popular discipline among the nearly 19 thousand male first year students in 2003. This discipline accounted for 12 percent of first year men; more than economics and law, which were the most popular disciplines in 1997.

More men than women choose courses in the engineering sciences. Architecture, mechanical engineering and computer technology were among the ten most popular courses chosen by men in 2003.

Theo van Miltenburg