Student Demographics and Outcomes in Mechanical Engineering in the U.S.

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Using a dataset from universities in the U.S. that includes over 90,000 first-time-in-college students and over 26,000 transfer students who majored in engineering, this work describes the demographics and outcomes for students starting in and transferring into Mechanical Engineering (ME). This aims to inform the decision making of faculty, department heads, and deans. Although men consistently outnumber women in ME, the rates of matriculation and six-year graduation vary by race/ethnicity and gender. Retention is higher in ME than in the aggregate of all engineering majors for Asian, White, and Black students, but not for Hispanic students. While about half of ME starters leave, most are replaced by switchers and transfers. Black males are noticeably absent from this ‘replacement’ population. Black males are also the least likely to stick with ME through graduation. Asian females are the most likely to graduate in ME. Pathways of ME starters and ME graduates are illustrated. Nearly half of all ME graduates started somewhere other than ME.